Chapter 18.34
GENERAL PROVISIONS – RESIDENTIAL DENSITY INCENTIVES

Sections:

18.34.010    Purpose.

18.34.020    Permitted locations of residential density incentives.

18.34.030    Maximum densities permitted through residential density incentive review.

18.34.040    Public benefits and density incentives.

18.34.050    Rules for calculating total permitted dwelling units.

18.34.060    Review process.

18.34.070    Minor adjustments in final site plans.

18.34.080    Applicability of development standards.

18.34.010 Purpose.

The purpose of this chapter is to provide density incentives to developers of residential lands in exchange for public benefits to help achieve comprehensive plan goals of affordable housing, open space protection, historic preservation, energy conservation, and preservation of natural systems by:

A. Defining in quantified terms the public benefits that can be used to earn density incentives;

B. Providing rules and formulae for computing density incentives earned by each benefit;

C. Providing a method to realize the development potential of sites containing unique features of size, topography, environmental features or shape; and

D. Providing a review process to allow evaluation of proposed density increases and the public benefits offered to earn them, and to give the public opportunities to review and comment. (Ord. 2009-417 § 2 (Att. 1); Ord. 45 § 1, 1994; Ord. 18 § 1, 1994).

18.34.020 Permitted locations of residential density incentives.

Residential density incentives (RDI) shall be used only on sites served by public sewers and only in the following zones:

A. In R-1 through R-24 zones, unless the zone is located within the CBC overlay zone;

B. In the NB zone; and

C. Within the CBC overlay zone, Chapter 18.36 NMC applies. (Ord. 2007-364 § 2; Ord. 2000-210 § 60; Ord. 45 § 1, 1994; Ord. 18 § 1, 1994).

18.34.030 Maximum densities permitted through residential density incentive review.

The maximum density permitted through RDI review shall be 125 percent of the base density of the underlying zone of the development site or 150 percent of the base density for RDI proposals with 100 percent affordable units. (Ord. 45 § 1, 1994; Ord. 18 § 1, 1994).

18.34.040 Public benefits and density incentives.

A. The public benefits eligible to earn increased densities, and the maximum incentive to be earned by each benefit, are set forth in subsection (F) of this section. The density incentive is expressed as additional bonus dwelling units (or fractions of dwelling units) earned per amount of public benefit provided.

B. Bonus dwelling units may be earned through any combination of the listed public benefits.

C. Any affordable housing unit resulting from the provisions of this chapter must comply with the provisions of NMC 18.38.010, 18.38.040, and 18.38.050, as may be amended by the city, except for those sections specifically exempted by this chapter.

D. Bonus dwelling units may also be earned and transferred to the project site through the transfer of density credit (TDC) process set forth in Chapter 18.36 NMC by providing any of the open space, park site or historic preservation public benefits set forth in subsection (F)(2) or (3) of this section on sites other than that of the RDI development.

E. Residential development in R-1 through R-24 zones with property specific development standards requiring any public benefit enumerated in this chapter shall be eligible to earn bonus dwelling units as set forth in subsection (F) of this section when the public benefits provided exceed the basic development standards of this title. When a development is located in a special overlay district, bonus units may be earned if the development provides public benefits exceeding corresponding standards of the special district.

F. The following are the public benefits eligible to earn density incentives through RDI review:

BENEFIT

DENSITY INCENTIVE

1. AFFORDABLE HOUSING

a. Benefit units consisting of low income affordable rental housing priced to be affordable to low income households.

1.5 bonus units per benefit unit.

b. Benefit units consisting of senior citizen assisted housing units, 600 square feet or less.

1 bonus unit per benefit unit.

c. Benefit units consisting of moderate income ownership housing priced to be affordable to moderate income home buyers.

1.5 bonus units per benefit unit.

2. OPEN SPACE, TRAILS AND PARKS

a. Dedication of park site or trail right-of-way meeting the city location and size standards for neighborhood, community or regional park, or trail, and accepted by the city.

0.5 bonus unit per acre of park area or quarter-mile of trail exceeding the minimum requirement of Chapter 18.14 NMC for on-site recreation space or trail corridors, computed on the number of dwelling units permitted by the site’s base density.

b. Improvement of dedicated park site to the city standards for developed parks.

0.75 bonus unit per acre of park improvement. If the applicant is dedicating the site of the improvements, the bonus units earned by improvements shall be added to the bonus units earned by the dedication.

c. Improvement of dedicated trail segment to the city standards.

1.8 bonus units per quarter-mile of trail constructed to city standard for pedestrian trails; or

 

2.5 bonus units per quarter-mile of trail constructed to city standard for multipurpose trails (pedestrian/ bicycle/equestrian).

 

Shorter segments shall be awarded bonus units on a pro rata basis. If the applicant is dedicating the site of the improvements, the bonus units earned by improvements shall be added to the bonus units earned by the dedication.

d. Dedication of open space, meeting the city acquisition standards, to the city, county or a qualified public or private organization such as a nature conservancy, excluding the dedication of critical areas.

0.5 bonus unit per acre of open space.

3. HISTORIC PRESERVATION

a. Dedication of a site containing a historic landmark to the city or a qualifying nonprofit organization capable of restoring and/or maintaining the premises to standards set by the King County landmarks commission.

0.5 bonus unit per acre of historic site.

b. Restoration of a site or structure designated as a historic landmark into a specific architectural or site plan approved by the King County landmarks commission.

