Here, in a Q. and A. format, are some E-mail correspondences between Andrew
Taylor (MPNA) and Diane Sugimura (DCLU), which examine the various rezoning
properties for Mr. Falls' property, and the likely ramifications of them.
Questions from Andrew Taylor; answers from Diane Sugimura

1) June 8, 1998 Questions

QUESTION 1) The present NC-3 (65') and L3 (proposed NC2-40) parts of the
property are separated by an alley.

Presumably, as all the surrounding property belongs to one owner, it would
be very easy to get the alley vacated. The NC3 and NC2 properties would
then be joined: would this make it in any way easier for the owner to get
the NC2 part of the parcel upzoned to NC3-65'??

ANSWER 1) .  You note that it would probably be easy to get the alley
vacated since properties on both sides of the alley are owned by the same

This is not necessarily the case, however, it is certainly helpful to have
abutting property owners supportive!  Alleys are public transportation
rights-of-way.  Therefore, before it can be vacated, there is an analysis
of public benefit from such a vacation as well as impact on the circulation
system for the neighborhood.  I am sure there are probably other criteria
for evaluating a vacation request, but those are the ones that come to mind
most readily.

You also question - -  with the split zoning of NC3/65 and NC2/40, would it
be easier for the owner to get it all rezoned to NC3/65, I assume you mean
at some future time.

Possibly.  The change from residential to commercial is probably the
greatest leap.  Doing it as part of neighborhood planning is probably
easier than otherwise.  So, once it has been changed to commercial zoning,
the change to a more intense commercial zone is a shorter leap.  That said,
however, the rezone analysis is still based on rezone locational criteria
which describe characteristics of the area in question and the surrounding
area - - type, character and scale of development, topography, etc.

QUESTION 2) I presented the idea to the Miller Park Neighborhood Association
meeting that I went to immediately after our meeting. It was well received,
but it was suggested that the proposal be changed from NC2 to NC/R : what's
the correct designation for that: is it NC/R-40 or some such.

ANSWER 2).  You noted that the Miller Park folks suggested NC/R 40 instead.

The recommended designation would likely be either NC2/R 40 or NC3/R 40.
While I understand the recommendation, this does add to the complexity of
the development standards that would apply to the split zoned site assuming
the alley were vacated.  If it is not vacated and the properties had to be
developed separately, then the two type of zoning would not be such a

Let me try to explain the complexity issue without going into too much
detail.  Let's assume the alley is vacated and the site is to be developed
as one.  With NC3/40 and NC3/65, the only difference is the height allowed.
Therefore, the building could just step down in back.  The uses allowed and
the other development standards would be the same for both parts of the
site.  However, if the properties were zoned NC3/65 and NC3/R 40, not only
would the height vary, which is workable, but some of the development
standards are different.  I won't go into the details in this message, but
if you want more information, a meeting might be appropriate.

QUESTION 3) You've presumably seen the FAX newsletter from Brian Livingston
(the issue of "The Seattle News" headlined "Neighborhood Plans make upzones
easier unless clearly stated otherwise") and the accompanying opinion by
Bob Morgan of the City Council Central Staff (I can FAX you copies if

Are Livingston's concerns about easier upzones warranted and (if so) will
his proposed wording to be added to Neighborhood plans have the desired

ANSWER 3.  You mention the Brian Livingston newsletter on "NP make upzones
easier unless clearly stated otherwise" and the Bob Morgan memo.   You ask
if it really will be easier to upzone unless the plan says otherwise.

I don't have copies in front of me now, but I have read them. They have
conveyed one interpretation of the code.  One section (23.34.009E.2) says
that neighborhood plans ... may require height limits different than those
that would otherwise be established according to the rezone locational
criteria.  Also, when changing to L3 or L4 as part of a neighborhood plan
there is greater flexibility to upzone when such an upzone is consistent
with the densities required for the center or village even if it isn't as
consistent with existing development.  [Sections 23.34.020B.1.c. and
23.34.022B.c.]    Therefore, our interpretation is that this type of
analysis would only happen as part of a neighborhood planning process, not
later as a regular rezone.


June 8 message:

Miller Park folks now suggest NC/R 30' to have the height consistent with
the L3 height across the street to the north.

The same comments above would generally apply.   However, a property split
between 65' and 30' would have a more significant stepping down required on
the north side of the building!

June 12:

QUESTION:  If all of the Falls' property was upzoned to NC3-65', would
there be any constraints on height/setbacks etc for the part that would be
adjacent to L3 (i.e the section on E. Denny). I'd heard that there were
DCLU rules to prevent NC zones from "overwhelming"  residential areas.

ANSWER: If the project were of such a scale that it had to go through
Design Review (in an NC zone, more than 4 units, 4,000 square feet or 20
parking spaces), then height, bulk and scale issues would be reviewed
through the Design Review process.

June 19, 1998 QUESTIONS:

You mention the difficulties of combining NC3 and NCR in one development.
My concern is that (as I understand it) NC zoning _requires_ storefronts at
street level. It seems unlikely that (on the Falls' property) the frontage
on Denny would presently support such activity, and questionable for that
on 21st (yes, I know it technically Denny but's it's an extension of 21st)
would presently would support retail. That's why I favored NC/R, to allow
such future use but not presently require it.

