Pursuing Housing For All

Pursuing Housing For All Header

On March 21, 2023, the Port Angeles City Council adopted Ordinance No. 3710 amending Title 17 of the Port Angeles Municipal Code (PAMC) to facilitate infill development and the production of attainable housing. On June 20, 2023, the City Council passed Ordinance No. 3715 adopting an amended Comprehensive Plan incorporating updates to the Land Use Categories in the Land Use Element. Now, the City is proposing to further amend Title 17 PAMC in an effort to make the code even more user-friendly. This continuation of the Pursuing Housing for All effort involves updates to accessory dwelling unit standards and development criteria applicable to new development in the R7 zone. Information about this proposal is available through the following links: 

Next Step: A public hearing is scheduled to be held on August 9, 2023 by the Planning Commission. Meeting information will be available here.

Pursuing Housing for All - Ordinance No. 3710 Amendments

Thank you to all who participated in the Pursuing Housing for All Code Amendment! Please contact ced@cityofpa.us if you would like to be included in future code amendments involving housing and commercial regulations in Title 17 PAMC.

City Council Decision:

On March 21st, the City Council voted unanimously to approve the Title 17 PAMC amendment and adoption of Ordinance 3710, with changes that include directing staff to develop a new section or sections in Title 17 PAMC for temporary housing types. The motion to approve:

It was moved by Schromen-Wawrin and seconded by Carr to:
Adopt the ordinance presented in the Council packet amending portions of Title 17 of the Port Angeles Municipal Code with the additional adoption of the staff-provided amendments to Chapter 17.46, and direct staff to develop a new section or sections in Title 17 for temporary housing types, and direct staff to plan a join session between the Council and Planning Commission to analyze and prioritize potential future actions.
Motion carried 7-0

Copies of the notice of decision and the signed ordinance are available through following links:

The Planning Commission Public Hearing for the Title 17 Port Angeles Municipal Code Amendment occurred on February 8th and 22nd. The Planning Commission motioned to recommend the approval of Municipal Code Amendment No. 23-01 to the City Council as written including any minor changes required to maintain consistency with all titles and chapters of the Port Angeles Municipal Code, along with the list of future recommendations for Municipal Code changes as identified in Appendix E of the staff report.

Public Hearing Documents
Addendum to the February 8 Staff Report: Contains all changes to the the proposed amendments as of February 22, 2023
MCA 23-01 Staff Report: Staff Report for the February 8, 2023 Public Hearing
Appendix A - Line in/Line Out Title 17 Draft Code Amendments: This Document reflects proposed changes up to the date of the continued public hearing on February 22nd. For the most up to date code amendment document please see the most recent draft ordinance provided in the City Council Agenda Packet under Section G.
Appendix B - Public Workshop Summary and Virtual Survey Results: Survey Results as of February 8, 2023.
Appendix C - Public Comment Matrix by Code Reference: The public comment matrix is comprised of all written and verbal public comments provided and staff responses to those comments as of the closing of the public comment period at the continued public hearing on February 22, 2023
Appendix D - Written Public Comment Documents: All public comment provided on or before February 22, 2023
Appendix E - Staff Recommendations for Future Code Amendment and Priority Items: Recommended to be presented to City Council to be addressed at a later date.
Appendix F - Planning Commission and City Council Meeting Minutes: All relevant meeting minutes leading up to the February 8, 2023 Public Hearing
Appendix G - Evaluation Criteria and Priority Changes Memo: The original document providing prioritized amendments to Title 17 addressing housing affordability and attainability.

Written comments are no longer being accepted for addition to the project record, as the public hearing is closed. Questions about the process can be sent to City Staff using the contact information below.
Email: ced@cityofpa.us
Mail: City of Port Angeles
c/o CED
321 E. 5th Street
Port Angeles WA, 98362

The Pursuing Housing for All online survey was instrumental in providing the City with public input. The survey is now closed. 
Virtual Presentation for Survey: Project Background and Proposal
Share the flyer: https://www.cityofpa.us/DocumentCenter/View/12661/Pursuing-Housing-for-All---Public-Hearing-Announcement 

We want to hear from you! The City of Port Angeles is amending the municipal code to reduce barriers to housing production, build residential capacity, promote flexibility, and make developing and finding attainable housing easier for all. We want to hear your thoughts and experiences on housing within the City of Port Angeles and what your vision is for changes as our community grows and accommodates new residents.

  1. Project Overview
  2. Important Dates: Get Involved!
  3. Initial Findings
  4. Project Documents and Resources

Why We’re Updating the Code: Pursuing Housing For All

Port Angeles is growing. By 2036, the population is expected to increase by up to 5,000 residents. In the short-term, however, local construction activity has slowed due to a variety of factors. The current zoning code has limited flexibility for property owners and builders looking to build missing middle housing. Zoning code has been identified as a barrier to new housing attainability as Port Angeles continues to evolve and grow.

