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Built by Blue Sound Construction, designed by MaKe Design, photos by Alex Hayden

Kirkland City Council Amends Reasonable Use Exception Ordinance

Posted on Dec 20, 2019 in:
  • Environment
  • Industry Issues
  • Advocacy

Kirkland City Council (Council) amended the Reasonable Use Exception ordinance, KZC 90.180, on December 10 to change the process by which reasonable use applications are reviewed and limiting the size of homes to 1,500 square feet when constrained by critical areas. The Council did so without a hearing at Planning Commission (PC) or before the Houghton Community Council (HCC) and with only one brief meeting at Council on November 6.

Council determined that property owners still retain reasonable economic use of the property in critical areas, especially, they reasoned, since buyers can often get land in these areas at discount. They stated that 1500 square feet of housing on such lots was justified to protect critical areas without regard to individual lot specifications, applying a blanket regulation to all lots abutting or constrained by critical areas and regardless of applicable buffer requirements.

The City also reasoned that limiting homes in these areas to 1500 sq. ft. will produce more affordable housing. Finally, Council stated they had the authority to bypass Commission and HCC in the public participation process, and that a Determination of Non-Significance under SEPA was justified.

MBAKS is asking for Council reconsideration of this action under the 2008 State Supreme Court Sims case, for additional SEPA review, and for additional public input, process, and review under through PC and HCC.

Contact King County Manager Gina Clark, 425.460.8240, with any questions.


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Photo courtesy Blue Sound Construction, builder; MaKe Design, architect; and Alex Hayden, photographer