Proposed Ordinance 700: Ground Floor Uses in the Pedestrian Core Design District

People Walking DowntownHistory

In November 2010, the Downtown and Little Bear Creek Corridor Design Districts were created with the goal of creating special characteristics in the City's business core areas.

Included in the design districts is the Pedestrian Core Design District, which is an integrated mix of smaller pedestrian-oriented commercial services and residential development. This design district is located with the Central Business District zone.

In February 2012, to help implement the Pedestrian Core Design District's stated goal of having a mixed use of smaller pedestrian-oriented businesses and residential development, new regulations were adopted to designate certain street fronts such as Northeast 175th Street and 135th Avenue Northeast for retail and other street fronts such as Northeast 171st Street and Woodinville-Snohomish Road Northeast for residential.

Map of Pedestrian Core Design District

Map Designating Streets for Mandatory Residential and Retail Development at Street Level

Where the map mandates retail (shown in red), buildings fronting the streets are restricted within the first 30-feet of depth to the following uses:

  • Building, hardware and garden materials not exceeding 24,000 square feet of gross floor area, excluding building material stores and pawnshops
  • Department stores, which engage in the retail sale of a variety of lines of merchandise, such as dry goods, apparel and accessories, home furnishings, housewares
  • Food stores not exceeding 10,000 square feet of gross floor area
  • Apparel, jewelry and accessory stores
  • Furniture and home furnishings stores
  • Eating and drinking places
  • Tasting rooms
  • Drug stores, liquor stores
  • Antique/collectable shops
  • Secondhand stores not exceeding 10,000 square feet of gross floor area
  • Sporting goods and related stores
  • Fabric shops
  • Florist shops, pet shops, gift shops
  • Bulk retail, which offer the sale of bulk goods to the general public, including limited sales to wholesale customers
  • Photographic and electronic shops

What Is Happening

The City Council has scheduled a public hearing on September 15, 2020 to receive public testimony on proposed Ordinance 700.

What Is Being Considered

The Planning Commission forwarded a recommendation to the City Council proposing to loosen the current restrictions by allowing a newly defined "active uses" at the ground floor along designated streets and to allow residential at the ground floor along other designated streets as optional. In effect, the proposed change increases allowable ground floor uses in the Pedestrian Core Design District. Areas outside this Design District are not impacted.

The new map titled "Active and Residential Uses at the Street Level in the CBD Zone" would replace the old "Map Designating Streets for Mandatory Residential and Retail Development at Street Level - Pedestrian Core Design District."

Active and Residential Uses at the Street Level in the CBD Zone

To support loosening up the restrictions, a new definition called "active uses" would be created that promotes a wide range of high foot traffic types of businesses. "Active Uses" includes the following:

  • Retail sale of goods and services to an individual consumer for their own use including but not limited to soft and durable goods and services, grocery, food and beverage, health and personal care products, cut flowers and potted plants, and other activities involving retail sales;
  • Personal care services that provide appearance and body care to individuals such as barber and beauty shops, skin and nail care, tanning, health spas, massage and similar care services;
  • Pet care services that provide boarding, grooming, training, veterinarian and similar services for pets;
  • Outpatient healthcare services that provide medicine and dentistry to individuals, excluding hospitals and medical centers and other facilities providing overnight care;
  • Indoor fitness facilities;
  • Financial and banking services;
  • The preservation and exhibition of objects of historical, cultural, creative skills and imagination (art) and/or education value (e.g., museums and art galleries); and
  • Professional office space that does not exceed 25% of the linear front of the building.

View the complete proposed Ordinance Number 700.

More Information

For more information on the proposal, please contact Robert Grumbach, AICP, Development Services Director, at 425-877-2271 or email Robert Grumbach.

You can submit comments on the proposed ordinance to the City Clerk using the Public Comment Email. Please put Ordinance Number 700 in the subject line. These comments will be forwarded to the City Council and will be included in their discussions.