Do you have a project that you would like to nominate for the Director’s Award for Leadership in Housing Development to be posted on this site?
The Washington State Department of Community Trade and Economic Development is seeking nominations for developments that will further public awareness of well-designed, affordable and higher density housing being developed within Washington’s urban growth areas under the Growth Management Act. We are looking for a variety of projects, market rate and subsidized, multi-family and single family at higher densities, mixed-use and residential, that provide well-designed affordable housing to all economic segments of a community. Development projects that meet these and other criteria will be considered for posting on the web site as a resource to land use planners, housing developers, local governments, housing financiers, and the public. Criteria for consideration are as follows:
Use the simple submittal process on line to view the criteria in detail and nominate your project.
- Location: The development must be located in an urban growth area designated under RCW 36.70A.110. Location in infill sites (previously developed or undeveloped) is preferred to greenfield sites. Location in a city is referred to location in an. unincorporated area. Location close to employment centers is preferred to distant suburban locations. Location with good access to existing transit routes is preferred.
- Density: The development must have a minimum of seven dwelling units per acre (the density needed to support provision of transit). Density of development will be evaluated against the density allowed by zoning and against the higher densities typically achievable for the type of development (i.e. home ownership, rental, senior).
- Affordability: Low-income or mixed-income housing with a low-income component (inclusionary housing) are preferred. Some units should be for low-income residents to increase provision of housing for all income levels and to ensure appropriate use of the housing trust fund, or the whole development should be affordable to moderate-income residents. Each development will be evaluated to determine the percentile of Area Median Income needed to live in the development.
- Unit Size: Smaller dwelling units with amenities are preferred. Units can be single or multi-family, but should have smaller building lots and structures that provide opportunities for less expensive homes and decrease the cost of infrastructure. Smaller single-family lots and multi-family developments increase affordability, but must be attractive to middle-income residents. Provisions for accessory dwelling units are preferred. The development should incorporate amenities such as access to open space and parks and community places to: (1) enhance the livability of compact communities and surrounding existing neighborhoods; (2) provide cost effective mitigation for the environmental impacts of increased density; and (3) create places where children can play and people can gather as a community
- Pedestrian-Friendly Environment: For greenfield developments, Narrow streets are preferred to save on infrastructure costs for housing, reduce right-of-way requirements, calm traffic, reduce stormwater impacts, and create more pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods. For infill developments, use of existing infrastructure is preferred. Sidewalks and creative parking solutions are preferred in all cases.
- Good design: Housing and street design standards should ensure that new compact developments enhance the character of existing neighborhoods and encourage acceptance by existing residents.
- Public Process: Good comprehensive and subarea/neighborhood planning should provide for easy implementation of high-quality developments. Where necessary for individual developments, early public participation should include provision of good illustrative information and extensive outreach through public meetings, workshops and/or design charettes that inform and involve the public, resulting in public support for the development.
- Innovative land use/zoning provisions: Developments are preferred that demonstrate the use of innovative land use/zoning provisions to encourage higher density, such as: density incentives, minimum densities, smaller lot sizes, cottage housing, lot line design, zero lot line design, relaxation of parking requirements, reduced setbacks, narrower rights-of-way.
- Streamlined permitting process: Developments are preferred that demonstrate good environmental analysis under the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) in the comprehensive plan and development regulations, including integration of permit and environmental review under SEPA. Other preferred techniques include expediting permits(moving this type of project ahead of other projects), reduced fees, straight-forward code requirements, quick turn-around on permit review, simultaneous review of various necessary permits, clear direction from staff, and the like.
- Mixed-use development: Developments are preferred that include a mix of uses, including live/work dwelling units, to make it possible for people to work and shop close to home and reduce traffic congestion.
- Transit-oriented development: Developments are preferred that demonstrate pedestrian-friendly environments built within easy walking distance of a major transit station. Transit-oriented developments generally include a compact mix of different land uses that are oriented to public walkways, with automobile parking minimized to promote pedestrian activity.
- Financing: Developments are preferred that demonstrate financing in a package that could be standardized for off-the-shelf financing packages at lower interest rates.
- Low impact development: Developments are preferred that minimize stormwater impacts, including impacts to salmon habitat, through methods that reduce impervious areas and encourage groundwater recharge. These include disconnectivity (directing runoff from impervious areas onto landscaped and vegetated areas), bioretention, permeable pavements, open swales, narrow streets, rain gardens, vegetated (green) rooftops, tree filter boxes, and soil amendments.
- Green Building: Developments are preferred that have been designed for energy efficiency and/or constructed with energy efficient materials or recycled materials (e.g., energy efficient windows). Use of materials selected for long-term durability is preferred.