New Environmental (SEPA) Review Requirements

Environmental review thresholds (under the State Environmental Policy Act – SEPA) will change on Monday, November 16, 2015, affecting the following Urban Centers and Villages: Northgate, South Lake Union, North Rainier, Rainier Beach and North Beacon Hill.

The new thresholds will generally be 20 dwelling units and 12,000 square feet for non-residential uses in most zones in these areas. Projects that exceed these thresholds will be required to undergo SEPA environmental review. Specific changes by zone are included in Ordinance 124885. Enter the ordinance number in the “Ordinance No.” search box.

State rules required Seattle to update its citywide residential growth projections this year in its Comprehensive Plan. This was completed in October, but other Plan updates that are also required will not be completed until 2016. We anticipate that SEPA thresholds for specific urban centers and villages will be restored to pre-existing, higher levels in these and other urban centers and villages in 2016, after adoption of the Seattle 2035 update to the Comprehensive Plan.

For more information, view our FAQ or contact Gordon Clowers at (206) 684-8375 or