The City of Seattle Could See Zoning Changes in 2019

Current zoning restrictions in various parts of Seattle are under discussion, as Seattle’s City Council has just begun what promises to be a debate on whether to upzone neighborhoods that have historically been reserved for single-family homes. Seattle Times has been keeping a close eye on the topic in a series of recent articles.

Real estate and development are dictated by zoning laws, which state what types of housing can be built and where. Neighborhoods that surround Seattle’s vibrant core have historically been zoned for single-family housing, which has afforded the city traditional communities composed of detached homes with ample yards; but a new proposal would upzone specific areas and allow for multi-family projects such as townhomes, rowhouses or condominium buildings.

The concept of upzoning isn’t new to the city. Local policymakers have already implemented changes in parts of downtown, allowing high-rise buildings, such as SPIRE, to be constructed.

As rapid growth continues in the heart of downtown, city officials are now seeking to change zoning regulations, which would allow widespread disbursement of population density throughout the city. The new plan would allow developers to construct higher-density buildings to increase housing opportunities throughout the city and ease the current strain of demand. Proposed regulations would also enforce HALA (Housing Affordability and Livability) by either dedicating a portion of each project to affordable housing or by monetary contribution.  

The Seattle City Council held the first of five planned meetings on January 7th, and hopes to finalize a plan that will protect historic neighborhoods while modernizing other areas to suit the current economic climate. A public hearing will take place on February 25th and the council’s final vote is slated to take place March 18th.

You can read more about the current housing debate on Seattle Times.