Seattle officials to allow more parking-free developments

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SEATTLE -- Seattle officials have eased the city's parking regulations, expanding the areas where housing developers are not required to build off-street parking.

The Seattle City Council voted Monday to allow developers in neighborhoods well-served by the mass transit system to not have to build a certain number of parking spaces.

The reforms also allow residential and commercial building owners to be able to rent their parking spaces to people who do not live or work in the building.

The action will also require landlords to remove the costs of parking from the costs of housing, giving tenants an option of a lower rent if they don't want a parking spot.

Mayor Jenny Durkan says she intends to sign the measure into law.

"With too many Seattle residents struggling with rising rents, we need to provide more housing," Durkan said. "We also have to make frequent transit a reality, and we will continue to work with Metro to increase service on our most popular routes in neighborhoods across Seattle."

The Seattle Times reports legislation will allow residential and commercial building owners to rent their parking stalls to people who do not live or work in the building.

It will require landlords to "unbundle" the costs of parking from the costs of housing — allowing tenants to pay a lower rent if they forgo a parking spot.

And, perhaps most controversially, it will expand the areas of the city where developers do not have to build off-street parking to go along with housing.

Off-street parking currently is not required for housing built near "frequent transit service." The legislation loosens the definition of "frequent transit service" and bases it on scheduled bus arrivals, not actual bus arrivals.

The City Council passed the legislation 7-1, with Councilmember Lisa Herbold voting no. Councilmember Kshama Sawant was absent.

Council members rejected an amendment from Herbold that would have allowed the city to keep parking minimums, or otherwise mitigate the effects of new parking-free development, in a few areas with the least available parking.

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