Storefronts in the various Group Health properties along 15th are obvious
local examples of my concerns: one's been vacant since Kings' Table moved
out in about 1985, others turn over very rapidly and are clearly not making
it in their locations.

So,  am I correct in my interpretations? Specifically, if the rear half of
the Falls' property was zoned NC/2 and developed together with the NC3-65
portion on Madison, would the code REQUIRE (or merely permit) commercial
development on the E. Denny and "21st Ave" faces of the  property?

ANSWER: In terms of ground level development requirements in NC zones --

Unless a lot is  in a pedestrian designated district (which this is not),
retail is not required.  However, if one does mixed use development (retail
at ground level), then there is no density limit for the residential
development.  IF one does single purpose residential development, there is
a fairly restrictive density limit on residential development.  Therefore,
there is such a great incentive density-wise, to do mixed-use, that people
tend to choose to do it.  So, it is not required, but most developers do
mixed-use whether the market exists or not because of the residential
density incentive.  We are working on correcting that so the market will
have more to do with the development decisions than the density
"incentive,"  - - hopefully, we will have fewer vacant storefronts!

And, for a mixed-use development where the lot "fronts on two or more
streets and abuts a lot which is not zoned commercial, the street front
facade requirement shall apply to the structure's facade along the street
with the greatest continuous lineal feet of commercially zoned frontage."

I think this part of the code would apply in M2a - - that is, the lot would
front on three streets, would abut L3 to the west, and the street with the
greatest continuous lineal feet of commercially zoned land would be
Madison.  Therefore, the retail street front requirement would be along
Madison, I believe.  I would agree with you that Denny would not be
appropriate for retail.

In terms of the appropriate zoning recommendation, as I noted in a response
to George earlier, a zoning recommendation/decision should NOT be based on
a property owners desire or plans.  It should be based on what makes sense
in the greater community and how the property in question relates to the
surrounding area and is consistent with the zoning locational criteria,
both in terms of use and how a project could be developed.  Also, it is
important to remember that once a property is rezoned, that zoning applies
no matter who owns the property.  So if it were to be sold, the next owner
may want to do something else with the property and you would want to feel
comfortable that whatever the zoning allows would be workable from the
community standpoint.

June 25, 1998 Questions

QUESTION 1) If the alley is vacated, presumably all of Dean Falls' property
is considered together, even if some is NC3-65 and the rest NC2-40 (for
example), and he gets the desired (unlimited) housing density in the NC2-40
part thanks to the commercial developments on the longest (i.e. Madison)
side of the parcel.

ANSWER 1)  Yes.

QUESTION 2) However if the alley is NOT vacated, will the NC2-40 and NC3-65
parts still be considered together (and hence point 1 above applies) or
will they be considered SEPARATE developments: if that is the case the
desire for higher housing density would demand storefronts on E. Denny,
would it not?

ANSWER 2)  Good point.  If the alley is NOT vacated, then I would suggest
NC/R would work fine since we are no longer talking about a single
development on a single site, which is when it gets difficult to have split

QUESTION 3) If they two parcels have to be considered separately, what
would be the consequences of NC/R: is a housing density as high as NC2
(with commercial) attainable?

ANSWER 3)  No density limits for single purpose residential development
(boy, we must have written this zone for you all!)

SMC Sec. 23.47.009C.6.  There shall be no residential density limit for
single-purpose residential structures in the NC2/R or NC3/R zone.

June 26, 1998 QUESTION

The City response to one of my suggestions (L3 -> NC2) was to change it to
"L3 R/C". Is this a new zoning designation: it wasn't in my DCLU
"multifamily housing" handout that I got at the Zoning workshop a few weeks


You are correct about RC not being mentioned.  I will discuss this with my

L3/RC is a multifamily zone that allows limited commercial activity, as
well as accessory parking lots in the L3 zone. Commercial use is limited to
the ground floor or below and each business establishment has a maximum
size of 4,000 sq. ft..  That is the very basics.

If we are still talking about the Dean Falls property that is only on the
Denny side of the alley (assuming no alley vacation), then L3/RC probably
doesn't get you what you want.  You didn't necessarily want the commercial,
so you don't need RC.

My thoughts about a zoning proposal for the part along Denny, in a
simplified way:

IF ALLEY IS VACATED, and the whole property is developed as one: o  NC3/40
is the most workable from the perspective of the whole development - split
zoning only for height is easier to deal with than split zoning by
classification (i.e., NC3 or NC2 or NC2/R). I believe you had issues related
to commercial activity across from new residential on the other side of
Denny.  This could possibly be addressed through design review. o  NC2/40
doesn't really help with the issue on Denny and just complicates things
with split zoning classifications o  NC3/R adds complexity due to the
different types of development standards (the FAR) o  L4 probably adds even
more complexity since it would be split between commercial and residential

IF ALLEY IS VACATED, but the property is developed as two developments,
then the split zoning issues noted above no longer apply.

IF THE ALLEY IS NOT VACATED: o  L4 (37') gives more density and height than
L3, and provides a transition between the NC3/65' and L3 (30') across
Denny. o  NC2/R would give more flexibility of use than a multifamily zone
and the higher residential densities without requiring mixed use
development as is required for the higher densities in NC/non-R zones.  All
residential would require conditional use approval.

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