Chapter 18.29
TRANSIT ORIENTED DEVELOPMENT (TOD) DISTRICT OVERLAY

Sections:

18.29.010    Intent.

18.29.020    Area.

18.29.030    Applicability.

18.29.040    Use allowances.

18.29.050    Zoning standards.

18.29.055    Wireless communication facilities.

18.29.060    Affordable housing requirements.

18.29.070    Parking.

18.29.080    Design requirements.

18.29.090    Connectivity requirements.

18.29.100    Significant tree grove retention.

18.29.010 Intent.

The purpose of the transit oriented development (TOD) district overlay is to reinforce the City’s planned concentration of pedestrian-oriented mixed use development at intensities that support and are supported by multi-modal transportation options, including high capacity transit. The TOD district overlay revitalizes the City’s core by creating incentives and opportunities for a mix of jobs and residences, cultivates a respectful relationship among development within the district, the natural environment, and nearby traditional neighborhoods, and provides a framework for future infrastructure and service decisions. The TOD district overlay provides public benefits in the form of encouraging housing affordable to all economic groups, increased pedestrian connectivity, quality design, and incentive to preserve significant tree groves where they exist. [Ord. 15-0406 § 1 (Att. A).]

18.29.020 Area.

The area of the TOD district overlay is shown on Figure 18.29.020.1. In order to develop under the TOD district overlay, at least 50 percent of a parcel shown on Figure 18.29.020.1 shall be located within the TOD district overlay.

[Ord. 15-0406 § 1 (Att. A).]

18.29.030 Applicability.

A. The TOD district overlay is an incentive-based zoning overlay. Applicants who elect to develop under the provisions of the TOD district overlay shall adhere to all development standards set forth in this chapter; except that development standards not addressed in this chapter shall be governed by provisions of the underlying zone.

B. In order to be eligible to develop under the TOD district overlay regulations, a development application shall meet the following criteria:

1. The property must be located within the TOD district overlay area as described in KMC 18.29.020;

2. The proposed development must either:

a. Be considered a mixed use development as defined in KMC 18.20.1740; or

b. Be a residential-only development or mixed use development with commercial permitted only on the ground floor if located in the R-12, R-18, or R-24 underlying zones, which are areas designated as primarily residential.

C. Eligible properties within the TOD district overlay that do not choose to develop under the provisions of this chapter shall comply with the provisions of the underlying zone in their entirety. [Ord. 15-0406 § 1 (Att. A).]

18.29.040 Use allowances.

The following uses listed in Table A are identified as permitted, conditionally permitted or prohibited uses for properties electing to develop under provisions of the TOD district overlay.

All uses not specifically listed in this section shall be prohibited.

Table A – TOD District Overlay
Use Allowances 

Permitted

Conditionally Permitted

Prohibited

Arts, entertainment, indoor1,3

Ambulatory surgery center2

Adult entertainment business

Business service, standard1,3

Animal kennel/
shelter2,5

Air transportation service

Day care

College/
university2

Arts, entertainment, outdoor

Eating and drinking place1

Fire or police facility2

Auction house

Educational service1

Laboratory2

Automotive sales and service, marine

Health care and social assistance1,3

Park

Automotive sales and service, nonmarine

Manufacturing, light1,3,5

Regional land use

Business service, intensive

Mobile food service4

Religious institution2

Cemetery, columbarium or mausoleum

Multiple-family dwelling

Supportive living facility2

Community residential facility

Office1

 

Construction and trade

Personal service1,3

 

Family child-care home

Recreational facility, indoor1,3

 

Funeral home/
crematory

Retail sales1,3,5

 

Hospital

Temporary lodging1,3

 

Manufacturing, heavy

 

 

Marijuana business

 

 

Mobile home park

 

 

Recreational facility, outdoor

 

 

Resource land use

 

 

Retail sales, bulk

 

 

Secure facility

 

 

Single detached dwelling unit

 

 

Standalone parking

 

 

Transportation

 

 

Utility facility

 

 

Vehicle or equipment rental

 

 

Vehicle refueling station

 

 

Warehousing

 

 

Wholesale trade

1    Commercial use limitations in residentially oriented underlying zones: If these uses are proposed for property with underlying zoning of R-12, R-18, or R-24, then each use is limited to maximum 5,000 square feet per use and 15,000 square feet total contiguous nonresidential area within the development.

