The Seattle City Council is considering amendments to Council Bill 118862. Council Bill (CB) 118862 would amend the City’s Land Use Code and Seattle Zoning Maps to implement some policies and recommendations contained in the U District Urban Design Framework. Information about the U District Urban Design Framework is available at: http://www.seattle.gov/dpd/cityplanning/completeprojectslist/universitydistrict/whatwhy/default.htm.

The Council is considering the following types of changes to CB 118862, these changes will be discussed by the Planning, Land Use and Zoning Committee starting at their January 19 committee meeting:

   ·     Rezone University Way NE (the Ave) from NE 41st Street to NE 50th Street to Seattle Mixed-University District with a 75 foot height limit (SM-U 75) instead of Seattle Mixed-University District with an 85-foot height limit.

·     In the SM-U 75 zone under consideration for the Ave, reduce the number of uses exempt from floor area limits, the number of uses that are granted additional floor area, and the total amount of additional and/or exempt floor area permitted to be used in structures fronting on the Ave.

·     Make the Ave only a “sending” area for Transfers of Development Rights (TDR) and Transfers of Development Potential (TDP), not allowing transfers of floor area from other parts of the U District to the Ave.

·     Reduce maximum building width for buildings in the proposed SM-U 75 zone to 160’ rather than 250’, equivalent to 4 traditional 40’ store fronts.

·     Consider different options for supporting the creation of spaces appropriate to the types of small businesses currently located along the Ave:

o   Adding a size limit for retail spaces to be exempt from floor area limits (only exempting spaces that are 2,000 square feet or less),

o   Allowing buildings that front the Ave to be wider than the maximum size width if they provide smaller retail bays,

o   Requiring spaces for individual small businesses in all buildings that front the Ave.  The number of small spaces required would vary based on the total commercial floor area at the street level, or

o    Requiring an entrance to retail spaces every 40 feet to mimic the current pattern of development, but not limiting the size of spaces.

·      Increase the mandatory housing affordability requirements for the core area from M1 (9% of units in the structure or $20/SF for residential units) to M2 (10% of units in the structure or $22.25/SF for residential units).

·       Modify the Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA) requirements as applied in the University District to increase the estimated number of affordable units that could be produced through MHA.

·       Amend Chapter 23.58B of the Seattle Municipal Code to include performance and payment amounts for the MHA-Commercial program for all levels of MHA and all areas.

·       Consider alternative incentives for family-size units, such as exempting units with 2 or more bedrooms from Floor Area Ratio limits or allowing additional floor area for family size units.

·       Allow TDR or TDP from landmark structures in the proposed MR zone south of NE 45th Street and west of 9th Avenue NE to preserve structures in that area.

·       Amend Section 23.48.624 related to bonuses for open space to make it clear that open space amenities that receive a bonus are required to be publicly-accessible.

·       Require Transportation Management Programs for all buildings that could result in 50 or more single-occupant vehicle trips and for residential buildings that are projected to lead to demand for 25 vehicles parked on-street overnight, where the program would include subsidization of transit passes to reduce trips and car ownership.

·       Increase the permitted heights on the north side of NE 50th Street from 11th Avenue NE to a half block east of Brooklyn Ave NE from NC3-55 (M1) to NC3-75 (M1) and extend the NC3-75 (M1) zone a half block east to Brooklyn Avenue NE.

·       Rezone the multifamily zone  between NE 50th Street and NE 52nd Street from LR3 to MR.

·        Increase the heights on properties on the south side of the intersection of Brooklyn Avenue NE and NE Ravenna Boulevard from NC2P-30’ (M1) in the Mayor’s Recommendation to NC2P-40’ (M1).

·       In the Seattle Mixed-University 75-240 and 95-320 zones, to accommodate a wider range of uses, either increase the average floorplate size to 24,000 square feet and the maximum floor plate size to 26,000 square feet throughout these zones, or just above the light rail station.

·       Exclude light rail station uses from street-level transparency requirements.

·       Allow waivers of loading space requirements for the SM-U district if certain findings included in SMC 23.54.035.B.2 are met.

In addition to these broader policy changes, the Council is also considering a number of more minor, technical changes. Additional information regarding the scope of changes under consideration is available by searching for record number 118862, on the City Clerk’s website: seattle.legistar.com/Legislation.aspx  

After reviewing public comments and deliberating on the content of CB 118862, the Council may choose to adopt a final version of the legislation that includes some or none of the changes described above or otherwise differs from the legislation described.


Written comments may be submitted at any time until the final Council vote on the legislation.  However, the Council prefers to receive written comments by 5:00 p.m. on February 10, 2017 to allow for review by the Council during its consideration of the proposal. Please send comments to Councilmember Rob Johnson via e-mail at: rob.johnson@seattle.gov, or by mail to: 

Councilmember Rob Johnson

Seattle City Council

600 4th Avenue, 2nd Floor

PO Box 34025

Seattle, WA98124-4025



The Office of Planning and Community Development Director’s Report, and Final Environmental Impact Statement and other key documents are available at: 

http://www.seattle.gov/dpd/cityplanning/completeprojectslist/universitydistrict/whatwhy/default.htm or

http://seattle.legistar.com by searching for Council Bill 118862.

Information regarding potential Seattle City Council Amendments to the U District Urban Design framework legislation is available athttp://seattle.legistar.com by searching for Council Bill 118862.

Questions regarding the U District Urban Design framework and related legislation may be directed to Dave LaClergue of the Office of Planning and Community Development at (206) 733-9668 or via email at dave.laclergue@seattle.gov or to Lish Whitson of the City Council Central Staff at (206) 615-1674 or via email atlish.whitson@seattle.gov.