Seattle City Council Votes to Limit Small Lot Development

After the Seattle City Council voted to approve new small lot zoning regulations this week, the decision was hailed as a victory for neighborhood interests. The city had placed a moratorium on small lot development in September 2012.
May 21, 2014, 8am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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"A majority of Seattle City Council members Monday sided with neighborhood activists and agreed to set lower height limits for homes built on small lots in single-family zones," reports Lynn Thompson. The city had a moratorium on small-lot development in place since September 2012, "after an outcry from neighbors over 30-foot-tall, modern houses on lots as small as 1,050 square feet that were permitted using obscure tax and mortgage records discovered by developers on historic, archived city maps."

"Councilmember Mike O’Brien, chair of the Land Use and Planning Committee, said that the new regulations eliminated the most extreme small-lot development and give neighbors and developers more predictability about what can be built."

"Under the new rules, no development will be permitted on lots smaller than 2,500 square feet. Many historic records can no longer be used to qualify a small lot as buildable. And neighbors will be provided notice and the right to appeal to a city hearing examiner any construction requests on lots smaller than 3,200 square feet."

"Developer advocate Roger Valdez said the new height limit of 18 feet plus a 5-foot pitched roof, or the average height of adjacent homes, whichever was greater, would only create more confusion and more issues for neighbors and the city to argue about."

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Published on Monday, May 19, 2014 in Seattle Times
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