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Seattle Passes Emergency Legislation Related to Design Review

Posted on May 1, 2020 in:
  • Industry Issues
  • Permitting
  • Advocacy

On Monday, April 28, Seattle City Council passed CB 119769 with a 7-2 majority (emergency legislation must pass by at least seven votes). The final substitute bill is effective immediately. It will be active until the earlier of: A) six months, B) the implementation of a process for SDCI to conduct all meetings virtually, or C) a time when permitting processes can safely return to an in-person format. The emergency bill, as passed, allows: 

  • Development projects that would normally move through the Full Design Review process to move through Administrative Design Review (ADR). This is a big win to keep heretofore stalled market-rate projects moving forward during the COVID-19 emergency. The bill also provides for Early Community Outreach to be facilitated via electronic or digital methods.
  • Affordable housing development projects (according to SMC subsection 23.41.004.A.5) to be exempted from the ADR process altogether. We were pleased to see this important provision for our AH housing partners remain after it was nearly eliminated by an amendment.
  • Department of Neighborhood (DON) staff to administratively review certain modification requests of city landmarks/buildings within Special Review, Landmark, and Historical Districts. This also allows for the suspension of certain DON board/committee reviews.

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