Chapter 18.21
AFFORDABLE HOUSING

Sections:

18.21.010    Purpose and intent.

18.21.020    Definitions.

18.21.030    Affordable housing programs.

18.21.040    General affordable housing requirements.

18.21.050    Affordable housing agreement.

18.21.060    Alternative compliance.

18.21.070    Affordable housing – Urban Core and Central Issaquah incentives.

18.21.010 Purpose and intent.

The purpose of this chapter is to implement the goals and policies adopted in the Comprehensive Plan to provide housing opportunities for all economic groups. It is also the purpose of this chapter to:

A.    Ensure a portion of the housing provided in the City is affordable housing;

B.    Create an affordable housing program that may be used with other local housing incentives authorized by the City Council, such as a multifamily tax exemption program, and other public and private resources to promote affordable housing;

C.    Use increased development capacity in certain zones, including the urban core, to create voluntary and/or mandatory programs for affordable housing. (Ord. 2664 § 3 (Exh. A2), 2012).

18.21.020 Definitions.

Certain words, terms and phrases used in this chapter of the Issaquah Land Use Code are defined below. If any of these definitions conflict with definitions used in other chapters of the Municipal Code, the definitions herein shall prevail when used in the context of this chapter. Other terms used in this chapter may be defined in Chapter 18.02 IMC.

A.    Affordable Housing: A dwelling unit reserved for occupancy by eligible households and having housing expenses no greater than thirty (30) percent of a given percent of the King County median household income, adjusted for household size, as follows:

Low income affordable housing: Renter-occupied housing affordable to a household earning fifty (50) percent of the King County median income, adjusted for household size, or owner-occupied housing affordable to a household earning sixty (60) percent of King County median income, adjusted for household size.

Low-moderate income affordable housing: Renter-occupied housing affordable to a household earning sixty (60) percent of the King County median income, adjusted for household size, or owner-occupied housing affordable to a household earning seventy (70) percent of King County median income, adjusted for household size.

Mid-moderate income affordable housing: Renter-occupied housing affordable to a household earning seventy (70) percent of the King County median income, adjusted for household size, or owner-occupied housing affordable to a household earning eighty (80) percent of King County median income, adjusted for household size.

Moderate income affordable housing: Renter-occupied housing affordable to a household earning eighty (80) percent of the King County median income, adjusted for household size, or owner-occupied housing affordable to a household earning ninety (90) percent of 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 in this chapter, 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.

“King County median income” means the median income for the Seattle-Bellevue, WA HUD Metro FMR Area (King County) as most recently determined by the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) under Section 8(f)(3) of the United States Housing Act of 1937, as amended. In the event such income determination is no longer published by HUD, the City may use or develop such other reasonable method as it may choose in order to determine the King County median income.

B.    Household Income: Includes all income that would be included as income for federal income tax purposes (e.g. wages, interest income, etc.) from all household members over the age of eighteen (18) that reside in the dwelling unit for more than three (3) months of the year.

C.    Housing Expenses, Ownership Housing: Includes mortgage and mortgage insurance, property taxes, property insurances and homeowner’s dues.

D.    Housing Expenses, Rental Housing: Includes rent and appropriate utility allowance.

E.    Median Income: The median income for the Seattle MSA as most recently determined by the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) under Section 8(f)(3) of the United States Housing Act of 1937, as amended. In the event that HUD no longer publishes median income figures for the Seattle MSA or King County, the Director may estimate the King County median income, adjusted for household size in such manner as the Director shall determine.

F.    Housing Receiving Site: The off-site location of affordable housing required of a sending site.

G.    Housing Sending Site: The location of the project triggering affordable housing requirements. (Ord. 2832 § 2 (Exh. A), 2018; Ord. 2746 § 6 (Exh. C), 2015; Ord. 2664 § 3 (Exh. A2), 2012).

