At the podium is Brandon Nicholson of Junction-based Nicholson Kovalchick Architects, who was asked to join Mayor Nickels and Councilmember Sally Clark as the long-awaited proposed changes in the Multi-Family Code — aka zoning for townhouses and other multi-family units — went public a short time ago on Capitol Hill. Nicholson also is a member of the Southwest Design Review Board, and a strong advocate of the design-review process, as he explained during his presentation at Clark’s recent townhouse-design forum (WSB coverage here) — and more design review (mandatory “administrative design review” for townhouse projects) is a component of what the mayor unveiled today, along with a proposal to allow developers more height and density in exchange for reserving a percentage of the project for “workforce housing” (those earning 100% of the state-set median income for ownership, 80% of that number for rentals). We’ll add more details shortly – three documents including the full text of the proposal have just been linked from the right side of this page; many reviews and public hearings are ahead, and whatever emerges at the end will not be finalized till sometime next year. (By the way, Nicholson coincidentally is scheduled to speak about townhouse design at tonight’s Junction Neighborhood Organization meeting, 6:30 pm at Ginomai, 42nd/Genesee.) 2:53 PM ADDITION: Here’s the official city news release toplining today’s announcement. We will be working on a “what’s in it for WS”-specific breakdown when we get home shortly. Note that the “urban centers” mentioned in the news release are NOT synonymous with “urban villages” – West Seattle has u-villages but not u-centers. (Here’s a map of UVs and UCs citywide.)
SEATTLEâ€“Mayor Greg Nickels today announced the first major update to
multifamily zoning in Seattle in 20 years. New regulations would improve
the character and design of townhouses, and require environmentally
sensitive building and landscaping.
â€œWe can grow in ways that enhance and enrich our lives,â€ said
Nickels. â€œThese regulations will help us make sure that new
multifamily housing is attractive, sensible, and fits in with their
neighborhoods, while also supporting affordable housing.â€
The changes would affect the 10 percent of the city zoned for
multifamily construction, from low-rise development throughout the city
to high-rise residential towers on First Hill. Design review would be
required for all townhouses, providing better oversight of design
quality and more flexibility for designers.
All multifamily buildings will be required to use green landscaping,
which could include green roofs, trellised walls, or planting strips.
Developers wishing to increase height and floor area above current
zoning in the cityâ€™s urban centers, urban villages and areas around
light rail stations, will be required to meet LEED Silver or Built Green
Four Star sustainable construction standards. Developers would also have
to agree to dedicate units for work force housing.
The new rules will reduce required parking in all multifamily areas to
one space per unit. In urban centers and areas around light rail
stations, there will be no required parking.
â€œThe mayor and I have both heard a lot lately about how growth is
affecting our neighborhoods, not all of it is positive,â€ said City
Councilmember Sally Clark, who joined Nickels at the announcement. â€œI
look forward to working through these proposals from the mayor to reach
a goal we share for smart growth that keeps Seattle on course as a
regional center of quality neighborhoods and dynamic business
The proposal is scheduled to go to Council later this summer. New
regulations are anticipated in early 2009.