2    Conditional use permit required in underlying urban corridor, downtown commercial, and public/semi-public zones. Prohibited in all other underlying zones within the TOD district overlay area.

3    Conditional use permit required in underlying R-12, R-18, R-24 zones. Permitted in underlying urban corridor, downtown commercial, and public/semi-public zones within the TOD district overlay area.

4    Mobile food service is permitted subject to the following requirements:

a. For a stand, location shall be on a sidewalk or near a storefront consistent with barrier-free regulations;

b. For a stand, location on the sidewalk or near a storefront shall provide for at least four feet of unobstructed sidewalk between the stand and the sidewalk edge for pedestrian movement;

c. No permanent fencing, walls, or other structures are installed which hinder removal of the structure from the site;

d. No required parking stall shall be blocked or rendered unusable as a result of the mobile food service;

e. Safe ingress and egress to the site shall be maintained. Visibility for transportation and pedestrian access shall be maintained;

f. The limited duration of the mobile food service shall be established as a condition of approval of any applicable permits; if accessory to a use, such operation is removed daily at the time of or prior to the close of business hours;

g. A sign permit is required for exterior signage in accordance with the sign code, Chapter 18.42 KMC.

5    No outdoor storage of materials shall be permitted.

[Ord. 17-0438 § 2 (Att. A); Ord. 16-0426 § 5 (Att. C); Ord. 15-0406 § 1 (Att. A).]

18.29.050 Zoning standards.

The following development standards in Table B apply to properties electing to develop under provisions of the TOD district overlay:

Table B – TOD Overlay District Development Standards 

STANDARD

REQUIREMENT

Minimum Density: Dwelling Units/Gross Acre

601

Maximum Density: Dwelling Units/Gross Acre

1501

Maximum Height

65'2

1     Portions of any property developing under the TOD district overlay regulations with an underlying zoning of R-1 shall cluster development away from critical areas or corridors such as urban separators or the wildlife habitat network to the extent possible and the open space shall be placed in a separate tract that includes at least 50 percent of the site. The open space tract shall be permanent and meet the provisions of KMC 17.20.130(B).

2    Portions of any property developing under the TOD district overlay regulations that are within 50 feet of a single-family zone (R-1, R-4, R-6) shall have a maximum height of 35 feet within that area to provide a transition in height to the lower intensity uses.

[Ord. 15-0406 § 1 (Att. A).]

18.29.055 Wireless communication facilities.

Use allowances and development regulations for wireless communication facilities in the TOD district overlay shall be as specified in Chapter 18.60 KMC for the underlying zoning district. [Ord. 16-0426 § 6 (Att. D).]

18.29.060 Affordable housing requirements.

For properties choosing to develop under the TOD district overlay, development shall provide affordable housing. Development choosing to develop under the TOD district overlay shall not utilize the provisions of residential density incentives found in Chapter 18.80 KMC to achieve maximum densities.

A. Definitions. For purposes of the TOD district overlay, the following affordable housing definitions shall apply:

1. “Affordable housing unit” means housing reserved for occupancy by eligible households and affordable to households whose annual income does not exceed the percentage of median income types described in the subsections below, adjusted for household size, and no more than 30 percent of the monthly household income is paid for monthly housing expenses. (Housing expenses for ownership housing include mortgage and mortgage insurance, property taxes, property insurance, and homeowners dues. Housing expenses for rental housing include rent and appropriate utility allowance.)

2. “Bonus units” means dwelling units achieved through the TOD district overlay that exceed the number of units allowed by the base density of the underlying zoning district.

3. Moderate Income Affordable Housing. For rental housing, “moderate income affordable housing” is defined as affordable at 70 percent of median income, adjusted for household size. For ownership housing, “moderate income affordable housing” is defined as affordable at 80 percent of median income, adjusted for household size.

