Seattle allows additional residential or non-residential floor area beyond base height or FAR limits to be achieved in certain zones. SMC 23.58A (Incentive Provisions) is Seattle’s primary land use code chapter guiding incentive zoning (IZ). Generally, residential developers opting to seek additional floor area in IZ-eligible zones with maximum height limits < 85’ must include a small percentage of units as housing affordable to households with incomes up to 80% of AMI (rental). Non-residential and highrise residential developers also have the option of making a cash contribution to the City for low-income housing. Generally, twenty-five to forty percent of all additional floor area in highrise zones (> 85’) must be achieved through “non-housing” options (e.g. Landmark TDR/TDP, Open Space TDR/TDP, extra for on-site amenities). OH and DPD staff coordinate on permit review for IZ development projects.
View a map of applicable zones >
View the income and rent limits >
Please contact Laura Hewitt Walker at (206) 684-0429 for more information.
Extra Residential Floor Area: Extra floor area above the base height or FAR limit may be achieved for residential developments in exchange for affordable housing. Developers can build affordable housing as part of their development or, in certain zones, make a cash contribution to the City to fund new affordable housing. The affordable housing is intended to primarily serve Seattle’s moderate-wage workers. Extra residential floor area is an option for developers in moderate- and high-density zones in a number of neighborhoods.
Residential Transferable Development Rights (TDP): This option helps Seattle maintain a more variable scale of buildings in South Downtown and Multifamily Highrise zones by allowing residential development rights to be moved from one site to another. Excess development rights from a certified TDP site can be sold to developers needing residential floor area beyond a base height or floor area ratio (FAR) limit. The proceeds of TDP sales are used for preservation of priority uses. The type of TDP that can be sent or received varies by zone and may include open space TDP, Landmark TDP, and South Downtown historic TDP.
Extra non-residential floor area above the base floor area ratio (FAR) may be achieved for office, hotel or certain other developments through non-residential extra, transferable development rights (TDR), and on-site amenities.
Extra Non-Residential Floor Area: This incentive enables developers achieve extra floor area above a base FAR in exchange for housing and childcare affordable to lower-wage workers. The housing and/or childcare can be provided by the developer or a cash contribution for housing and childcare facilities may be made to the City for those purposes. The extra non-residential floor area is an option to developers in certain Downtown, South Downtown and South Lake Union zones.
Non-Residential Transferable Development Rights (TDR): This option helps Seattle maintain a more variable scale of buildings in Downtown and South Downtown by allowing non-residential development rights to be moved from one site to another. Excess development rights from a certified TDR site can be sold to developers needing non-residential floor area beyond a base floor area ratio (FAR). The proceeds of TDR sales are used for preservation of priority uses. The type of TDR that can be sent or received varies by zone and may include within-block TDR, housing TDR, landmark housing TDR, DMC housing TDR, landmark TDR, South Downtown historic TDR, and open space TDR.