Tuesday, September 20, 2016, 9:30 – 11:30 AM
The City Council’s Planning, Land Use and Zoning (PLUZ) Committee will hold a Public Hearing to take comments on the Mayor’s proposed amendments to the Living Building Pilot Program. The hearing will be held in the City Council Chambers at City Hall: 600 Fourth Avenue, 2nd Floor, Seattle, WA 98104.
The Mayor’s proposal would undermine the intent of the Living Building Pilot Program to encourage the development of sustainable “green” buildings. Consider the List of Concerns below excerpted from comments by WCC member Lee Raaen on September 8 and September 14. If you can attend and make public comment, please do so! We expect each person to get two minutes or less to testify. It helps to prepare and to keep your comments clear and focused. You can also write all the City Council members with the addresses at Contacting City Officials before the hearing.
List of Concerns
The Mayor’s proposed changes to the Living Building Pilot Program of primary concern include:
- The broad purpose statement for the Pilot Program referring to the goals of the International Living Future Institute (ILFI) Living Building Challenge is deleted, setting the stage for much lower environmental standards.
- They limit Design Review Board discretion regarding departures to those concerning such things as accessory uses that directly address Pilot Program requirements, parking, and standards for storage of solid-waste containers.
- Increases in FAR and height limits are granted as a matter of right by the Director and no longer as departures to be considered by a Design Review Board in relation to Living Building goals and design guidelines. Building height and FAR are removed from Design Review jurisdiction.
- They grant a structure height bonus of up to 10 feet in zones with height limits up to 85 feet. A bonus of 20 feet in height is granted for projects in areas with height limits of over 85 feet.
- They repeal the provision that additional structure height allowed under the program cannot be used to add an additional story.
- They add a provision that the extra floor area or structure height available under the Living Building Pilot Program shall be in addition to any bonus, extra, or otherwise additional floor area or structure height available according to any other provision of the Land Use Code.
- They add a provision that the extra floor area or structure height granted under the Living Building Pilot Program shall be excluded for the purposes of calculating performance or payment amounts under the affordable housing requirements of MHA-C and MHA-R.
- They add a provision that a project qualifying under the Living Building Pilot Program not taking extra floor area or structure height shall still have their MHA performance or payment amounts reduced by excluding a portion of the structure height and FAR from MHA computations, and shall also be exempt from satisfying any non-housing related requirements for obtaining bonuses, extra, or otherwise additional floor area or structure height allowed under MHA or the downtown low income residential zoning ordinance.
- They provide for an additional FAR bonus for residential development in downtown or Seattle Mixed zones.
- They cut in half the maximum penalty for noncompliance with the Living Building Pilot Program to five percent of the construction value in the building permit based on the extent of noncompliance with Pilot Program standards, and eliminate the one percent minimum penalty. The “extent of noncompliance” loophole is expanded by elimination of a minimum penalty.