Chapter 112 – AFFORDABLE HOUSING INCENTIVES – MULTIFAMILY

Sections:

112.05    User Guide

112.10    Purpose

112.15    Affordable Housing Requirement

112.20    Basic Affordable Housing Incentives

112.25    Additional Affordable Housing Incentives

112.30    Alternative Compliance

112.35    Affordability Provisions

112.40    Regulatory Review and Evaluation

112.05 User Guide

This chapter offers dimensional standard flexibility and density and economic incentives to encourage construction of affordable housing units in commercial zones, high density residential zones, medium density zones and office zones.

If you are interested in proposing four (4) more residential units in commercial zones, high density residential zones, medium density zones or office zones, or you wish to participate in the City’s decision on such a project, you should read this chapter.

(Ord. 4392 § 1, 2012; Ord. 4222 § 1, 2009; Ord. 3938 § 1, 2004)

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112.10 Purpose

There is a limited stock of land within the City zoned and available for residential development and there is a demonstrated need in the City for housing which is affordable to persons of low and moderate income. Therefore, this chapter provides development incentives in exchange for the public benefit of providing affordable housing units in commercial zones, high density residential zones, medium density zones and office zones.

(Ord. 4392 § 1, 2012; Ord. 4222 § 1, 2009; Ord. 3938 § 1, 2004)

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112.15 Affordable Housing Requirement

1.    Applicability –

a.    Minimum Requirement – All developments creating four (4) or more new dwelling units in commercial, high density residential, medium density and office zones shall provide at least 10 percent of the units as affordable housing units and comply with the provisions of this chapter as established in the General Regulations or the Special Regulations for the specific use in Chapters 15 through 56 KZC. This subsection is not effective within the disapproval jurisdiction of the Houghton Community Council.

b.    Voluntary Use – All other provisions of this chapter are available for use within the disapproval jurisdiction of the Houghton Community Council and in developments where the minimum requirement does not apply; provided, however, the provisions of this chapter are not available for use in developments located within the BN zone.

2.    Calculation in Density-Limited Zones – For developments in density-limited zones, the required amount of affordable housing shall be calculated based on the number of dwelling units proposed prior to the addition of any bonus units allowed pursuant to KZC 112.20.

3.    Calculation in CBD 5A, RH, TL and PLA 5C Zones – For developments in the CBD 5A, RH, TL and PLA 5C Zones, the required amount of affordable housing shall be calculated based on the total number of dwelling units proposed.

4.    Rounding and Alternative Compliance – In all zones, the number of affordable housing units required is determined by rounding up to the next whole number of units if the fraction of the whole number is at least 0.66. KZC 112.30 establishes methods for alternative compliance, including payment in lieu of construction for portions of required affordable housing units that are less than 0.66 units.

(Ord. 4476 § 3, 2015; Ord. 4474 § 1, 2015; Ord. 4392 § 1, 2012; Ord. 4390 § 1, 2012; Ord. 4337 § 1, 2011; Ord. 4286 § 1, 2011; Ord. 4222 § 1, 2009; Ord. 3938 § 1, 2004)

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112.20 Basic Affordable Housing Incentives

1.    Approval Process – The City will use the underlying permit process to review and decide upon an application utilizing the affordable housing incentives identified in this section.

2.    Bonus

a.    Height Bonus. In RH, PLA 5C, and TL use zones where there is no minimum lot size per dwelling unit, additional building height has been granted in exchange for affordable housing, as reflected in each Use Zone Chart for the RH and TL zones and table for the PLA 5C zone.

b.    Development Capacity Bonus. On lots or portions of lots in the RH 8 use zone located more than 120 feet north of NE 85th Street, between 132nd Avenue NE and parcels abutting 131st Avenue NE, and in the CBD 5A use zone where there is no minimum lot size per dwelling unit, additional residential development capacity has been granted in exchange for affordable housing as reflected in the Use Zone Chart.

c.    Bonus Units. In use zones where the number of dwelling units allowed on the subject property is determined by dividing the lot size by the required minimum lot area per unit, two (2) additional units (“bonus units”) may be constructed for each affordable housing unit provided. (See Plate 32 for example of bonus unit calculations.)

d.    Maximum Unit Bonuses. The maximum number of bonus units achieved through a basic affordable housing incentive shall be 25 percent of the number of units allowed based on the underlying zone of the subject property.

e.    Density Bonus for Assisted Living Facilities. The affordable housing density bonus may be used for assisted living facilities to the extent that the bonus for affordable housing may not exceed 25 percent of the base density of the underlying zone of the subject property.

