West Seattle development: Comment time for proposed citywide lowrise-zoning ‘corrections’ proposal

May 29, 2014 at 11:44 am | In Development, West Seattle news | Comments Off

Very busy Land Use Information Bulletin from the city today; we’re working on several stories, but for starters – it’s officially comment time for proposed multi-family zoning changes dubbed the “low-rise code corrections.” They’re meant to be a response to neighborhood concerns that zoning changes back in 2010 enabled multi-family projects that were out of scale with some neighborhoods. The notice summarizes the key parts of the proposal (which you can see in full here):

Specific proposed development standard changes are:

*Eliminate a height allowance of up to an additional four feet above the base height limit for apartment housing type developments that include a partially below grade story.

*Eliminate a floor area exemption from the floor area ratio (FAR) calculation for the portion of buildings in a partially below grade story for apartment type developments.

*Add a new height control to limit the maximum street-facing façade height for development on sloping sites to 44 feet in a 40 foot maximum height Lowrise zone, and 34 feet in a 30 foot maximum height Lowrise zone.

*Place a 30 percent coverage limit on how much of a rooftop may be covered by clerestory architectural features.

*Require the area of unenclosed exterior stairs, hallways and breezeways to be included as chargeable floor area in FAR calculations.

*Include the floor area of loft spaces that are less than full ceiling heights in the FAR calculation.

*Add a side setback requirement for rowhouse developments that are next to other types of housing.

*Change the rounding up threshold for the density limits in Lowrise zones from 0.5 to 0.85.

*Add a density limit of one dwelling unit per 1,600 square feet of lot area for rowhouse development on small lots in the Lowrise 1 zone.

Not sure if there’s lowrise zoning near you? The city’s zoning maps are here. Today’s notice, meantime, includes a “determination of nonsignificance” – meaning the city doesn’t think these changes will have environmental (noise, traffic, etc.) ramifications; the comment period runs through June 12th – scroll to the bottom of the notice to see how to comment. The proposal requires City Council approval, and would not affect any projects currently in the pipeline.

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