0.5 bonus unit per acre of site or 1,000 square feet of floor area of building restored.

(Ord. 2017-564 § 20; Ord. 2016-551 § 2 (Exh. 1); Ord. 2012-457 § 5; Ord. 2009-417 § 2 (Att. 1); Ord. 2005-311 § 1; Ord. 2000-210 § 61; Ord. 98-176 § 10; Ord. 45 § 1, 1994; Ord. 18 § 1, 1994).

18.34.050 Rules for calculating total permitted dwelling units.

A. The formula for calculating the total number of dwelling units permitted through RDI review is as follows:

DUs allowed by RDI site base density

+

Bonus DUs

+

DUs allowed by sending site density (if any)

=

TOTAL RDI DUs

B. The total dwelling units permitted through RDI review shall be calculated using the following steps:

1. Calculate the number of dwellings permitted by the base density of the site in accordance with Chapter 18.12 NMC;

2. Calculate the total number of bonus dwelling units earned by providing the public benefits listed in NMC 18.34.040;

3. Add the number of bonus dwelling units earned to the number of dwelling units permitted by the base density;

4. Add the number of dwelling units permitted by the base density of the site sending TDCs, if any;

5. Round fractional dwelling units to the nearest whole number; 0.49 or less dwelling units are rounded down; and

6. On sites with more than one zone or zone density, the maximum density shall be calculated for the site area of each zone. Bonus units may be reallocated within the zones in the same manner set forth for base units in NMC 18.12.190. (Ord. 2001-248 § 44; Ord. 45 § 1, 1994; Ord. 18 § 1, 1994).

18.34.060 Review process.

A. All RDI proposals shall be reviewed concurrently with a primary proposal to consider the proposed site plan and methods used to earn extra density as follows:

1. For the purpose of this chapter, a primary proposal is defined as a proposed subdivision, conditional use permit, site plan review or commercial building permit;

2. When the primary proposal requires a public hearing, the public hearing on the primary proposal shall serve as the hearing on the RDI proposal, and the reviewing authority shall make a consolidated decision on the proposed development and use of RDI;

3. When the primary proposal does not require a public hearing under this title or the city’s subdivision code, the RDI proposal shall be subject to the decision criteria for conditional use permits outlined in Chapter 18.44 NMC and to the procedures set forth for director review in this title; and

4. The notice for the RDI proposal also shall include the development’s proposed density and a general description of the public benefits offered to earn extra density.

B. RDI applications which propose to earn bonus units by dedicating real property or public facilities shall include a letter from the applicable receiving agency certifying that the proposed dedication qualifies for the density incentive and will be accepted by the agency or other qualifying organization. (Ord. 2001-247 § 7; Ord. 97-153 §§ 35, 39; Ord. 45 § 1, 1994; Ord. 18 § 1, 1994).

18.34.070 Minor adjustments in final site plans.

When issuing building permits in an approved RDI development, the department may allow minor adjustments in the approved site plan involving the location or dimensions of buildings or landscaping, provided such adjustments shall not:

A. Increase the number of dwelling units;

B. Decrease the amount of perimeter landscaping (if any);

C. Decrease residential parking facilities (unless the number of dwelling units is decreased);

D. Locate structures closer to any site boundary line; or

E. Change the locations of any points of ingress and egress to the site. (Ord. 45 § 1, 1994; Ord. 18 § 1, 1994).

18.34.080 Applicability of development standards.

A. RDI developments shall comply with dimensional standards of the zone with a base density most closely comparable to the total approved density of the RDI development, provided that an RDI proposal in the R-1 through R-8 zone shall conform to the height requirements of the underlying zone in which it is located.

B. RDI developments in the R-1 through R-8 zones shall be landscaped as follows:

1. When 75 percent or more of the units in the RDI development consists of townhomes or apartments, the development shall provide perimeter landscaping and tree retention in accordance with Chapter 18.16 NMC for townhome or apartment projects.

2. When less than 75 percent of the units in the RDI consists of townhomes or apartments, the development shall provide landscaping and tree retention in accordance with Chapter 18.16 NMC for townhomes or apartments on the portion(s) of the development containing such units provided that, if buildings containing such units are more than 100 feet from the development’s perimeter, the required landscaping may be reduced by 50 percent.

3. All other portions of the RDI shall provide landscaping or retain trees in accordance with Chapter 18.16 NMC.

C. RDI developments in all other zones shall be landscaped or retain trees in accordance with Chapter 18.16 NMC.

D. RDI developments shall provide parking as follows:

1. Projects with 100 percent affordable housing shall provide one off-street parking space per unit. The director may require additional parking, up to the maximum standards for attached dwelling units, which may be provided in common parking areas.

2. All other RDI proposals shall provide parking for:

a. Market rate/bonus units at levels consistent with Chapter 18.18 NMC; and

b. Benefit units at 50 percent of the levels required for market rate/bonus units.

E. RDI developments shall provide on-site recreation space as follows:

1. Projects with 100 percent affordable housing shall provide recreation space at the levels required in Chapter 18.14 NMC.

2. All other RDI proposals shall provide recreation space for:

a. Market rate/bonus units at levels consistent with Chapter 18.14 NMC; and

b. Benefit units at 50 percent of the levels required for market rate/bonus units. (Ord. 97-153 § 39; Ord. 45 § 1, 1994; Ord. 18 § 1, 1994).