18.21.030 Affordable housing programs.

The following provisions shall apply to all affordable housing units required by, or allowed through, any provisions of the Issaquah Municipal Code:

A.    The City provides various incentives and other public resources to promote affordable housing. Specific regulations providing for affordable housing are described below:

Location

Use

Targeted Affordability Level *

Mandatory or Voluntary Program

Applicable Code Section

Central Issaquah: Urban Core; Vertical Mixed Use Overlay; and Mixed Use Zone

Residential

Low Income to Mid-Moderate Income Affordable Housing

Mandatory

Chapter 4.0, Zoning Districts, Uses and Standards Summary, Central Issaquah Development Standards, Chapter 18.21 IMC, Affordable Housing

Commercial

None

NA

None

Central Issaquah Density Bonus

Residential

Low Income Affordable Housing or Density Bonus Fee

Voluntary

Chapter 5.0, Density Bonus Program, Central Issaquah Development Standards

Commercial

Density Bonus Fee

Voluntary

Chapter 5.0, Density Bonus Program, Central Issaquah Development Standards

Development Agreement with Affordable Housing Provisions

Terms of the Development Agreement

* Refer to applicable code section to see if alternative affordability levels are allowed.

B.    Any affordable housing units created through the provisions described in this section shall also comply with the provisions of IMC 18.21.040 and 18.21.050, unless otherwise specifically exempted or addressed by the applicable code section for specific incentive programs. (Ord. 2832 § 2 (Exh. A), 2018; Ord. 2664 § 3 (Exh. A2), 2012).

18.21.040 General affordable housing requirements.

The following provisions shall apply to all affordable housing units required by, or created through, any incentive established in the Issaquah Municipal Code unless otherwise specifically exempted or addressed by the applicable code section for specific affordable housing programs or by the provisions of an approved development agreement:

A.    Duration: Affordable housing units shall remain affordable for a minimum of fifty (50) years from the date of initial owner occupancy for ownership affordable housing and for the life of the project for rental affordable housing. At the sole discretion of the Director a shorter affordability time period, not to be less than thirty (30) years, may be approved for ownership affordable housing units in order to meet federal financial underwriting guidelines.

B.    Designation of Affordable Housing Units: The Director shall review and approve the location and unit mix of the affordable housing units, consistent with the following standards, prior to the issuance of any building permit:

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

2.    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.

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

4.    Size (Square Footage): Affordable housing units shall be the same size as market housing units with the same number of bedrooms unless approved by the Director. The Director may approve smaller units when: (a) the size of the affordable housing is at least ninety (90) percent of the size of the market housing in the project with the same number of bedrooms; and (b) the affordable units are not less than five hundred (500) square feet for a studio unit, six hundred (600) square feet for a one (1) bedroom unit, eight hundred (800) square feet for a two (2) bedroom unit and one thousand (1,000) square feet for a three (3) bedroom unit.

C.    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 unless the requirements of this section are met through IMC 18.21.060, Alternative compliance. The affordable housing agreement provided for in IMC 18.21.050 shall include provisions describing the phasing of the construction of the affordable units relative to construction of the overall development. If the development is phased, the construction of the affordable units shall be interspersed with the construction of the overall development.

D.    Development Standards:

1.    Off-Street Parking: Off-street parking shall be provided for the affordable housing units consistent with Chapter 18.09 IMC and Chapters 8.0 and 15.0 of the Central Issaquah Development Standards unless reduced by the Director in accordance with IMC 18.09.060 or Section 8.19 of the Central Issaquah Development Standards.

2.    Recreation Space: The recreation/open space requirements for the affordable housing units shall be calculated at fifty (50) percent of the rate required for market housing.

E.    Depending on the level of affordability provided the affordable housing units may be eligible for the impact fee waivers as provided in IMC 3.63.030(B), 3.71.040(A), 3.72.040(A) and 3.73.040(A).

F.    In the event of a fractional affordable housing unit, payment in lieu is allowed for the fractional unit. (Ord. 2664 § 3 (Exh. A2), 2012).

18.21.050 Affordable housing agreement.

A.    An affordable housing agreement shall be recorded with the King County Department of Records and Elections prior to the issuance of a building permit for any development providing affordable housing pursuant to the requirements or incentives of the Issaquah Municipal Code.

B.    The recorded agreement shall be a covenant running with the land and shall be binding on the assigns, heirs and successors of the applicant.

C.    The agreement shall be in a form approved by the Director and the City Attorney and shall address price restrictions, homebuyer or tenant qualifications, affordability duration, phasing of construction, monitoring of affordability and any other topics related to the provision of the affordable housing units.

