Lowrise Multifamily Code Corrections

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Project Outcomes

City Council voted on July 7, 2015 to pass a set of lowrise multifamily code corrections. The new regulations for lowrise multifamily development became effective on August 9, 2015.

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.

After a complete overhaul of lowrise multifamily zoning code was enacted in 2010, some community groups commented that the first wave of buildings constructed under the new lowrise multifamily code were too tall or large. The City responded to these concerns by reviewing actual projects developed under the new code, and proposing a set of minor changes to bring the scale of development in line with what was expected at the time of the 2010 major update of the lowrise zones.

The final version of the Lowrise Multifamily Code Corrections were prepared by the City Council based on input from the Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda advisory group, Seattle DCI, and other stakeholders.

Key Milestones

  • July 2015
    City Council passes final legislation
  • May 2015
    City Council Briefing and proposed legislation
  • January – February 2015
    Housing Affordability & Livability Agenda (HALA) review
  • October 2014
    Hearing Examiner decision on SEPA appeal
  • May 2014
    Full Draft Recommendations and SEPA Decision
  • April 2014
    Discussion with Planning Commission
  • January 2014
    Preliminary Staff Recommendations and Community Meeting

Project Purpose

  • 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

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