On May 15, 2015, the City Council adopted Ordinance 124770 amending the Land Use Code, rezoning to add or expand a Pedestrian designation in 42 neighborhoods, and modifying the development standards that apply in Pedestrian zones to meet the changing needs of these neighborhood business districts.
DPD is considering zoning changes to the neighborhood business districts along 35th Ave NE (at 65th, 75th, 85th, and 95th Streets) to provide more opportunities for retail goods and services. This rezone could involve changing some areas currently zoned for low rise development to neighborhood commercial, increasing the height allowed in existing neighborhood commercial zones from 30 feet to 40 feet, and designating the business districts at 65th and 95th Streets as pedestrian zones.
On January 13, 2015, Mayor Murray sent proposed changes to the City Council to encourage new and protect existing compact, walkable neighborhood business districts. The proposal includes 39 new or expanded areas to protect and promote pedestrian retail areas. The proposal also include modifications to current regulations that would apply to existing and new pedestrian zones to better meet the changing needs of our neighborhood business districts.
DPD has been studying a variety of areas around the city to encourage new, and protect existing, walkable neighborhood business districts. We met and talked with community groups about our preliminary recommendations, and conducted an online survey that closed April 30th. We have reviewed the feedback we received and prepared updated analysis and recommendations.
We have updated our preliminary staff recommendations for proposed pedestrian retail areas. We have also published notice of a Determination of Non-Significance (DNS) on the proposed changes, as a part of the required State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) review. A DNS means that we don’t think there will be any negative environmental impacts caused by our proposal. The official SEPA comment period runs from September 18 through October 2 of 2014.
DPD would like your input on the Pedestrian Retail Areas Mapping Project, a study to promote more walkable neighborhood business districts in several areas of the city. This project, conducted at the City Council’s request, would involve adding a pedestrian zone designation to existing Neighborhood Commercial Zones. We are also considering adding new rules in pedestrian zones (such as wider sidewalks and overhead weather protection) that would apply to both existing and new pedestrian areas.
On September 9, the Seattle City Council passed emergency legislation that establishes a minimum floor area ratio (FAR) requirement on lots with pedestrian designations in Neighborhood Commercial zones within Urban Centers, Urban Villages, and the Station Area Overlay District. This legislation would apply to any development in these areas proposing to add or remove more than 1,000 square feet of floor area or more than 10 percent of existing floor area, whichever is less.