This Land Use Code Amendment (LUCA) established lower minimum residential parking requirements for certain developments in areas with frequent transit service.
In 2017, the City Council adopted the Affordable Housing Strategy (AHS) in recognition of the affordable housing crisis in the city and has committed to implementing specific recommendations to increase the supply of affordable housing. This includes recommendations to reduce parking requirements in order to lower the costs of building affordable housing.
In 2020, the Washington state Legislature adopted Senate Bill (SB) 2343, amending RCW 36.70A.620, in order to increase housing supply. A portion of the legislation imposed caps on minimum residential parking spaces that cities can require for certain residential developments that are within one-quarter mile of transit stops that receive a minimum number of transit trips per hour.
In 2020, the Legislature also adopted Senate Bill (SB) 6617, amending RCW 36.70A.698. This legislation establishes that cities may not require off-street parking for accessory dwelling units located within one-quarter mile of a major transit stop.
On April 26, 2021, the City Council adopted Ordinance 6575 to establish lower minimum residential parking requirements for certain housing developments in areas with frequent transit service. Under the new code, transit stops must have service at least four times per hour, 12 hours per day to meet the definition of frequent service. Future light rail and bus rapid transit stops opening within two years are automatically considered frequent transit stops. In general, new multifamily housing located within one-half mile of a frequent transit stop is now eligible for reduced minimum parking requirements. There is no minimum parking requirement for new Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) located within one-quarter mile of a frequent transit stop. The code provides additional incentives for affordable housing and senior housing.
The EBCC rejected Ordinance 6575 on May 4, 2021. To ensure compliance with state law, the City Council passed Ordinance 6589 establishing a smaller, one-quarter mile radius from transit for eligibility within the EBCC jurisdiction only. The EBCC approved Ordinance 6589 on August 3, 2021.
On February 24, 2021, the Planning Commission held a virtual public hearing on the proposed LUCA.