After months of discussions and review, zoning code changes designed to promote more affordable housing in Washington have been adopted.
Washington City Council members approved an ordinance amending the zoning codes following a public hearing Monday night.
There were no objections expressed to the code changes.
The biggest change is in the adoption of a new single-family residential zoning district — R-1D — which allows minimum lot sizes of 7,500 square feet with 60-foot-wide frontages and 6-foot-wide side yards.
The code also was amended to change the lot sizes in the current R-1B, single-family residential, districts from 10,000 to 6,000 square feet in areas with similar lot sizes with specific boundaries. Those areas are located north of Highway 100.
Lot sizes in R-1B districts had been 6,000 square feet until the 1990s when the council changed that to 10,000 square feet, the same as in R-1A single-family residential districts.
The planning and zoning commission recommended those changes after holding several meetings.
Those recommendations were the same made by a subcommittee composed of city officials, realtors, developers and builders that considered changes that could be made to city codes to reduce the cost of new home construction for developers and consumers.
The planning board also reviewed a suggestion to reduce street widths and require sidewalks in new developments but did not recommend that change. City Administrator Jim Briggs noted that the cost savings with narrower streets would be offset by the cost of constructing sidewalks.
Also, the fire department and street department objected to narrower streets because they would impede access, he noted.
Developers and contractors who have lobbied for the changes say they will allow for the construction of homes at lower costs for consumers.
A request to annex a 6.72-acre tract off of Rabbit Trail Drive for a proposed R1-D development was tabled Monday night.
City Counselor Mark Piontek said that the request was premature because a proposed zoning has to accompany a voluntary annexation request and the R-1D zoning district was not yet adopted.
The application from Northern Star Homes proposes to zone 4.45 acres of the tract as R-1C, single-family attached residential zoning, and 2.27 acres as R-1D, for a new subdivision, Malvern Hill.
The application was tabled last week by the planning commission. A special meeting was scheduled for 5 p.m. Wednesday for the board to take additional comments and make a recommendation to the city council.