Seattle has made considerable progress in planning for housing growth in both its comprehensive plan and land use codes. In recognition of that progress, the Washington State Legislature has amended (Senate Bill 5412) the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) to help reach those goals by expediting the review of development that includes housing. As of July 23, 2023, most projects proposing additional housing units will be exempt from SEPA review, including several types of residential and mixed-use developments that would have previously undergone SEPA review. This SEPA change does not affect other SDCI discretionary approvals, such as Design Review, that may be required for specific proposals. This SEPA amendment will be in effect until September 30, 2025, when the Seattle Comprehensive Plan Update provides new housing growth targets and updated SEPA thresholds.
On January 20, 2023, the state proposed SEPA related amendments removed parking as an element of the environment and revised the environmental checklist. As a result of new state law, SDCI will no longer identify and analyze parking impacts in its SEPA analysis. A new Environmental (SEPA) checklist is available on the City forms page and required with submittal of a Master Use Permit for project proposals that require SEPA.
Tip 205, Street, Alley, and Pedestrian Improvement Exceptions, was updated. We published DR 13-2021, Determination of State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) Review Exemption Levels for Infill Residential and Mixed-Use Development in Urban Centers and Urban Villages.
In February of 2020, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) required Seattle to update our floodplain regulations to include FEMA’s new Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM) and the Flood Insurance Study (FIS). FEMA’s adoption of the new map and study also included an audit of Seattle’s floodplain regulations. Through the audit, FEMA identified several places in Seattle’s code that needed to be amended in order to comply with the minimum standards in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). FEMA included the following required amendments in their audit: new definitions and updates to existing definitions to meet minimum standards; updates to the regulatory floodway development standards; and the inclusion of newly mapped coastal high hazard flood zone (VE zone) and required regulations for this zone.
We updated the General Standards for Plans and Drawings Tip. We updated a Director’s Rule with new Landslide maps, and posted a Draft Directors Rule with new SEPA thresholds for comment.
Please don’t use the SEPA exemption levels information in Director’s Rule 29-2015 to plan your project. Recent code updates have modified the exemption levels in SMC 25.05 to align with growth estimates for infill development within Urban Centers.
Draft legislation to modify the design review program is available for public review and comment on our Design Review Program Improvements webpage and in the Land Use Information Bulletin. Comments will be open through Thursday, June 22.
Environmental review thresholds under the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) will change on Monday, November 16, 2015,. The change will affect the following Urban Centers and Villages: Northgate, South Lake Union, North Rainier, Rainier Beach and North Beacon Hill.
Environmental review thresholds (under the State Environmental Policy Act – SEPA) will change on Monday, November 16, 2015, affecting the following Urban Centers and Villages: Northgate, South Lake Union, North Rainier, Rainier Beach and North Beacon Hill.
DPD has developed a proposed update to rules addressing “major marijuana activity,” which includes production, processing, and sales of marijuana. Our proposal includes updates to correspond with State licensing requirements, types of zones where such activities may occur, and buffer distances from facilities such as parks, schools, and transit centers. Our proposal materials are on our Marijuana Zoning Restrictions webpage. More information is also available on the Mayor’s Medical Marijuana Ordinance web page.