Potential zoning changes in Ravenna-Bryant: NE 55th Street

On November 9, the City released its Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA) Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) that includes proposed changes to zoning in four areas of the Ravenna-Bryant neighborhood. A previous post provided an overview of proposed changes in the part of the neighborhood closest to the Roosevelt light rail station. This post will provide information about proposed changes to NE 55th Street and future posts will cover proposed changes to the Ravenna NE 65th Street business district and to 35th Avenue NE.

What is being proposed on NE 55th Street?

Currently, from 25th Avenue NE to 30th Avenue NE, both sides of the street are zoned for Neighborhood Commercial 2, Pedestrian, 40 feet (NC2P-40). Right now, none of the buildings on this stretch of NE 55th Street are built as tall as they could be and many do not include commercial space. As part of the MHA program, the City is proposing that these properties be zoned NC2P-55, increasing the allowable  height by 15 feet.

Typical land uses in NC2 zones include medium-sized grocery stores, drug stores, coffee shops, customer service offices, medical facilities, and apartments. Non-residential uses typically occupy the street front.

Map of proposed zoning changes to NE 55th Street and NE Blakely Street from the City of Seattle’s HALA website.

Between 30th Ave NE and 33rd Ave NE, the land is currently zoned Lowrise 1 (LR1) and no changes are proposed.

From 33rd Ave NE to the alley next to La Villa, properties are currently zone NC1-30 and could be changed to NC1-40, adding 10 feet.

The corner of 35th Ave NE and NE 55th Street is currently zoned NC1-40 and could be changed to NC1-55.

Drawing courtesy of Department of Planning and Development (now the Department of Construction and Inspections.)

In addition to NE 55th Street changes, the map above shows proposed changes along NE Blakeley Street. Land that is now Commercial 1, 40 feet (C1-40) would become C1-55. Commercial areas are not only meant for businesses serving the surrounding neighborhood (like NC zones) but also those serving the wider city and regional clients.

What’s next?

The MHA EIS is now in the hands of the City Council. After considering the EIS and holding public hearings, they will take action in 2018. Amendments to the official zoning map, amendments to the text of the Land Use Code, and changes to maps and policies of the Comprehensive Plan will need to be made.


For reference, the stretch of 65th between 20th and 25th is zoned lower than what is proposed for most of this stretch of 55th, as is 25th between 55th and Blakely (40ft vs. 55ft). I don’t understand the thinking in making this stretch higher than any other area in the neighborhood. Typically buildings step down as they transition to single family zones.

Stephanie Broughton

The corner of 35th and 55th NE is congested as it is. To add a multi unit development without adequate parking being added makes things worse!!

Inga Manskopf

On the corner of NE 55th Street and 35th Avenue NE, land on the east side facing both streets is currently zoned NC1-40 – Neighborhood Commercial up to 40 feet tall. Most buildings along NE 55th Street are not as tall as they could be. This post from 2015 provides more information: http://www.ravennabryant.org/2015/09/better-know-a-neighborhood-ravenna-bryant-zoning-nc2p-40/.
In the current housing and real estate environment, we can expect to see a great deal of new housing that is built as tall as zoning code will allow.