4. Low Income Affordable Housing. For rental housing, “low income affordable housing” is defined as affordable at 50 percent of median income, adjusted for household size. For ownership housing, “low income affordable housing” is defined as affordable at 65 percent of median income, adjusted for household size.

5. Very Low Income Affordable Housing. For rental housing, “very low income affordable housing” is defined as affordable at 35 percent of median income, adjusted for household size. For ownership housing, “very low income affordable housing” is defined as affordable at 50 percent of median income, adjusted for household size.

6. “Median income” means the median income for the Seattle MSA as most recently determined by the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under Section 8(f)(3) of the United States Housing Act of 1937, as amended, or if programs under said Section 8(f)(3) are terminated, median income is determined under the method used by the Secretary prior to such termination. In the event that HUD no longer publishes median income figures for the Seattle MSA or King County, the City may use any other method for determining the King County median income, adjusted for household size.

Pursuant to the authority of RCW 36.70A.540, the City finds that the higher income levels specified in the definition of “affordable housing” under this subsection A, rather than those stated in the definition of “low-income households” in RCW 36.70A.540, are needed to address local housing market conditions in the City.

B. Cap on Total Number of Affordable Housing Units Required. Affordable housing requirements shall be capped at 10 percent of the total number of dwelling units being provided.

C. Number of Affordable Housing Units Required. Affordable housing units shall be provided for any development exceeding the base density of the underlying zone as follows:

1. Tier 1: If the number of bonus units is less than or equal to 30 percent of the total number of dwelling units, then for every three bonus units, one dwelling unit shall be a moderate income affordable housing unit and two bonus dwelling units may be bonus market rate dwelling units.

2. Tier 2: If the number of bonus units is greater than 30 percent of the total number of dwelling units and if the overall project density is less than or equal to 120 dwelling units per acre, then a combination of low income affordable housing units and moderate income affordable housing units shall be provided as follows: for every four bonus units allowed beyond that needed to achieve the 10 percent moderate income affordable housing units, one of the moderate income affordable housing units shall be made into a low income affordable housing unit up to a maximum of 33 percent of the affordable housing units (or 3.3 percent of the total dwelling units in the development).

3. Tier 3: If the overall development density is greater than 120 dwelling units per acre, a combination of very low income affordable housing units, low income affordable housing units and moderate income affordable housing units shall be provided as follows: the required numbers of low income affordable housing units and moderate income affordable housing units shall be equivalent to those that would be required under Tier 2 assuming that the project were to be developed at a density of 120 dwelling units per acre. An amount of very low income affordable housing shall be required so that the total combined amount of very low income, low income and moderate income affordable housing units is equal to 10 percent of the total number of dwelling units in the development.

4. Determination of Number of Affordable Housing Units Required. See KMC 18.30.020(D) for method of rounding to determine the number of affordable housing units required.

5. Affordable Housing Example. Example is a one-and-one-half-acre property with a base density of 48 dwelling units (du)/acre. Without the TOD district overlay, the property could achieve up to 72 dwelling units.

Tier 1 example: Proposed TOD development would achieve 93 dwelling units on site for 62 du/acre. This provides 21 “bonus” dwelling units above the 48 du/acre base density of the zone. Since the number of bonus units (21) is less than 30 percent of the total units (93), seven of the 21 bonus units must be affordable to moderate income households, meeting Tier 1 affordability requirements.

Tier 2 example: Proposed TOD development would achieve 113 dwelling units on site for 75 du/acre. This provides 41 “bonus” dwelling units above the 48 du/acre base density of the zone.

Since the number of bonus units (41) is greater than 30 percent of the total units (113), 11 of the 41 bonus units must be affordable, meeting the 10 percent affordability cap. Nine of these are affordable to moderate income households and two are affordable to low income households (33 of the bonus units used toward achieving 10 percent affordable units (11*3) plus eight of the bonus units applied toward making two of the affordable units low income affordable units (8*.25=2).

