This is going to be confusing but stay with us.
Tonight, April 17 at 7 p.m., the Woodinville City Council will consider extending a moratorium on residential development.
The City of Woodinville is in the middle of trying to update its zoning codes (Ordinance 532), which when completed, will give definitive lot sizes for residentially zoned land, something the code lacks in its current wording. While struggling through that complex process, the city council decided to place moratoriums (three so far with a fourth being considered at tonight’s meeting) on some aspects of new residential development.
Here are the two basic issues regarding residential development that the city is trying to define with Ordinance 532; how many houses can be built on a lot with the transfer of density credits, and what the minimum residential lot size per zone is. While the city had some provisions for dealing with density transfer credits (the ability to build more houses on one lot if other parts of property owners property cannot be built on because of say, wetlands or slopes), there was no law on the city’s books that defined minimum lot size.
The process started back in May 2011 when the council decided to curtail new development while it fine-tuned the new zoning codes and passed its first six month moratorium (Ordinance 525). With that ordinance the council suspended increases in and transfers of residential density above the adopted zoning regulations. On August 2, 2011, the city amended that ordinance to include another section of the code that referenced residential zoning.
In October 2011, the city, which must send all new laws that impact development to the state for approval, was told by the State Department of Commerce the proposed permanent zoning codes (Ordinance 532), would limit the city’s ability to meet its state mandated growth targets, reduce affordable housing, and conflict with city’s own comprehensive plan as well as King County’s Comprehensive Plan. The council then extended the moratorium (Ordinance 537). Every time the council passes or extends a moratorium it becomes a new ordinance with a new number.
Still with us? Now regarding the minimum lot size for the different residential zones (ex. R-1 traditionally means one house per acre), the , putting a six month moratorium on residential development that exceeds base density already zoned until it could get permanent zoning codes in place (Ordinance 532). It was passed in January 2012, but didn’t take effect until Feb. 6. During that short window before the moratorium took effect, ), was able to get a proposed development application in to the planning department (that applications is still in the review process).
Enter Ordinance 546 on the April 17 agenda. If the council approves the ordinance, it will extend Ordinance 525 for another six months.
Ordinance 525: Passed on May 3, 2011 it suspended increases in and transfers of residential density above the adopted zoning regulations. On August 2, 2011, the city amended that
Ordinance 537: Passed on Oct. 18, 2011, taking effect on Oct. 31, 2011, this renewed moratorium Ordinance 525 for another six months.
Ordinance 543: Passed on Jan. 24, 2012 taking effect on Feb. 6, this ordinance suspended residential development the exceeded base density for lot sizes already in place.