Last weekend Sally Clark, chair of the Planning and Land Use Neighborhood Committee (PLUNC), held a meeting about the future of the Lowrise development codes (L1, L2, L3, L4) in the city of Seattle (see zoning map here). This is the second half of a large code update, with Highrise and Midrise development codes already approved by the city council at the end of last year. In many ways those update were less controversial than the Lowrise codes, and in some way less important. Ten percent of Seattle is zoned as one of the Lowerise zones, and these areas are where a majority of population growth in the city will occur. Additionally, ugly and dysfunctional townhouses are often the rallying cries of NIMBY.
In general the thrust of the update is to move away from prescriptive codes that create cookie cutter builds to a more flexible code and administrative review procress that gets us what we want; attractive, context sensitive, affordable, and sustainable housing. The issues related to this are complex and I really don’t have the knowledge or time to fully dive into them, but the resources below will give you decent understanding of the issue.
- Very informative Seattle Channel video about the proposed code. In my opinion this is a must see TV. It cuts right to the chase in gory detail.
- Illustrations from the video above can be found here. Analysis from the teams can be found here and here.
- Anatomy of a disaster, four pack townhouse by Congress of Residential Architects
- Townhouses: Can the Patient be saved?”
- Project homepage
- Zoning 101
- Administrative Review summary
High quality and affordable housing is critical to what this blog advocates for and this update certainly is a step in the right direction. There will be more meeting on this topic where you can give public comment on March 25th and April 2nd.