How Middle Housing HB 1110 will affect the City of Shoreline

Saturday, May 25, 2024

By Pam Cross

On May 14, 2024 NUHSA hosted a very successful Affordable Housing 101 Lunch & Learn in recognition of Affordable Housing Week 2024. The event featured a presentation by the Housing Development Consortium on the regional landscape for housing, as well as updates from each of the five North King County cities.

As part of the event, NUHSA introduced its Housing and Homelessness Glossary as a resource for facilitating community conversations. The event hosted nearly 90 participants and ended with community Q/A.

The recording of this event and the glossary are now available to community members for circulation HERE.

In 2023 the Washington State Legislature passed House Bill 1110, known as the Middle Housing bill.

On May 16, 2024 the Planning Commission discussed  what this bill might mean for Shoreline and its Comprehensive Plan. Because it is a new bill and will require broad changes statewide, the Commission outlined a “high-level preview of code updates to come.” This was not intended to be a comprehensive analysis.

Initial Code Updates

Our current zoning for residential properties is defined on density of housing units. The R-6 zone allows 6 units per acre, for example. The proposed rezoning will move away from density-based development to “form-based” development. Housing regulations will be based on building form, site design, housing type, lot coverage, as well as landscaping/open space and tree retention. This will require the Development code to be updated to the new language.

Graphics from Planning Commission report May 16, 2024

(Note: since the new Neighborhood Zones are conversions from density based zones, density does not disappear as a consideration. Only the name has changed. However, going forward the City will undoubtedly redefine the NR zones to bring the new housing regulations for “form-based” development.)

(Note: R-6 can be converted to either Neighborhood Residential 1 or 2, as shown above. This is important to know because allowable density in NR1 is twice the density of NR2. R-6 represents the greatest number of zoning lots in Shoreline as seen below.)


HB 1110 Middle housing requirements

Source: Planning Commission May 16, 2024

HB 1110 Middle housing requirements for cities are based on city population and cities are assigned to a tier.

Shoreline’s population of approximately 61,120 designates it as Tier 2. However it is possible to move to a Tier 1 designation in order to avoid have to change everything as our city continues to grow. Should Shoreline adopt Tier 1 status now?

Staff recommends staying with Tier 2 for a variety of reasons including anticipated time to reach Tier 1 status (estimated 12 years), allowing more time to scale up, as necessary, public works, fire department and utilities, and infrastructure..

HB1110 - Standard or Alternative Compliance?

In addition to the new base requirement for middle housing, Alternative Compliance options are available. 

The City is taking a close look at the multiple Compliance options as it works to draft a middle housing code. The alternative options consider:
  • Risk of Displacement utilizing sociodemographic assessment (equity),
  • Redevelopment Attractors from Amenity Factors (access to parks, schools, transit, business locations)
  • Physical displacement (evictions, foreclosures, tenant relocation assistance applications),
  • Critical Areas (wetlands, areas with critical recharging effect on aquifers used for potable water)
  • Fish and wildlife habitat
  • Geological hazardous areas
As you can see, much more study is needed and future legislation is coming.

HB 1337 ADUs

Another newly passed bill HB 1337 addresses ADUs. This does not really work well with HB 1110, since ADUs are not “starter houses” purchased by first time homebuyers, but rentals existing on a homeowner’s property. Coordination of these two bills adds another dimension.

Newly built multiple homes on one lot will not result in Middle Housing (“starter homes”) if developers maintain ownership and use them as rented multifamily homes.

Implementation of these new state bills will greatly change Shoreline as the population grows over the next 20 years. And once changes to the Comprehensive Plan are adopted, it is time consuming and difficult to amend them.

It is important to read the Planning Commission report and/or listen to the Planning Commission 5/16 meeting to get a rudimentary understanding of the changes. We are going to hear a lot more about this over the next months and years.

Get a good start so you have at least a basic understanding so you can follow along with this journey into the future.

5-26-2024 Text is the same, but major revisions to arrangement of graphics. Links added.


Anonymous,  May 25, 2024 at 6:11 AM  

Could you please add the links to planning commission report? The City's website is very difficult to navigate. Thanks.

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