2009 Commercial Code Updates
The Mayor approved amendments to the Commercial Code on March 18, 2009.
The legislation prepared by DPD included Land Use Code revisions to clarify and better carry out the intent of the 2006 Neighborhood Business District Strategy. Changes include clarification of development standards, revisions to height exceptions for specific situations, improvements to Seattle Green Factor landscaping standards, and clarification of parking requirements. If you have questions or comments regarding this legislation, please contact Dave LaClergue at (206) 733-9668 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Additional amendments are proposed in Council Bill 116562. These amendments clean up a drafting error in Ordinance 122935, which inadvertently omitted provisions relating to parking access for police and fire stations. Additionally, the proposed legislation makes minor formatting changes and corrections to Sections 23.47A.032 and 23.54.030 of the Seattle Municipal Code.
“This has been a long-time coming. Seattle’s neighborhood business districts are the heart of our great neighborhoods. Now, more than ever, we need to give them the tools to grow and thrive. These changes will make it easier for small businesses to move into existing spaces, create great community gathering spaces and add housing -- all things necessary for a neighborhood to be a great place to live, work and enjoy life.”
- Mayor Greg Nickels
This initiative is an effort to stimulate and enliven Seattle's neighborhood business districts--the neighborhood centers where people interact and essential goods, services, and jobs are provided. This strategy is intended to reflect changing conditions and neighborhood plan goals.
Seattle's regulations play an important role in maintaining the vitality and character of neighborhood business districts. To effectively accomplish Comprehensive Plan and Neighborhood Plans goals, Mayor Greg Nickels directed DPD to work with citizens (see public involvement) to improve pedestrian and transit orientation, support job creation, enhance housing opportunities, and maintain compatibility with surrounding residential areas. This Commercial Code changes provide a revisit policies and regulations in mixed-use commercial centers outside of downtown, and update cumbersome and outdated zoning regulations.
The amendments to the commercial section of the Land Use Code include:
- Map pedestrian-oriented commercial cores in business districts.
- Remove unnecessary obstacles to residential uses in commercial areas.
- Strengthen pedestrian-oriented street front development standards and guidelines.
- Simplify categories of uses and establish new allowed maximum size of businesses.
- Increase landscaping requirements, but allow for flexibility through a new Seattle Green Factor.
- Control the impacts of building size by means that allow for wider sidewalks, plazas, ground-level open spaces, or view corridors.
- Lower parking requirements based on local demand and to support alternative transportation. In Urban Centers and high capacity transit station areas, allow the market rather than the code to determine appropriate parking supply.
- Encourage customer or short-term parking over commuter or long-term parking.
- Balance auto access and parking with the needs of pedestrians and transit.
- Simplify the City’s regulations so that they are easier to understand.
The Commercial Code amendments are intended to ensure that Seattle's mixed-use neighborhood centers continue to evolve as desirable places to live, work, and conduct business by:
Supporting job creation and business vitality.
Protecting and enhancing neighborhood character.
Improving the pedestrian environment.
Providing housing growth in neighborhood business districts.
Achieving quality design through development flexibility.
Supporting transit connections.
Balancing parking needs.
Making the Land Use Code easier to use
View the legislation.