An ordinance changing thresholds for environmental review in Urban Centers and Station Area Overlay Districts was approved by the City Council on April 21 and will go into effect on May 30th. Urban Centers include Downtown, Uptown Queen Anne, South Lake Union, Capitol Hill/First Hill, the University District, and Northgate. Station Area Overlay Districts are located primarily in southeast Seattle around light rail stations along Beacon Avenue South and South McClellan Street, and near the intersections of Martin Luther King Jr. Way South with South McClellan Street, South Alaska Street, South Othello Street and South Henderson Street. In other parts of the city, environmental review thresholds will remain unchanged (except as noted below for parking uses). Thresholds for design review are not affected.
- Within the Downtown Urban Center, the environmental review threshold for residential uses will be 80 dwelling units for residential uses and 12,000 square feet for non-residential uses.
- Within other Urban Centers and Station Area Overlay District, the environmental review thresholds will be 30 dwelling units for residential uses and 12,000 square feet for non-residential uses in most zones. However, if a property in these areas is zoned LDT, L1 or L2 and is adjacent to or near Single Family zones, the environmental review threshold will remain at current levels of four or six dwelling units. This would apply primarily to properties that are adjacent to or across an alley.
- Environmental review for parking lots will occur for parking uses greater than 40 spaces or that exceed 40 spaces for the first time, an increase from the 20-space threshold today.
Historic landmark referrals to the Department of Neighborhoods will continue as they do today. You may contact the Department of Neighborhoods at 206-684-0228 or www.seattle.gov/neighborhoods/preservation to determinate if your building is a designated landmark or if a referral is necessary to determine if the building meets SMC 25.12 for landmark designation and is subject to SEPA.
Client Assistance Memo (CAM) 208, When Environmental Review Is Required in Seattle, CAM 3000, Historic Preservation and SEPA Review, and the Director’s Rule 15-2007 will be updated and available when the ordinance goes into effect.