Design Review Update - What & Why

What Is Happening Now?

We have completed draft legislation, a Director's Report explaining the legislation, and environmental (SEPA) review for legislation that would update the Design Review process. Please visit our project documents page to read the draft legislation and related documents.

The proposal includes amendments to the Land Use Code and related regulations (Titles 23 and 25). These amendments would:

  1. Allow applicants proposing for-sale affordable housing development to use the Administrative Design Review (ADR) process
  2. Provide additional design review options for affordable housing development located in Master Planned Community (MPC) zones
  3. Clarify that Administrative Design Review (ADR) may be required for proposed expansions of existing buildings
  4. Update language for the Early Outreach verification process
  5. Clarify that the Administrative Design Review (ADR) and Streamline Design Review (SDR) processes are carried out as reviews and not meetings
  6. Allow Landmarks/Historic Boards and the Department of Neighborhoods (DON) to approve some waivers and modifications to development standards
  7. Add a reference to Full Design Review in the Notice Type provisions
  8. Clarify design review requirements for development projects involving exceptional trees
  9. Clarify that storage uses in Industrial Buffer and Industrial Commercial zones are subject to design review at the size thresholds for those zones

Project Goals

The legislation:

  • Provides more flexibility for affordable housing when going through Design Review to help save costs
  • Streamlines the permit process for projects seeking departures that are going through both Design and Historic Preservation reviews
  • Clarifies the Design Review process for the benefit of all development projects

The End Result

The Mayor will send final legislation to the City Council for their consideration in early to mid-2020.