3.    Alternative Affordability Levels – An applicant may propose affordability levels different from those defined in Chapter 5 KZC for the affordable housing units.

a.    In use zones where a density bonus is provided in exchange for affordable housing units, the ratio of bonus units per affordable housing unit for alternative affordability levels will be as follows:

Affordability Level

Bonus Unit to Affordable Unit Ratio

Renter-Occupied Housing

 

60% of median income

1.9 to 1

70% of median income

1.8 to 1

Owner-Occupied Housing

 

90% of median income

2.1 to 1

80% of median income

2.2 to 1

b.    In the CBD 5A, RH, TL and PLA 5C use zones, the percent of affordable units required for alternative affordability levels will be as follows:

Affordability Level

% of Project Units Required to Be Affordable

Renter-Occupied Housing

 

60% of median income

13%

70% of median income

17%

Owner-Occupied Housing

 

70% of median income

8%

90% of median income

13%

100% of median income

21%

c.    To encourage “pioneer developments” in the Rose Hill and Totem Lake business districts, the definition of affordable housing for projects in the RH and TL zones shall be as provided in the following table. This subsection shall apply only to those projects which meet the affordability requirements on site or off site. This subsection shall not apply to those projects which elect to use a payment in lieu of constructing affordable units as authorized in KZC 112.30(4).

The affordable housing requirements for projects vested on or after the effective date of the ordinance codified in this section must be targeted for households whose incomes do not exceed the following:

Number of Total Units

Affordability Level

RH Zones

TL Zones

Renter-Occupied

Owner-Occupied

First 50 units

First 150 units

70% of median income

100% of median income

Second 50 units

Second 150 units

60% of median income

90% of median income

All subsequent units

All subsequent units

50% of median income

80% of median income

“Number of Total Units” shall mean the total number of housing units (affordable and otherwise) permitted to be constructed within the RH and TL zones where affordable housing units are required and which have not received funding from public sources.

d.    Depending on the level of affordability provided, the affordable housing units may not be eligible for the impact fee waivers described in subsections (5)(a) and (5)(b) of this section.

4.    Dimensional Standards Modification – To the extent necessary to accommodate the bonus units allowed under subsection (2)(c) of this section on site, the following requirements of the Kirkland Zoning Code may be modified through the procedures outlined in this subsection. These modifications may not be used to accommodate the units resulting from the base density calculation.

a.    Maximum Lot Coverage. The maximum lot coverage may be increased by up to five (5) percentage points over the maximum lot coverage permitted by the underlying use zone. Maximum lot coverage may not be modified through this provision on properties with streams, wetlands, minor lakes or their buffers. In addition, this modification would require a shoreline variance as set forth in Chapter 141 KZC for properties within jurisdiction of the Shoreline Management Act. See Chapter 83 KZC.

b.    Parking Requirement. The required parking may be reduced to 1.0 space per affordable housing unit. No additional guest parking is required for affordable housing units. If parking is reduced through this provision, the owner of the affordable housing unit shall sign a covenant, in a form acceptable to the City Attorney, restricting the occupants of each affordable housing unit to a maximum of one (1) automobile.

c.    Structure Height. Maximum height for structures containing affordable housing units may be increased by up to six (6) feet for those portions of the structure(s) that are at least 20 feet from all property lines. Maximum structure height may not be modified through this provision for any portion of a structure that is adjoining a low density zone. This modification may be permitted or may require a shoreline variance as set forth in Chapter 141 KZC for properties within jurisdiction of the Shoreline Management Act. See Chapter 83 KZC.

d.    Required Yards. Structures containing affordable housing units may encroach up to five (5) feet into any required yard except that in no case shall a remaining required yard be less than five (5) feet. A modification to the shoreline setback would require a shoreline variance set forth in Chapter 141 KZC for properties within jurisdiction of the Shoreline Management Act. See Chapter 83 KZC.

e.    Common Recreational Space. Common recreational open space per unit, when required, may be reduced by 50 square feet per affordable housing unit.

