Minimum Density

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Project Outcomes

The minimum density legislation established a permanent minimum floor area ratio (FAR) requirement for all lots with a pedestrian designation in Urban Villages, Urban Centers, and the Station Area Overlay Districts. This requirement also applied to lots within the Northgate Overlay District (along designated Major Pedestrian Streets) and lots zoned as Seattle Mixed if they are in a Station Area Overlay District and abut a Class 1 or Class 2 pedestrian street.

FAR is the amount of floor space developed on a parcel compared to the size of the property. For example, a lot of 10,000 square feet with a minimum FAR of 2 would require a building size of at least 20,000 square feet (i.e. a 2 story building that covers the full lot or a 4 story building that covers half the lot).

Key Milestones

September/October 2014

The minimum density Ordinance,124566, was adopted by the City Council on September 8, 2014, and signed by the Mayor on September 15, 2014. The minimum density ordinance went into effect on October 16, 2014.

Project Purpose

The purpose of this legislation was to limit new low-density, suburban-style development that conflicts with the desired urban design and pedestrian-orientation goals of these areas. It achieved this by:

  • Preventing new development from substantially under-developing sites
  • Preserving activity adjacent to the sidewalk
  • Discouraging substantial parking
  • Protecting development opportunities on sites near transit and services

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