Advocacy Update – May 2023

This Month in Advocacy: Tree Ordinance, Comp Plan, Housing Levy, State Updates, and Building Code Delays

Seattle City Council Passes Tree Ordinance

Latest Housing Taskforce advocacy efforts: We are thrilled to announce that the Seattle City Council has passed the long-awaited tree ordinance, marking a significant milestone in our mission to strike a balance between housing needs and the preservation of our beloved trees.

The passage of this ordinance, with a 6-1 vote in favor, is a testament to the hard work and dedication of our members and supporters. Throughout the process, we have been actively engaged in shaping this legislation to ensure it addresses both the urgent need for housing and the crucial importance of protecting our tree canopy.

While we acknowledge that the tree ordinance is not without its imperfections, it represents a substantial step forward in safeguarding our city’s green spaces. Our goal has always been to find a balanced approach that allows for sustainable development while preserving our natural environment.

This comprehensive ordinance will regulate and protect tens of thousands more trees, while also introducing new requirements for replacing those that are cut down. By doing so, we are creating a framework that encourages responsible development practices and ensures the long-term health of our neighborhoods.

We are immensely proud of our members’ engagement throughout this process. Your participation in public comment sessions and your valuable insights have played a pivotal role in achieving this milestone. Together, we are making a tangible difference in shaping a sustainable and livable future for our city.

AIA Seattle Comp Plan Work Group

The Comprehensive Plan update for Seattle is a critical milestone in shaping the city’s future growth and addressing key questions around equitable opportunity, neighborhood design, and sustainability. The AIA Seattle Comp Plan Work Group has been actively collaborating to contribute their skills and experiences to inform the development of the Comprehensive Plan. As part of this important work, UDF will be hosting a charette to support the Comp Plan Work Group in activating member engagement.

When: July 13th 4:00-6:15 PM
Where: Center for Architecture and Design, 1010 Western Ave
More information to follow.

HDC Housing Levy Rally

Join HDC for a rally in support of the Seattle Housing Levy, followed by the final public hearing held by the Seattle City Council Select Committee on the 2023 Housing Levy. May 31st – Seattle City Hall:
3:30pm – Rally for the Seattle Housing Levy
4:00pm – Press conference
4:30pm – Public hearing

State Level

In the final Capital Budget agreement, the proposed funding of $250,000 to establish a workgroup to study the transition to a six-year code cycle was vetoed by Governor Inslee. This decision aligns with our state-level advocacy against extending the code cycle and represents a significant win. This veto preserved the existing three-year code cycle, ensuring the continued application of cutting-edge technologies for safety, health, and efficiency in new construction.

Extending the time between code updates would have had far-reaching consequences, impacting our ability to apply the latest and best practices in construction. It could have also jeopardized the Legislature’s mandate to reduce energy use by 70% by 2031, a critical goal for our state’s sustainability efforts. By maintaining the three-year code cycle, we ensure that necessary updates can be implemented efficiently, promoting energy efficiency and meeting our environmental targets.

Building Code Delays

The State Building Code Council (SBCC) in Washington has voted to delay the effective date of the 2021 building codes by 120 days. The new effective date will be October 29, 2023, instead of July 1, 2023. This delay provides stakeholders with additional time to prepare for the implementation of the updated codes. Additionally, the SBCC has directed its staff to form Technical Advisory Groups to consider proposals for modifying sections of the commercial and residential energy codes. These modifications aim to address legal uncertainties following the recent court decision in California Restaurant Association v. City of Berkeley. The SBCC staff will compile these proposals for the Council’s future consideration. Stay tuned for further updates as the process unfolds.

We’d love to hear from you! To comment or for more information on these or any other topics, please contact:

Samantha Morrow
Senior Manager of Policy & Advocacy
AIA Seattle & AIA Washington Council
206-957-1926 |