Among the items on the Tuesday, Oct. 4 Edmonds City Council agenda: Revisiting a May 24 council discussion about whether to consider a 2- to 5-foot increase in the current 30 feet of allowed building height in the BD2 zone and possibly other BD zones.
That May 24 discussion occured as the council approved an interim extension of designated street fronts in certain areas of downtown. According to a consultant report prepared on the topic, the height increase would create more flexibility for a developer to design a three-story mixed use development.
The council’s decision to approve an interim extension of designed street fronts downtown was spurred by a 24-unit apartment building proposed for the 600 block of Main Street, located in the BD2 zone.
Under city code, new buildings in the BD2 zone along a designated street front must have a street-level floor with commercial uses at a minimum 12-foot height. New buildings located outside of the designated street front, on the other hand, are not required to have commercial uses on the first floor and may be multifamily residential-only buildings.
The council agenda memo for Tuesday night notes:
Given the challenge of constructing a three-story building with a 12-foot ground floor height and two floors of residential above and still meeting the 30-foot height limit for the BD2 zone, extending the designated street front to all BD2 properties may significantly impact the development potential of these properties.
As a result, the Planning Board and Economic Development Commission discussed the possibility of pursuing zoning changes to facilitate two floors of residential above the commercial space with the comprehensive plan update. As the consultant noted:
“It is recommended a minor increase in allowed building height be considered in the BD2 zone, as well as any other BD zones similarly affected. This height increase would create more flexibility for a developer to design a 3-story mixed use development. An increase of two (2) to five (5) feet in building height would encourage more 3-story mixed use redevelopment by making a third story feasible on more sites and allowing already feasible sites to be developed in a manner that avoids less desirable subterranean first floor commercial space. This recommended change is intended to make the Designated Street Front commercial requirement as feasible to integrate into a 3-story development as developing an all residential development. Any increases in height should be crafted with code language that limits all BD2 development to no more than 3-stories in height.”
Also on the council agenda for Tuesday night:
– Consideration of an emergency interim ordinance to ensure new development across the street from single-family zones provides stepbacks as envisioned in the Highway 99 final Environmental Impact Statement.
– Presentation of City of Edmonds Stormwater Management Action Plan (SMAP) to meet federal stormwater permit requirements. (See our earlier story here.)
– Updates to the city’s employee reimbursement policy
– An amendment to the city’s bicycle parking code.
– An update on the city’s summer outreach regarding the 2024 Comprehensive Plan Update.
The hybrid meeting will begin at 7 p.m. in council chambers, Public Safety Complex, 250 5th Ave. N. in downtown Edmonds. To attend virtually, click on or paste the following Zoom meeting link into a web browser using a computer or smart phone: zoom.us/j/95798484261. Or comment by phone: US: +1 253 215 8782 Webinar ID: 957 9848 4261
Regular council meetings beginning at 7 p.m. are streamed live on the council meeting web page, Comcast channel 21 and Ziply channel 39.