The City of Seattle is seeking input from residents on three potential rezone options for Uptown, ranging from doing nothing to allowing mid-rise (5-7 story) buildings to allowing buildings up to 16 stories in some parts of Uptown. As we’ve reported in the past, the Uptown Urban Design Framework (UDF) is the central document that guides the future of Uptown. It includes input from neighbors and community organizations like the Uptown Alliance.
Now, the city has published a draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) that evaluates a range of building heights, developed in collaboration with the community. It’s a hefty document, weighing in at 458 pages in its pdf format.
The EIS states upfront that the priorities for Uptown are as follows:
• Affordable housing
• A multimodal transportation system
•Community amenities (community center, new schools, open space)
• An arts and culture hub
• A strong retail core
• A welcoming urban gateway to Seattle Center
The Uptown UDF recommendations include developing rezone legislation, which could change building heights and development standards. The EIS outlines three alternatives which have been identified for study:
1) “No Action” which maintains current zoning and building heights for the dozens of parcels in the neighborhood that are expected to be redeveloped, but does not include new neighborhood-specific design and development standards to guide that growth.
2) “Mid-rise” with 5-7 story buildings that would include mandatory housing affordability requirements, along with new Uptown design standards.
3) “High-rise” featuring taller, thinner, more widely spaced 16-story buildings in areas of the Uptown Urban Center, also including mandatory contributions to housing affordability and the neighborhood design standards.
The map below shows the rezone area. Where there are 3 numbers separated by dashes, the first is the “no action” option, the middle is the “mid-rise” option, the last is the “high-rise” option:
If you want a say in the future of Uptown and potential rezoning that could either maintain the status quo or grow upward, now’s your time to get feedback to the city. Part of the City’s decision will be based on community comments and input on the three options.
The Office of Planning and Community Development (OPCD) and Seattle Center are hosting an open house and public hearing on August 4th at the Seattle Center Armory Lofts 3 & 4, from 5pm to 8pm. At this meeting, the public will have an opportunity to learn more about the alternatives, ask questions, and provide public comment.
In addition to the three options above, the following will also be on the August 4th agenda: the upcoming Seattle Center and Uptown Strategic Parking Study, the emerging Uptown Arts & Cultural District, citywide housing affordability policies, and proposed transit improvements.
Written public comment can be submitted until September 1 by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The City expects to complete the final EIS of the preferred alternative in November. Per the City: “Additional public comments will be gathered at that time before any proposed zoning changes are sent to the Seattle City Council.”