5.    Impact Fee and Permit Fee Calculation

a.    Applicants providing affordable housing units may request an exemption from payment of road impact fees for the affordable housing units as established by KMC 27.04.050.

b.    Applicants providing affordable housing units may request an exemption from payment of park impact fees for the affordable housing units as established by KMC 27.06.050.

c.    Applicants providing affordable housing units are eligible for exemption from various planning, building, plumbing, mechanical and electrical permit fees for the bonus units allowed under subsection (2)(c) of this section as established in KMC 5.74.070 and KMC Title 21.

6.    Property Tax Exemption – A property providing affordable housing units may be eligible for a property tax exemption as established in Chapter 5.88 KMC.

(Ord. 4498 § 3, 2015; Ord. 4476 § 3, 2015; Ord. 4474 § 1, 2015; Ord. 4337 § 1, 2011; Ord. 4252 § 1, 2010; Ord. 4222 § 1, 2009; Ord. 3938 § 1, 2004)

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112.25 Additional Affordable Housing Incentives

1.     Approval Process for Additional Affordable Housing Incentives – An applicant may request that the City grant affordable housing incentives in addition to or in place of the basic affordable housing incentives allowed in KZC 112.20 due to specific site conditions. Such a request shall be reviewed and decided upon as outlined below.

2.    Density Bonus – An applicant may propose more than two (2) bonus units for every affordable housing unit or a density bonus exceeding 25 percent of the number of units allowed in the underlying zone of the subject property. However, in no event may a project receive a bonus that would result in a number of bonus units that exceeds 50 percent of the number of units allowed based on the underlying zone of the subject property. Such a request shall be reviewed and decided upon by the Planning Director. The decision of the Planning Director in approving or denying a modification under this subsection may be appealed using the appeal provision, as applicable, of Process I, KZC 145.60 through 145.110.

3.    Dimensional Standards Modification – An applicant may request further modification from the dimensional standards listed in KZC 112.20(4). Approval of any further modification of the dimensional standards will be based on the applicant’s demonstration that the subject property cannot reasonably achieve the permitted density, including the bonus units. Such a request shall be reviewed and decided upon using Process I, described in Chapter 145 KZC. If the development, use, or activity requires approval through Process IIA or IIB, the entire proposal will be decided upon using that other process.

4.    Criteria for Approving Additional Affordable Housing Incentives – The City may approve one (1) or more of the additional affordable housing incentives listed in subsection (2) or (3) of this section, in addition to or in place of the basic affordable housing incentives, if one (1) or more of the following requirements are met:

a.    The additional incentive is necessary to provide sufficient economic incentive to the applicant to offset the cost of providing the affordable housing units.

b.    The additional incentive is necessary to reasonably achieve the permitted density, including the bonus units.

c.    The additional incentive is necessary to achieve a greater number of affordable housing units than the affordable housing requirements would prescribe or a greater level of affordability than is defined by the term affordable housing unit.

    In making its decision on additional incentives, the City will consider the value of any property tax exemptions available to the project from the City as established in Chapter 5.88 KMC, as well as other fee waivers or reductions as established in the Kirkland Municipal Code.

(Ord. 4286 § 1, 2011; Ord. 4222 § 1, 2009; Ord. 3938 § 1, 2004)

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112.30 Alternative Compliance

1.    Approval Process for Alternative Compliance – As an alternative to providing some or all of the required affordable housing units on the subject property, the Planning Director may approve a request for alternative compliance. Alternative compliance may include providing affordable housing units at another location within the City of Kirkland, payment to the City in lieu of constructing partial affordable housing units to be used to create affordable housing units, or such other means proposed by the applicant and approved at the discretion of the Planning Director, consistent with the following criteria for alternative compliance.

