New Rules for Short-Term Rentals

In December 2017, the City Council adopted new rules for the operation of short-term rentals in Seattle. The new rules address regulatory licensing, taxation, and land use requirements for short-term rentals, a type of lodging sometimes called vacation rentals. Most of the new requirements will go into effect in January 2019. However, certain new Land Use Code rules went into effect on January 7, 2018.  Learn more about the new rules on our Short-Term Rentals webpage.

Online Open House: Bus Layover Facilities

The City of Seattle is partnering with King County Metro to help keep buses on schedule through new off-street bus facilities. After finishing their trips, Metro buses often pull over in designated spaces to wait for a few minutes before starting their next trips. These planned layovers are important. They help late buses start their next trips on time. Layovers also allow bus drivers to take their breaks, helping them stay alert behind the wheel. The city is growing and there are many competing uses of curb space so the City and Metro are working together to find off-street locations for bus layover, called Bus Hubs.

The City of Seattle is updating the Land Use Code to allow for Bus Hub facilities and Metro is identifying locations in north downtown to build them.  The first “bus hub” will be located on Eastlake Ave E. This surface facility will accommodate approximately 12 buses and provide a comfort station and an operations office for operators.

We want to hear from you. Please visit the online open house, which will be open to the public on Wednesday, January 17 through January 31. There, you can give feedback on land use changes and the design features of the Eastlake hub. For questions about the land use code amendments, please email Elizabeth Weldin, Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections, at elizabeth.weldin@seattle.gov. For questions about the Eastlake site, contact Tristan Cook, King County Metro, at tristan.cook@kingcounty.gov.

Proposed Updates to Design Review Program Are Now Available

Draft legislation to modify the design review program is available for public review and comment on our Design Review Program Improvements webpage and in the Land Use Information Bulletin. Comments will be open through Thursday, June 22.

Our proposed amendments to the Land Use Code (Title 23) are intended to improve the overall function of the program to enhance the efficiency and predictability of project reviews, improve dialogue among project stakeholders, and make the program more transparent and accessible to the public and project applicants. In addition, the changes would focus Design Review on the development projects most likely to influence the character of a neighborhood, and reduce the costs of building housing.  They build upon the recommendations in a report we released in March 2016.  This update is also a recommendation from the Mayor’s Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda.

Key proposals in the legislation include:

  1. Simplify and raise the thresholds for projects subject to design review, switching from a variety of thresholds based on use, units, and zoning to simple square footage thresholds that respond to the complexity of a site and type of project.
  2. Create a new “hybrid” process that allows one phase of design review to be handled administratively and the remainder by the design review board.
  3. Require that all applicants for projects going through design review conduct outreach to the communities near their projects before they begin design review.

The legislation would also modify the composition of design review boards, eliminate the streamlined administrative design review process, modify the review process for exceptional trees in Title 25, and update and clarify other provisions related to design review.

We anticipate making final recommendations to the Mayor later in 2017.

An environmental (SEPA) decision on the draft legislation is also available.  This decision is subject to a comment and appeal period that runs until June 29.  Please submit comments on the proposal and the environmental decision to:

City of Seattle, SDCI
Attn: William Mills
P.O. Box 94788
Seattle, WA 98124-7088
william.mills@seattle.gov

If you have questions regarding the proposed code amendments please contact:

Christina Ghan
(206) 233-3749
christina.ghan@seattle.gov

Lisa Rutzick
(206) 386-9049
lisa.rutzick@seattle.gov

Youth Service Center Amendments

DPD is proposing amendments to the Land Use Code to define a new land use for Youth Service Centers (YSC) and allow the use in Neighborhood Commercial 3 (NC3) and Lowrise (LR3) zones in existing public facilities operated by King County. The amendments would also authorize the DPD Director to waive or modify standards for structure setbacks and maximum width limits for YSCs in LR3 zones.

Public Hearing

The City Council’s Planning Land Use and Sustainability Committee will hold a public hearing to take comments on the proposal on Friday, September 5th at 2:00 p.m. The hearing will be held in the:

City Council Chambers
2nd floor, Seattle City Hall
600 Fourth Avenue

More Information

DPD Youth Service Centers Director’s Report
DPD’s Youth Service Centers Proposed Ordinance
Youth Service Centers Public Hearing Notice