Seattle lowrise zoning regulations changed last year. These changes affect many of our urban residential areas.
The City wants more density in certain ‘Urban Center’ areas so rules have been relaxed for the area that can be used by the lot for housing and how the building(s) are configured. Because of this flexibility, it is likely that builders will create more units, smaller units, which will hopefully keep prices lower and bring more affordability to areas. In-city density and affordability – I like.
The City also would like to see more variety in the type of housing that is created. In addition to the townhomes we all know we will now see rowhouses, cottage houses and even small apartment buildings being built in residential multi-family zones. Stricter standards for how buildings look will keep things a little bit more interesting. Variety – I like.
There are other changes, for example eliminating parking requirements when in an Urban Center or Urban Village area – like NW 60th Street area where I own a rental house. The City figures many of us are already using public transportation. I like this, it will encourage public transit use and allow for more green space on a lot instead of driveways, but I wonder how it will play out for already dense areas?
When the economy picks up and the builders start building again (some already have started!) we will see changes in the look of our lowrise, multi-family areas. That’s my green house in the picture…. imagine what this block will look like in 10-20 years!
Want more details? The City of Seattle has lots of information on it’s site.