Better know a neighborhood: Ravenna-Bryant zoning at 35th Ave NE & NE 65th Street

“Do you think four-story buildings would fit in with the future character of 35th Ave?”  That was one of the questions the Seattle Department of Planning and Development (DPD) asked Ravenna-Bryant and Wedgwood residents earlier this year. DPD had been asked by the Future of 35th Avenue Committee to include their community-driven recommendations in future land use planning and city planners were looking to affirm the committee’s findings.

Of the 303 people who responded to that question, 150 said “yes” and 153 said “no”.

In a 2013 RBCA survey of Ravenna-Bryant community members, 64% indicated they would be comfortable with more development along NE 65th Street and 29% said they would not.

When DPD asked community members, “Which is more important at the ground-floor along 35th Ave?” 67% said more business, 3% new housing, and 30% said both are equally important. Another one of the questions was, “How important is being able to walk to nearby business districts on 35th Ave?” and 68% responded “very” and 22% said “somewhat.”

65th 35th Node Current
Above: Zoning at the corner of NE 65th Street and 35th Avenue NE. Red = NC1-30. Yellow = LR2.

Currently, NE 65th Street from 32nd Ave NE to the east corner of 35th Ave NE is zoned NC1-30 or Neighborhood Commercial, 30 feet high, generally 3 stories. Which means that even though the Wedgwood Market is 1 story tall, it could be up to 3. For comparison, where 35th Ave NE and NE 55th Street meet, the land is zoned for buildings up to 4 stories tall.

65th 35th Node Proposed
Above: Proposed changes would re-zone the Theodora and Unitarian Church properties to NC1-30 with pedestrian designations in the area.

On 35th Ave NE, the land north of the NE 65h Street corner to NE 68th Street is currently zoned LR2 or Lowrise Multifamily. Areas zoned LR2 do not allow for businesses along the ground floor, like the community would like to see.

That’s why DPD is now proposing that part of the land currently zoned LR2 be re-zoned to NC1-30 with a pedestrian designation. This change would allow businesses on the ground floor with housing on the upper floors, something community members indicated they want. The pedestrian designation would help create a more walker-friendly neighborhood since in these areas:

  • Residential uses may occupy no more than 20% of the street-level street-facing building facade.
  • Buildings cannot have large blank facades on the street-facing pedestrian level.
  • A parking lot on the building site cannot be in front of the building or abut the street. Parking must be under the building or behind it.