Seattle Updating Zoning Regulations for Small Single-Family Lots

Planners in Seattle have responded to controversy over the size and scale of development on small lots in many of the city's single-family neighborhoods, with a new set of zoning regulations.

The Seattle Department of Planning and Development has almost completed an update to its zoning code for small single-family lots. Since 2012, the city has operated with an interim ordinance to regulate development of such small-lots.

According to a “Director’s Report” on currently proposed, permanent revisions to the zoning code, the interim ordinance came as a response to “concerns raised by residents in single-family neighborhoods where small lots, previously believed to be unbuildable, were proposed to be developed. The development often resulted in houses that were out of scale with existing neighborhoods and out of proportion to the size of the building site.”

The Department of Planning and Development presented their recommendations to the City Council in March. The proposals generally fall into three categories, according to the Director’s Report: 1) “Modifying and clarifying exceptions to minimum lot area requirements,” 2) “Development Standards for Single Family Homes on Undersized Lots,” and 3) “Minor Code Adjustments and Clarifications.”

The Department of Planning and Development has also produced a document that includes a number of case studies and details of the proposed height regulations and lot sizes and exceptions.

Full Story: Developing Small Single-Family Lots

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