“Neighborhood Residential”: Renaming Seattle’s Single Family Zones

Advocate for more inclusive residential zoning this week at the Seattle City Council. Make a difference with one email!

Legislation to rename Seattle’s single family zoning category from “Single Family” to “Neighborhood Residential” will be voted on at a Sept. 24th Land Use & Neighborhoods City Council Committee meeting. This legislation does not make actual changes to the existing zoning (any changes will be part of the Comp Plan Update), but it will set the stage for future action by more accurately reflecting the reality that currently exists in single family zones and pointing to a need for greater inclusivity in land use policy.

Importantly, changing single family zoning does not mean getting rid of single family homes. It means getting rid of a zoning category that only allows single family homes and prohibits duplexes/triplexes/etc. and smaller multi-family in most residential neighborhoods.

What you can do
Outreach to committee members is needed Sept. 20-23. The legislation will be discussed at a public hearing on Wednesday, Sept. 22 and will be voted on by the committee on Friday, Sept. 24.

It’s as easy as sending an email
Please send an email to your councilmember (as well as Councilmember Gonzalez, who represents the entire city) asking them to support CB 120155 in the Land Use & Neighborhoods Committee this week. You can also call if you prefer.

Land Use & Neighborhoods Committee Members 
4 – Alex Pedersen
5 – Debra Juarez
6 – Dan Strauss
7 – Andrew Lewis
At large – Teresa Mosqueda (Mosqueda is sponsoring the legislation and will be a yes)
At large – Lorena González

*If your councilmember is not on the committee, we’ll ask you to weigh in a bit later, as this legislation is expected to go to the full Council for final approval on Oct. 4.

The email can be very brief! Start with where you live (your neighborhood) and ask that they vote yes on CB 120155 in the Land Use & Neighborhoods Committee this week.

Tell them why this change is important to you, which could include:

  • Our existing residential zoning categories are based on historical redlining policies that intentionally excluded people of color. It is important that we reverse this policy, and this legislation starts to do that, even if in name only.
  • Existing zoning is not currently single family only even if it is called that. ADU and DADU units were authorized three years ago to be added to single family parcels. Grandfathered in apartment buildings and ‘plexes also exist in these zones.
  • The upcoming Comp Plan Update is the most critical in our city’s history. This change sets the stage for that process by acknowledging that we need to increase housing opportunity and inclusivity in our land use policies.
  • “Single family” doesn’t accurately or inclusively reflect the diverse households that exist across Seattle—multigenerational households, group households, and multiple families living on a single parcel are all not reflected in this terminology.
  • Add your own!

Public Comment
The opportunity to provide 2-minute public comment via phone is available at both meetings (Sept. 22 and Sept. 24) – if you are interested, contact Kirsten for more info.

If you need help or have any questions, please reach out to Kirsten.

Thank you for taking the time to engage in advocacy on this important issue – your input makes a difference!