Here is a handy guide published by DPD with the “Cliff Notes” if you will for Multi-Family zoning in Seattle multifamilyzoningdpds021571
Seattle changed the Multifamily Zoning regulation in early 2011. DPD added calculations based on Floor Area Ratio (FAR). These ratios have been used for Commercial Zoning for years. DPD also changed the building code encouraging environmentally friendly construction.
Bulk and Scale of a building
Or, what is FAR?
To determine bulk and scale of new construction in multifamily zones Seattle currently uses FAR (Floor Area Ratio). For instance to get an educated guess on how large of a building that can be built on a L1 zoned lot that is 5000 square feet apply the appropriate FAR, which is a different value for Cottage Houses, Row Houses, Town Houses, or Apartments. The FAR varies between 0.9 to 1.2, or 4500 square feet of structure up to 6000 square feet – depending of the type of building and how “Green” or environmentally friendly it will be, how close to an Urban Village and Light Rail. But in general here are the FAR ranges:
- LR1 FAR varies between 1.0 to 1.3
- LR2 FAR varies between 0.9 to 1.2
- LR3 FAR varies between 1.1 all the way up to 2.0
Number of Units
To determine the number of units DPD still has a unit calculation based on lot square footage such as: 1 unit per 1600 sf of lot or even the ever prized “No Limit” to number of units.
- LR1 varies between 1 unit per 2200 sqft feet of lot for townhouses to no limit for rowhouses
- LR2 varies between 1/1600 for Cottage Houses to No Limit for rowhouses, townhouses and apartments, depending on the green building performance and other factors.
- LR3 varies between 1/1600 square feet to No Limit.
Luckily all the information is on their “Cliff Note” pdf file: multifamilyzoningdpds021571