2.    Criteria for Alternative Compliance – The City may approve a request for alternative compliance if both of the following requirements are met:

a.    The applicant demonstrates that the proposed alternative compliance method achieves an affordable housing benefit to the City equal to or better than providing the affordable housing units on site.

b.    The affordable housing units provided through the alternative compliance will be based on providing the same type of ownership of units as would have been provided on site.

3.    Requirements for Off-Site Alternative Compliance – Off-site affordable housing units are subject to the following requirements:

a.    The off-site location chosen for the affordable housing units shall not lead to an undue concentration of affordable housing either at the off-site location or in any particular area of the City.

b.    Any building permits required for off-site affordable housing units shall be submitted prior to submittal of building permits for the subject property. Certificates of occupancy for off-site affordable housing units shall be issued prior to issuance of the final certificate of occupancy for the subject property.

4.    Requirements for Payment in Lieu Alternative Compliance – Payments in lieu of constructing affordable housing units are subject to the following requirements:

a.    To encourage “pioneer developments” subject to these regulations, payments in lieu are allowed for one (1) whole required affordable housing unit and portions of required affordable housing units that are less than 0.66 units during the five (5) years immediately following the effective date of the ordinance codified in this chapter (until April 1, 2015). After that time period, payments in lieu are allowed only for portions of required affordable housing units that are less than 0.66 units. Rounding up to the next whole number of units and actual construction of the affordable units is required when the calculated number of required affordable units results in a fraction of 0.66 or more.

b.    Payments in lieu shall be based on the difference between the cost of construction for a prototype affordable housing unit on the subject property, including land costs and development fees, and the revenue generated by an affordable housing unit. The formula for payments shall be established by the Planning Director.

c.    The payment obligation shall be established prior to issuance of any building permits for the project and shall be due prior to issuance of any certificate of occupancy for the project. Collected payments shall be deposited in the City’s Housing Trust Fund account.

(Ord. 4222 § 1, 2009; Ord. 3938 § 1, 2004)

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112.35 Affordability Provisions

1.    Approval 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.    The affordable housing units shall be intermingled with all other dwelling units in the development.

b.    The type of ownership of the affordable housing units shall be the same as the type of ownership for the rest of the housing units in the development.

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

d.    The size of the affordable housing units, if smaller than the other units with the same number of bedrooms in the development, must be approved by the Planning Director. In no case shall the affordable housing units be more than 10 percent smaller than the comparable dwelling units in the development, based on number of bedrooms, or less than 500 square feet for a 1-bedroom unit, 700 square feet for a 2-bedroom unit, or 900 square feet for a 3-bedroom unit, whichever is less.

e.    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.

f.    The exterior design of the affordable housing units must be compatible and comparable with the rest of the dwelling units in the development.

g.    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 of Kirkland.

2.    Affordability Agreement – Prior to issuing a certificate of occupancy, an agreement in a form acceptable to the City Attorney that addresses price restrictions, homebuyer or tenant qualifications, long-term affordability, and any other applicable topics of the affordable housing units shall be recorded with King County Recorder’s Office. This agreement shall be a covenant running with the land and shall be binding on the assigns, heirs and successors of the applicant.

Affordable housing units that are provided under this section shall remain as affordable housing for a minimum of 50 years from the date of initial owner occupancy for ownership affordable housing units and for the life of the project for rental affordable housing units.

(Ord. 4491 § 11, 2015; Ord. 4222 § 1, 2009; Ord. 3938 § 1, 2004)

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112.40 Regulatory Review and Evaluation

At least every two (2) years, the Planning and Building Department shall submit a report that tracks the use of these regulations to the Houghton Community Council, Planning Commission and City Council.

(Ord. 4491 § 3, 2015; Ord. 4222 § 1, 2009; Ord. 3938 § 1, 2004)

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