Tier 3 example: Proposed TOD development would achieve 210 dwelling units on site for 140 du/acre. The first step is to determine how many affordable units would have been required assuming 120 du/acre using the Tier 2 formula. This calculation results in 13 moderate income affordable housing units and five low income affordable housing units. To achieve the requirement that 10 percent of the total units in the development be affordable, three additional affordable housing units would be needed (21-18=3). These three units would be required to be very low income affordable housing units. In summary, the development would provide 13 moderate income affordable housing units, five low income affordable housing units, and three very low income affordable housing units.

D. Alternative Compliance. The city manager may approve a request for satisfying all or part of the affordable housing requirements with alternative compliance methods if they meet the following requirements:

1. The project proponent may propose an off-site alternative, and must demonstrate that any alternative compliance method achieves a result equal to or better than providing affordable housing on site.

2. Affordable housing units provided through the alternative compliance method must be the same type of units as the units in the project which gave rise to the requirement.

3. Affordable housing units may be provided off site if the location chosen does not lead to undue concentration of affordable housing in any particular area of the transit oriented development district or downtown.

4. Priority is for the project to be located within the transit oriented development district. However, the city manager may approve a project located outside the transit oriented development district if the location has access to commercial uses, transit, and does not result in an undue concentration of affordable housing.

5. The proposal must demonstrate that the affordable units provided off site will be completed before or within the same time period as the development generating the affordable housing requirement, or provide such other assurances as approved by the city manager.

Applications for alternative compliance shall be submitted at the time of application, and must be approved prior to issuance of any building permit. The proposal must describe a specific location, type, and amount of affordable housing and how and when it will be developed. Any proposal for providing off-site affordable housing must also address the timing for providing the off-site housing, which, unless otherwise approved by the City, shall be built simultaneously with or prior to the construction of housing for the subject property. For projects approved for off-site affordable housing, there will be a recorded agreement on both the “sending” property and the “receiving” property. The covenant on the sending site will be released once the affordable housing is completed on the receiving property.

E. Affordability Agreement. Prior to issuing any building permit, an agreement in a form approved by the city manager that addresses price restrictions, homebuyer or tenant qualifications, phasing of construction, monitoring of affordability, duration of affordability, and any other applicable topics of the affordable housing units shall be recorded with King County Department of Records and Elections. This agreement shall be a covenant running with the land and shall be binding on the assigns, heirs and successors of the applicant. The City may agree, at its sole discretion, to subordinate any affordable housing regulatory agreement for the purpose of enabling the owner to obtain financing for development of the property.

F. Implementation Provisions. The following requirements shall be met for all affordable units:

1. Duration. Housing shall serve only income-eligible households for a minimum period of 50 years from the latter of the date when the affordability agreement between the housing owner and the City, as referenced in subsection E of this section, is recorded, or the date when the affordable housing becomes available for occupancy as determined by the City.

2. Designation of Affordable Housing Units. Prior to the issuance of any permit(s), the City shall review and approve the location and unit mix of the affordable housing units consistent with the following standards:

a. Location. The location of the affordable housing units shall be approved by the City, with the intent that they generally be intermingled with all other dwelling units in the development.

b. Tenure. The tenure of the affordable housing units (ownership or rental) shall be the same as the tenure for the rest of the housing units in the development.

c. Size (bedroom). The affordable housing units shall consist of a range of number of bedrooms that are comparable to units in the overall development.

d. Size (square footage). The size of the affordable housing units, if smaller than the other units with the same number of bedrooms in the development, shall be approved by the city manager. If there is a proposal that the affordable units be smaller than the market rate units, in no case shall the affordable housing units be less than 500 square feet for a studio unit, 600 square feet for a one bedroom unit, 800 square feet for a two bedroom unit, or 1,000 square feet for a three bedroom unit.

e. Design. The exterior design of the affordable housing units shall be compatible and comparable with the rest of the dwelling units in the development and shall comply with design standards specified in KMC 18.29.080. The interior finish and quality of construction of the affordable housing units shall at a minimum be comparable to entry level rental or ownership housing in the City.

3. Timing/Phasing. The affordable housing units shall be available for occupancy in a time frame comparable to the availability of the rest of the dwelling units in the development.

