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Building Housing in Redmond
This page contains housing information and resources which will help you develop, build, or manage housing properties in Redmond. This includes requirements like the City's affordable housing zoning regulations.
NEW! Proposed Code Amendments
February 2023 - Proposed Affordable Housing Amendment
City staff have proposed amendments to the Redmond Municipal Code and Redmond Zoning Code. This small package of amendments would advance the City's housing goals. Please review the Technical Report for further details and associated materials related to the proposed amendment.
The amendment package would amend:
- RZC 21.20 Affordable Housing
- RZC 21.78 Definitions
- RMC 3.38 Multifamily Housing Property Tax Exemption
The intended purpose of the amendment package is to:
- Increase clarity on parking requirements for affordable housing.
- Clearly define parking requirements for affordable housing units.
- Updates definitions for affordable housing to include parking as a housing expense.
- Creates a more equitable and precise method to provide parking for affordable housing units.
- Create monitoring fee for Multifamily Property Tax Exemption (MFTE) units.
- Remove requirement for the King County assessor fee to be paid at time of MFTE application (applicant remains responsible for the fee)
- Streamline the MFTE administrative process.
The amendment DOES NOT change:
- The overall number of parking stalls for a development.
- The total administrative cost to the developer for participating in the City's MFTE program.
Helpful Links, Materials, and Dates
- Proposed Amendment Code Redlines
- Public Notice: State Environmental Protection Policy SEPA-2023-00003 (PDF)
- February 8, 2023: Planning Commission Study Session
- February 22, 2023: Planning Commission Public Hearing
- 7PM at City Hall
- Public comment can be provided in-person or by phone during the meeting by providing a name and phone number, in advance, to PlanningCommission@redmond.gov. Written comments can be submitted in advance to PlanningCommission@redmond.gov.
- Public Hearing Notice of Affordable Housing Amendments (LAND-2023-00004) (PDF)
- March 8, 2023: Planning Commission Study Session and Recommendation
- Other City Code Amendment Projects
AFFORDABLE HOUSING Requirements
To increase affordable housing, the City focuses its efforts to increase the supply of affordable housing through land use regulations and partnerships with local organizations. The Affordable Housing requirement of the Redmond Zoning code has been the most effective tool used by the City to produce affordable housing.
Affordable Housing Requirement
Chapter 21.20 "Affordable Housing" of the Redmond Zoning Code (RZC) requires that new developments of 10 or more dwelling units must contain some amount of cost-controlled affordable dwelling units.
- The requirement applies to all areas of the City except for the Sammamish Valley and Idylwood neighborhoods.
- Typically, 10% of the of the total number of dwelling units in qualifying developments must be cost-controlled affordable dwelling units.
- Developers may choose to fulfill the obligations of RZC 21.20 by pursuing the Multifamily Property Tax Exemption program (if the development is otherwise eligible for the program).
Cost-controlled affordable housing units are dwelling units with a limit to the maximum rent that can be charged to a tenant. These cost-controlled affordable housing units are made available to individuals and families that meet certain income thresholds. These thresholds limit the incomes of eligible tenants to ensure that housing is affordable to those who need it. A home is considered affordable when the total housing costs do not exceed more than 30% of the household income. For rental units, this would include rent and utilities. For ownership units, this would include the total cost including mortgage, insurance, and homeowner dues, if any.
Qualification for most affordability programs is determined by a formula that is based on the King County Area Median Income (AMI). Most assistance programs serve for households that earn 80% or less than the King County Median Income. These can include:
- Down payment assistance
- Housing repair programs
- Rental assistance
- Transitional and shelter housing
Through these and other efforts (including working with King County and state government funding opportunities), Redmond strives to make continual progress in providing for more affordable housing.
Multifamily Property Tax Exemption Program
What is the Multifamily Housing Property Tax Exemption (MFTE) Program?
The Multifamily Property Tax Exemption (MFTE) is a program for the purpose of increasing housing affordability in Redmond. With MFTE the City has the opportunity to encourage affordable housing at greater levels of affordability in new apartment development in certain areas of Redmond. The MFTE provides for either an eight year or 12 year exemption from property taxes paid on the housing portion of qualifying new development in exchange for providing 10 percent of the units as affordable for income-eligible households with an eight year exemption and 20 percent of the units with a 12 year exemption. These will remain as long term affordable units throughout the life of the project. In July 2017 the City Council adopted the multifamily housing property tax exemption (Redmond Municipal Code 3.38) through Ordinance 2892. RCW 84.14 addresses such tax exemptions in state law.
Where can the MFTE be used?
Developments must be located in these targeted mixed use residential areas:
Work with City Staff to virtually submit an application and checklist to Redmond's Planning and Community Development Department prior to the issuance of a project's first building permit. Information on permit fees is found on the Development Review Permit Fees sheet.
Redmond residents value having a variety of different housing options to call home. The City of Redmond Zoning Code allows a variety of housing types to be constructed, to better meet the varied housing needs of our community. This ranges from accessory dwelling units, to duplexes, to mixed-use apartment developments, and many other housing types in between.
Washington state lawmakers have in recent years been especially interested in expanding "missing middle" housing types. Middle housing types are more dense than single-family homes but less dense than high-rise structures, so they are the "middle" density housing types. Across America, middle housing types have been difficult to produce because of land use laws and zoning regulations. The renewed interest in middle housing seeks to remove barriers to middle housing so that community members have access to a wider variety of housing choices. Because these middle housing type units are typically smaller than detached single-family homes, the prices are typically more affordable.