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City Council Adopts Updated Residential Development Standards

Sept 20, 2017 - At Tuesday night’s meeting (September 19), the City Council adopted updates to the City's Residential Development Standards after a nearly one-year-long process launched by the Planning Commission and City Council to engage the community and consider potential code changes. The Council reviewed the Commission's recommendations along with input from the community during seven City Council meetings between June and September of this year.  

Initially spurred by concerns from residents about 
the rapidly changing character of Mercer Island’s neighborhoods, the process has included a substantial effort to reach out to a broad cross-section of the community, using a variety of outreach tools including traditional meetings and public hearings, as well as social media.  The City heard from many people in the community, receiving over 475 written comments. 
The code amendments adopted by the City Council will place new limits on house size and bulk, increase tree protection, limit construction impacts in neighborhoods and allow for far fewer deviations and variances.  The ordinance adopting these regulations will be effective on October 2 and the new provisions will take effect on November 1, 2017
“The updated Residential Development Standards will address concerns from the community by protecting trees, maintaining neighborhood character and ensuring homes are built at a scale that is compatible with their neighborhood,” said Mayor Bruce Bassett.
City staff are now working to prepare a package of outreach materials to educate the public on the contents of the new provisions.  City staff plan to hold information sessions in the coming weeks to educate permit applicants, builders, architects and residents of the new code provisions.  Staff will continue this ongoing education effort in the coming months to ensure all residents and builders understand the provisions of the code.

Summary of Key Dates
  • Sept 20 – Oct 31: Focused outreach to permit applicants, builders, architects
  • October 2: Effective date of Ordinance
  • November 1: New code provisions go into effect
  • November dates tbd: Information sessions for building professionals (architects, builders, arborists, etc) on the new code provisions
  • Ongoing: Education for DSG customers and residents about new residential code provisions
Learn more about the process at


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