Potential zoning changes in Ravenna-Bryant: NE 65th 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. Previous posts provided overviews of proposed changes in the part of the neighborhood closest to the Roosevelt light rail station and about proposed changes to NE 55th Street. This post provides information about proposed changes to the Ravenna NE 65th Street business district and a final one will cover 35th Avenue NE.

What is being proposed on NE 65th Street?

Currently, many buildings on NE 65th Street between 20th Ave NE and 25th Ave NE are not as tall as they could be. For example, this building could be 3-4 stories under current zoning code.

The five block stretch along NE 65th Street from 20th Avenue NE to 25th Avenue NE is often considered “downtown” Ravenna. It is home to many places to eat and drink and health and wellness-related businesses. With a few buildings that include apartments, it is also home to many people.

Most of NE 65th Street in downtown Ravenna is zoned NCP2-40, Neighborhood Commercial Pedestrian up to 40 feet high. 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 front. 

In 2015, the area was rezoned a pedestrian area. In pedestrian zones, residential uses may occupy no more than 20% of the street-level, street-facing façade; buildings cannot have large blank facades facing the street; and parking lots on the site cannot be in front of the building or abut the street. 

As part of the MHA program, the City’s “preferred alternative” for increasing zoning capacity would change the code for these properties to NC2P-55, increasing allowable height by 15 feet. 

In the middle of the block of Ravenna Avenue NE, between NE 65th Street and NE 68th Street and across from the Ravenna-Eckstein Community Center, land that is currently designated NC1-30 would change to NC1-40, increasing allowable height by 10 feet.

Map of proposed zoning changes to NE 65th Street between 20th Avenue NE and 25th Avenue NE from the City of Seattle’s HALA website.

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.