Small-lot development legislation, on the city council agenda Monday, will likely include several amendments that are anathema to proponents of single-family infill development.

City council members Tim Burgess, Tom Rasmussen, and Nick Licata are likely to support amendments to legislation that would allow single-family developments on "undersized" single-family lots—small lots that can't be developed under existing city of Seattle rules—that would reduce the total height of new houses on such lots and would eliminate the so-called "100-percent rule,"

That rule, which is part of a compromise proposal currently before the council, would allow new single-family developments on small (that is, smaller than the ordinary minimum block face, or street frontage, for a particular block.. 

Instead, the new small-lot rules would revert to the existing "75-80" rule, which requires a lot to be at least 75 percent of the total square footage and the average frontage of lot faces on the block in question—in other words, an exceedingly complicated set of parameters. 

Additionally, an amendment that will be proposed by Rasmussen will reduce the total possible height of any new single-family house on an undersized lot to 18 feet, from a current maximum of 22.

"I think causes a lot of consternation in our single-family neighborhoods," Burgess says. "We have enough space to accommodate anticipatd growth for the next 40 to 50 years/. You could argue tfrom Roger’s perspective, or you could argue that we need to protect our single-family neighborhoods." 

Rasmussen adds, "We want to minimize the impact of development on  our neighborhoods that isn't within the character of a neighborhood." such as houses on small lots. 

Density advocate Roger Valdez, who advocates for a company that is trying to build small-lot developments, counters that limiting heights is "the interior design approach to land-use planning"—limiting the number of floors allowed in a single-family house. 

And Valdez points out that Rasmussen's and Burgess's proposals would only prevent new housing on about 250 lots in Seattle—a figure neither council member disputes, but which both say iw worth passing legislation to pevent. 



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