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Seattle City Council has just adopted an updated plan for row-homes, townhomes, and cottages. The first decade of the millennium was full of new construction and a majority of designs in Seattle were the townhomes.
I don't want to give you the wrong idea; I do not have anything against townhomes. They are a great solution for denser urban communities, and they take advantage of low-rise residential building designs at affordable prices. However, after a decade, there was little change to the look and layout of these homes. There was a need for more diversity and these may have been overbuilt in some areas.
These new codes should prevent a majority of the complaints from neighbors. By creating the Streamlined Design Review (SDR), there will be better attention to designs so they flow with the neighborhoods. For instance, townhomes with three or more units can only be put in multi-family zones. Also, green building practices are encouraged and building materials between townhomes must be varied.
Multi-Family accounts for 9% of Seattle's land development is typically the buffer space between single family homes (SFH) and the commercial development. As Seattle has continues to grow it's a comforting to see the attention on building design that will make sense in the long term.
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