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Land Use Code: Zoning

(includes pedestrian overlay zones, station overlay zones, rezoning, spot zoning)

The City uses the Pedestrian Zone designation to encourage and preserve the development or extension of pedestrian-friendly environments at the heart of neighborhood commercial districts. These areas are, or could become, neighborhood main streets where nearby residents access the services they need without driving, or at least with fewer automobile trips.
The P Zone designation:

  • requires specific commercial or institutional uses to be located at the ground floor—uses that cater to pedestrians and are not residential uses
  • waives some parking requirements to encourage businesses to locate in the area, recognizing that many customers will use means other than driving to get to the business
  • limits driveways across sidewalks along principal pedestrian streets
  • designates the street a “main street” per SDOT guidelines to encourage new development that will enhance the public right-of-way and give priority to pedestrian-friendly streetscape improvements.

Pedestrians and Zoning: The Seattle Land Use Code provides for special Pedestrian District overlays in commercial zones. These are known as P1 and P2 overlays. They are intended to preserve and encourage pedestrian-oriented retail areas. The overlay zones’ ability to affect the street environment comes from requirements that new developments meet specific standards that include a set of permitted and prohibited uses, reduced parking requirements, and limitations on blank facades. The P1 designation encourages “intense pedestrian interest and activity at street level with a wide variety of retail and service activities, and large numbers of shops and services per block.” The P2 designation is for less intense, less dense activity, but still encourages varied retail and service activities along commercial frontage uninterrupted by housing, drive–in facilities, or large parking areas. Both designations favor development built to the front property line, minimal pedestrian/auto conflicts, and a minimum of auto–oriented uses or interruptions.

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