G. Monitoring and Fees. The City reserves the right to establish, in the affordability agreement referred to in subsection E of this section, monitoring fees for the affordable housing unit, which can be adjusted over time to account for inflation. The purpose of any monitoring fee is for the review and processing of documents to maintain compliance with income and affordability restrictions of the affordability agreement. [Ord. 15-0406 § 1 (Att. A).]

18.29.070 Parking.

Parking in the TOD district overlay should be sufficient to support local businesses and residential development, while at the same time promoting transit ridership, walkable streets, and efficient use of land. Proposed development choosing to develop under the TOD district overlay shall provide parking as follows:

A. Minimum parking requirements for nonresidential uses may be reduced to 75 percent of the minimum requirement computed according to the provisions of KMC 18.40.030.

B. Minimum residential parking shall be supplied at the following ratios:

1. 1.0 parking spaces per market-rate dwelling unit, except as follows:

a. Pioneer Project Incentive. For purposes of this section, a pioneer project consists of the first 100 bonus housing units provided in the city under the TOD district overlay regulations. The first 100 bonus housing units in a pioneer project(s) may elect to provide parking spaces for market rate bonus units at 0.6 parking spaces per dwelling unit.

2. 1.0 additional parking space per every five market rate dwelling units shall be provided and designated as guest parking for use by all guests.

3. 0.6 parking spaces per dwelling unit for affordable or senior dwelling units.

4. Affordable housing shall be as defined under KMC 18.29.060. Senior housing shall be defined as housing restricted to those meeting the definition of “senior citizen” as found in KMC 18.20.2500.

C. The following factors shall count towards minimum parking standards for residential and nonresidential development:

1. On-street parking immediately adjoining a property proposed for development or provided as part of the proposed development may be counted toward the minimum parking requirement.

2. Minimum on-site parking may be reduced further by provisions of KMC 18.40.090(B) for properties within the TOD district overlay that meet the requirements of KMC 18.40.090(B) for accessibility to high frequency transit service.

3. Shared parking among uses is encouraged within the TOD district overlay. Developments that propose shared parking arrangements shall submit a parking management plan as defined in KMC 18.20.1995 that describes the terms and conditions of shared parking arrangements on site.

D. Parking Provided in Excess of Minimum. Provision of parking in excess of the minimum parking requirements outlined in subsections A and B of this section shall require the excess parking be included in a structured parking garage, or under building and screened from the street frontage, unless the additional parking is associated with a phased, mixed use development, is interim in nature, and is temporarily located on land reserved for future phases not yet built.

E. Maximum parking within the TOD district overlay shall not exceed the minimum requirement calculated under the provisions of KMC 18.40.030.

1. Applicants may be allowed to exceed the maximum parking if the applicant can produce a parking study that demonstrates probable on-site parking needs that are significantly higher than similar uses. This traffic study shall be subject to review by the city manager before approval for additional parking is granted. All parking granted in excess of the maximum shall be provided in a structured parking garage or under building and screened from the street frontage.

F. All other parking requirements shall be as provided in Chapter 18.40 KMC. [Ord. 16-0428 § 13 (Att. I); Ord. 15-0406 § 1 (Att. A).]

18.29.080 Design requirements.

Development within the TOD district overlay shall comply with Standard 1 provisions of the downtown design standards, as set forth in Chapter 18.52 KMC.

In addition, the following design requirements shall apply:

A. Relational Setback Requirements. Any proposed development within the TOD district overlay adjacent to an existing single-family zone (R-1, R-4, or R-6) shall be required to provide an interior ground-level setback of 15 feet on the side of the property facing the single-family zone, unless a larger setback is required in the underlying zone. In that event, the larger of the two setback requirements shall govern. The setback required by this subsection shall be landscaped with Type II landscaping as defined in KMC 18.35.040(B) to provide a visual buffer. [Ord. 15-0406 § 1 (Att. A).]

18.29.090 Connectivity requirements.

The TOD district overlay should remove impediments to pedestrian use of the district and the downtown area by fostering the creation of an extensive network of sidewalks and pedestrian walkways.

Development proposals within the boundaries of the TOD district overlay that elect to develop under the provisions of this chapter shall:

A. Provide any direct pedestrian connections between proposed development and transit facilities, or arterials providing transit access in order to minimize walking distances to transit.

