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Lowrise Multifamily Code Corrections

An example of a building allowed under our lowrise multifamily zoning.
Making sure new lowrise multifamily development is a good fit in neighborhoods.

What’s Happening Now?

City Council held a public hearing on June 2, 2015 to discuss proposed Lowrise Multifamily Code Corrections.

The current lowrise multifamily zoning code was enacted in 2010. Lowrise zoning encourages a wide variety of new housing including apartments, townhouses, and rowhouses. The zones are usually located in between mixed-use commercial areas and single-family neighborhoods; and they play a key role in the production of new housing that can help meet growing demand. Lowrise zoning is meant to allow buildings that are 3 or 4 stories tall.

Some community groups commented that the first wave of buildings constructed under the new lowrise multifamily code were too tall or large. We are responding to these concerns by reviewing actual projects developed under the new code.

On May 29, 2014 we published a full draft of our proposed code adjustments for Lowrise multifamily zones. We also published a notice of a Determination of Non-Significance (DNS) on the proposed rules, as part of the required State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) review. The environmental review was appealed to the City’s Hearing Examiner, and we are currently working through that process. The hearing was held during the week of September 24, 2014, and a decision is due by Wednesday, October 22. After this process, the City Council could consider proposed adjustments to the lowrise code during the winter of 2014 / 2015 or as part of Mayor Murray’s Affordable Housing Agenda.

The current version of the Lowrise Multifamily Code Corrections are prepared by the City Council based on input from the Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda advisory group, DPD, and other stakeholders.

Project Benefits

The review of code changes will:

  • Promote new lowrise multifamily buildings that are a better fit within neighborhoods
  • Provide consistency and predictability for neighbors as well as housing builders and designers

The End Result

The City Council could consider our proposed zoning adjustments during early 2015, or as part of Mayor Murray’s Affordable Housing Agenda.

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