Human Services & Public Health

Committee regular meeting days and time:
2nd and 4th Wednesdays, 2 p.m.

Committee Members

Downtown Office Core 2 – Voluntary Separation from Residential Towers

The Council will consider a bill to authorize the SDCI Director to grant additional height and density beyond zone maximums for new development in the zone in exchange for voluntary setback from existing residential towers.

The proposal is intended to provide a regulatory incentive for developers of new towers, which are proposed for blocks in the DOC2 zone where there is an existing residential tower, to provide a voluntary separation from existing towers. The voluntary separation could increase penetration of light and air to existing residential towers and reduce conflicts between uses in adjacent towers. Proposed separation distances exceed separations that might otherwise be required to comply with Seattle Building Code fire separation standards.

The proposed voluntary separation distances would require that a developer relocate floor area that could otherwise be developed. The proposed additional height or commercial density would allow a developer to achieve the same floor area that might otherwise be available without the voluntary setback plus a small floor area incentive to encourage developers to provide the separation. That incentive represents additional height or commercial density above zoned maximums equal to approximately 1.22 square feet of additional floor area for every one square foot of separation area.

The Council established its intent to consider the proposal through Section 46 of Ordinance 125291. Consideration of the proposal by the Council will occur after the SEPA review period. Preliminarily, a decision by the Full Council is anticipated in July.

The proposed amendments would:

  • Where new residential towers are proposed adjacent to existing residential towers, authorize the SDCI Director to increase the maximum height of residential uses from 550 feet to 640 feet;
  • Where new commercial towers are proposed adjacent to existing residential towers, authorize the SDCI Director to increase the maximum commercial Floor Area Ratio (FAR) from 15 to 15.33;
  • Above a height of 85 feet, require new residential or commercial towers to set back from existing residential towers by at least 15 feet, if a lot with an existing residential tower is across an alley from the new residential or commercial tower, or at least 30 feet if a lot with an existing residential tower abuts a lot with the new residential or commercial tower;
  • Establish that the decision by the SDCI director to grant additional height is a Type I decision, meaning that it is a non-discretionary decision by the SDCI Director that is not subject to appeal to the City Hearing Examiner.

Project Documents