B. Comply with the downtown design standards pertaining to pedestrian walkways, as set forth in KMC 18.52.100.

C. Properties abutting water bodies (i.e., wetlands, rivers, lakes, or streams) shall provide a public access trail paralleling the water body from one property line to the next with setbacks that are consistent with the requirements of KMC Title 16, Division I, and Chapter 18.55 KMC. The public access trail shall connect to a public right-of-way.

1. Where a development proposal abuts a property with a public access trail segment, the public access segment on the subject property shall connect to abutting property public access segment(s).

2. The public access easement for public access trails shall be documented on the face of the plat or plan and recorded with the King County Department of Records and Elections. Public access easements shall run with the land in perpetuity. [Ord. 15-0406 § 1 (Att. A).]

18.29.100 Significant tree grove retention.

A. Definitions.

1. Significant Tree Grove Definition. A “significant tree grove” shall consist of two or more trees with a minimum of five and one-half tree units total. A qualifying tree has two tree units minimum. The maximum distance measured in feet between qualifying trees shall be equal to two times the critical root zone in order to be defined as a significant tree grove. For example a 24-inch d.b.h. tree must be within 24 feet of another tree in the grove to be included in the significant tree grove. A tree of any size that is topped or considered a “hazard tree” as defined in KMC 18.20.3084 may not qualify as part of a significant tree grove as herein defined. For purposes of this chapter, a significant tree grove may not contain trees that are located within a critical area or critical area buffer protected under Chapter 18.55 KMC. A significant tree grove is not the same as a “grove,” as defined in KMC 18.20.1273.

2. Tree Units. See KMC 18.57.060(A) for translation of diameter at breast height (d.b.h.) to tree units.

B. Applicability.

1. If the underlying zone within the TOD district overlay requires tree retention as provided in Chapter 18.57 KMC, then the provisions of Chapter 18.57 KMC shall be retained. If Chapter 18.57 KMC exempts a property from tree retention then it shall remain exempt.

2. Development proposals within the boundaries of the TOD district overlay that elect to develop under the provisions of this chapter shall be eligible to benefit from providing less parking or more dwelling units or any combination of the two if the development retains one or more significant tree grove(s) as defined in this section in perpetuity. A development may be able to benefit from both reduced parking and additional dwelling units by preserving a significant tree grove so long as the same tree credits are not counted towards both reductions in parking and additional bonus dwellings. Trees or groves retained through the provision of Chapter 18.57 KMC may count towards the significant tree grove retention if they meet the definitions found in subsection A of this section.

3. Tree on Property Line. In instances where one or more trees that would qualify as part of a significant tree grove is located on a property line such that the tree is on more than one property, and the properties are in separate ownerships, the tree shall qualify to be counted as part of a separate tree grove by each property owner.

C. Reduced Parking. In order to retain qualifying significant tree groves, required parking may be reduced at the maximum rate of one stall per each five and one-half tree units. Parking quantities may be reduced up to a maximum of 20 percent from the parking requirement after other reductions are applied, if any.

D. Residential Bonus Units. In order to retain qualifying significant tree groves, residential units are offered at the rate of one bonus unit per each 11 tree units preserved. Grove bonus units are not included in maximum unit density calculations. Grove bonus units are not subject to the affordability requirements of KMC 18.29.060.

E. Significant Tree Grove Preservation Requirements.

1. Tree Protection Plan Required. A tree protection plan as identified in KMC 18.57.050 shall be required for any development application proposing to protect one or more significant tree groves through this section.

2. Recorded on Title. The map of significant tree groves preserved through this section, along with a covenant preventing removal, shall be recorded and shown on the property title.

3. Subject to Tree Protection Measures of Chapter 18.57 KMC. Significant tree groves protected under this section shall be subject to the tree protection measures during construction found in KMC 18.57.090, the post-construction replacement, financial guarantee, and maintenance requirements of KMC 18.57.100, and the penalties and enforcement of KMC 18.57.110. [Ord. 15-0406 § 1 (Att. A).]