Planning for the New Mandatory Housing Affordability Upzones

The Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA) upzones are coming soon! The City Council is considering changes to the zoning designation and development standards for property throughout Seattle. The proposed MHA upzones will allow you to construct larger buildings than what is currently allowed. After an MHA upzone, your property will also be subject to the MHA requirements and you may need to contribute to an affordable housing fund or provide affordable units as part of your development.

If you are ready to submit a project to us for review and want to use the new codes and zoning designations for your project, here are your permitting options for your project. Remember, your project is not subject to the MHA requirements or any of the new development standards if your project is vested to a Land Use Code in effect before an MHA upzone.

All Construction Permits
Since a construction permit vests your project to the current land use codes, you don’t want to submit one for a project if you intend to use a future land use code. We cannot process requests to use a future land use code once you file a complete building permit application for your project. You will have to wait to apply for your construction permits until after the new codes are effective.

All Master Use Permits
If your project requires a Master Use Permit (MUP) and you want to get a head start by designing your project using the new code, SDCI will accept your MUP application once the Mayor signs the ordinance.  This typically occurs 30 days prior to the effective date of the ordinance. We will not issue your MUP until after the new codes are effective.

All Design Review Master Use Permits
Starting now, if your project is subject to design review, SDCI and the Design Review Board can consider MHA options at the early design guidance (EDG) and recommendation phases of your project. However, your MUP application must be submitted and designed according to current codes until the Mayor signs the ordinance. We will review your project for zoning standards under current code. You should include the MHA option at the end of the plan set or design review packet with a note that it is for reference only. Once the Mayor signs the new ordinance, you may update your plans to reflect the approved codes and zoning designation. At your option, if you want your MUP issued according to the future codes, we will not publish our decision on your project until the effective date of the ordinance.

If you plan to use the proposed MHA upzone provisions for your project:

  • Submit a written request to SDCI stating your intent to use the future MHA upzone for your project. Provide this letter with your EDG submittal and your MUP application. If you have an existing project under review, provide this letter when you upload revised drawings that are designed to the approved code. SDCI will allow applicants to update drawings to reflect the approved code after the Mayor signs the ordinance.
  • Only reference one code in your application. Your plan set drawings should be prepared using only the current code until the MHA upzone is approved and signed by the Mayor. At that time, you must update your drawings based on the new code. We will re-notice the project if the height or number of units is increased.

For more information, contact:

Megan Neuman
(206) 684-3101
megan.neuman@seattle.gov

You can also download our summary flyer.