D.    The agreement may, at the sole discretion of the City, establish a monitoring fee for the affordable units. The fee shall cover the costs to the City to review and process documents to maintain compliance with income and affordability restrictions of the agreement.

E.    The City may, at its sole discretion, agree to subordinate any affordable housing regulatory agreement for the purpose of enabling the owner to obtain financing for development of the property. (Ord. 2664 § 3 (Exh. A2), 2012).

18.21.060 Alternative compliance.

A.    The City’s priority is for residential and mixed use developments to provide the affordable housing on site. The Director, at his/her discretion, may approve a request for satisfying all or part of a project’s on-site affordable housing with alternative compliance methods proposed by the applicant. Any request for alternative compliance shall be submitted at the time of application and must be approved prior to issuance of any building permit. Any alternative compliance must achieve a result equal to or better than providing affordable housing on site.

B.    Any request for alternative compliance shall:

1.    Include a written application specifying:

a.    The location, type and amount of affordable housing; and

b.    The schedule for construction and occupancy;

2.    If an off-site location is proposed, the application shall document that the proposed location:

a.    Is in the same neighborhood planning area as the project triggering the affordable housing requirements or the proposed location is equal to or better than providing the housing on site or in the same neighborhood;

b.    Is in close proximity to commercial uses, transit and/or employment opportunities; and

c.    Will not lead to an undue concentration of affordable housing in any particular area of the City;

3.    Document that the off-site units will be the same type and tenure as if the units were provided on site; and

4.    Include a written agreement, signed by the applicant, to record a covenant on the housing sending and housing receiving sites prior to the issuance of any construction permit for the housing sending site. The covenants shall describe the construction schedule for the off-site affordable housing and provide sufficient security from the applicant to compensate the City in the event the applicant fails to provide the affordable housing per the covenants and the Issaquah Municipal Code. The intent is for the affordable housing units to be provided before, or at the same time as, the on-site market housing. The applicant may request release of the covenant on the housing sending site once a certificate of occupancy has been issued for the affordable housing on the housing receiving site. (Ord. 2664 § 3 (Exh. A2), 2012).

18.21.070 Affordable housing – Urban Core and Central Issaquah incentives.

A.    All multifamily and mixed use development that includes residential uses in the Central Issaquah Urban Core, and not within the Vertical Mixed Use Overlay, shall provide not less than twelve and one-half (12.5) percent of the residential units for low-moderate income affordable housing for that portion of development permitted by the base density FAR. Alternatively, ten (10) percent of the residential units can be provided as low income affordable housing for that portion of development permitted by the base density FAR. All multifamily and mixed use development in the Urban Core participating in the density bonus program (Central Issaquah Development Standards Chapter 5.0) shall meet the provisions of that chapter, including the affordable housing requirements.

B.    All multifamily and mixed use development that includes residential uses in the Central Issaquah Vertical Mixed Use Overlay within the Urban Core shall provide not less than fifteen (15) percent of the residential units as affordable housing for that portion of development permitted by the base density FAR consisting of a mix of ten (10) percent mid-moderate income affordable housing, and five (5) percent low income affordable housing. Alternatively, ten (10) percent of the residential units can be provided as low income affordable housing for that portion of development permitted by the base density FAR. All multifamily and mixed use development in the Vertical Mixed Use Overlay participating in the density bonus program (Central Issaquah Development Standards Chapter 5.0) shall meet the provisions of that chapter, including the affordable housing requirements.

C.    All multifamily and mixed use development that includes residential uses within Central Issaquah’s Mixed Use zoning district, outside the Central Issaquah Urban Core, shall provide not less than seven and one-half (7.5) percent of the residential units as mid-moderate income affordable housing for that portion of development permitted by the base density FAR. Alternatively, five (5) percent of the residential units can be provided as low-moderate income affordable housing for that portion of development permitted by the base density FAR.

D.    Alternative housing at affordability levels specified in subsections A, B and C of this section may be provided if it is determined by the Director to provide a comparable level of overall affordability, such as providing fewer units that are low income affordable housing. (Ord. 2832 § 2 (Exh. A), 2018; Ord. 2664 § 3 (Exh. A2), 2012).