After the Building Residential Capacity Code Changes were adopted by the City Council on December 21, 2021, the Planning Commission agreed through motion to continue it's review of the Title 17 Zoning Code. Staff seized the opportunity and began researching options to improve the timing of the zoning ordinance amendment process in order to address housing availability within the City as quickly as possible. Using the Growth Management Act led RCW 36.70A(600) as continued guidance for building residential capacity, staff and the Planning Commission are leading an effort to pursue housing for all residents. A list of potential code changes can be found in this December 28th staff memo to the Planning Commission, which informed staff prioritization of code changes. Reference the public hearing documents linked at the top of this page for the latest draft of the proposed code amendments. Staff and the Planning Commission's recommendations are based upon six different evaluation tenets:

  1. Code as a Barrier to Affordable Housing Development 
  2. Increasing Flexibility in Zoning Code Provisions
  3. Increasing Housing Density Availability
  4. Reducing the Potential Cost of Development
  5. Ensuring Housing Equity and Availability
  6. Enabling Local Property Development Through Self Reliance

Code as a Barrier to Affordable Housing Development 
A major focus of this code revision exercise is to identify where the City’s zoning and building code continues to act as a barrier to the development of affordable and attainable housing. Changes identified under this criterion have been identified as barriers. The goal is to remove these barriers from code while ensuring consistency in regulations remains across individual Titles and Sections.

Increasing Flexibility in Zoning Code Provisions
Since 2017 the City of Port Angeles has continued to provide more flexibility in residential uses allowed in residentially focused zones and commercially mixed-use focused zones. This flexibility includes the use itself (whether now allowed outright or by condition) and how the use performs on the site through design standards and dimensional standards such as setback, height, and bulk (how development interacts with adjacent property and the street). Examples of this include allowing duplexes by right and accessory dwelling units as an accessory use in every residentially focused zone, and reducing lot size requirements in certain zones.

Increasing Housing Density Availability
Housing density has historically been the most significant control segregating districts of residential development. Increasing housing density allows for more affordable and equitable housing availability across the community. Zoning is a tool to ensure incompatible uses do not create undue nuisance, burdens, or health impacts to surrounding property owners. Best available science and practice has recently shown that this frame of thought has created a pattern of development across the United States inhibiting affordable residential development, especially “missing-middle” housing that has the ability to easily integrate into historically low-density residential development. The BRC is especially framed to provide a means to develop missing middle housing and integrate housing density as infill development into existing low density residential zones. 

Reducing the Potential Cost of Development
Development cost includes more than the cost of labor and materials. Cost can also be attributed to the amount of time the development process takes to navigate from property acquisition to an occupiable structure; the required infrastructural improvements required to ensure adequate services and safe occupancy; and restrictive design standards imposed by municipal codes. Municipal codes should not impose a barrier that drives housing costs up in order to cover the cost of development. Streamlining permitting, imposing infrastructure alternatives, and strategically relaxing some design standards are all some ways that municipal codes can assist in reducing housing costs.

Ensuring Housing Equity and Availability
According to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, housing is a human right. In order to appropriately ensure housing for all members of the community, municipal code should adequately address the needs of everyone. Best available science and practice has recognized the faults in requiring strict segregation of certain housing types that can otherwise be reasonably located adjacent to each other. All community members deserve to have access to housing that meets their specific needs at any and all stages in their life. Successfully employed municipal codes should act as the framework providing diverse housing construction to support and encourage the realization of this right for everyone.  

Enabling Local Property Development Through Self Reliance
By amending Title 17 PAMC to be more easily read and interpreted, local property owners will more readily understand development requirements and make informed choices to maximize the use of their property. 

2021 Building Residential Capacity Code Changes:

The City was awarded a Washington State Department of Commerce grant in 2020 to support code changes that increase residential building capacity and address the design of new commercial and residential development. The three specific actions in this project are:

  1. Adopt a form-based code for the City’s five commercial zones that currently permit multi-family housing (these are the CO, CN, CSD, CA, and CBD zones).
  2. Increase the maximum number of lots available for “short plat” subdivisions (Port Angeles currently allows up to four lots, and nine lots are allowed under state law).
  3. Adopt an exemption for environmental review for certain residential or mixed-use infill development (under RCW 43.21C.229). This will involve establishing strategic design provisions that help mitigate impacts of more intensive infill development types (e.g. duplexes, townhouses, mixed-use buildings).

The City hired MAKERS architecture and urban design to consult and assist on all three actions.

Project Objectives

The City of Port Angeles’ objectives for this project are the following:

  • Adopt a form-based code that emphasizes the quality and design of new development while balancing economic feasibility.
  • Encourage and enable the development of more housing of all types and affordability levels throughout the city.
  • Promote and revitalize Downtown by increasing residential units and facilitating economic development.
  • Involve the public and local officials at all stages of the project to ensure the code reflects community priorities and values.
  • Implement the goals and policies of the Port Angeles Comprehensive Plan.

Project Funding

The City is leveraging State grant funding ($50,000) to accomplish this work.

Project Schedule

The code amendment was adopted by the City Council through Ordinance #3688 on December 21, 2021