Pursuing Housing For All
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 email@example.com 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.
Mail: City of Port Angeles
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.
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:
- Code as a Barrier to Affordable Housing Development
- Increasing Flexibility in Zoning Code Provisions
- Increasing Housing Density Availability
- Reducing the Potential Cost of Development
- Ensuring Housing Equity and Availability
- 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:
- 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).
- 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).
- 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.
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.
The City is leveraging State grant funding ($50,000) to accomplish this work.
The code amendment was adopted by the City Council through Ordinance #3688 on December 21, 2021
Public Engagement Effort
To ensure the code amendment process best reflects the values and needs of the community, the City will schedule several opportunities for citizens to participate and provide feedback. The first event, a public workshop, was held at the Port Angeles Main Library on January 23, 2023 from 3:00 - 7:00 PM. Additional events include a public hearing in front of the Planning Commission on February 8th, which the Planning Commission continued to February 22nd. The Planning Commission recommended approval of the draft Municipal Code Amendment to City Council following the close of the public hearing. Meeting dates are subject to change and will be announced on the City’s website.
As a resident of Port Angeles, you can help to determine its future. The City of Port Angeles is here to empower its residents to create the community they want to live in. To do so, share your perspective on housing in Port Angeles and what you would like to see changed or preserved in Title 17 of the PAMC.
Here are ways you can stay active and involved in this code update and engage in the decision-making process:
- Write a letter to City officials and staff (please send correspondence to: City of Port Angeles, Attn: Dept. of Community & Economic
- Development, 321 East 5th Street, Port Angeles, WA 98362).
- Ask questions in person at City Hall, by phone at (360) 417-4817, or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Provide public testimony during the Public Hearing on February 8th and 22nd at 6:00 PM.
- Attend the City Council meeting on March 7th at 6:00 PM.
- Reach out to your elected officials (www.cityofpa.us/citycouncil).
- Check our website for updates (https://www.cityofpa.us/1051/Pursuing-Housing-For-All).
- Subscribe to receive City News & Announcements via email.
- Tell your friends and family; if it matters to you, it matters to them.
Upcoming Public Engagement and Input Opportunities (Updated December 16)
Planning Commission Presentation of Title 17 Code Update Priority List
- Tuesday, March 7th after 6:00 PM - City Council Chambers: City Council First Reading of Ordinance
- Tuesday, March 21st after 6:00 PM - City Council Chambers: Final Adoption of Title 17 Amendment Ordinance
Other potential opportunities to speak with staff leading up to the January 23rd Public Workshop included outreach at public locations such as the Downtown Skating Rink and Farmers Market. Staff was present at the Port Angeles Farmers Market on January 7th, 14th, and 21st.
Do you have a comment or question about the project or proposed code changes? Staff are available in person by booking an advanced appointment:
Other ways to contact city staff:
Mail correspondence to:
City of Port Angeles
c/o Planning Division
321 E 5th Street
Port Angeles, WA 98362
IF EMAILING OR MAILING A COMMENT, PLEASE PROVIDE THE FOLLOWING SUBJECT LINE: Re: PHFA Code Update Public Comment
Early work on the project involved an in-depth audit of the Port Angeles zoning code and related Comprehensive Plan policies, and a series of interviews with local stakeholders such as business owners, property owners, public officials, and local non-profit groups. Some initial findings that will help guide the project are listed below.
Top findings from the Comprehensive Plan and zoning code audit
- Comprehensive Plan policies call for mitigating the impacts of commercial development, orienting development toward pedestrians, and diversifying the price points of housing. This can be implemented by zoning changes and updated standards for landscaping, privacy, service/utility design, streetscape, parking design, etc.
- The lack of current design standards was notable – for missing middle housing types (duplexes, townhouses, etc.), multifamily, and commercial development.
- The narrow range of permitted building heights in the Central Business District (CBD) is a challenge, with a two-story minimum, 45-feet maximum, and special-use permit option to exceed the maximum.
- There is room for improvement with the off-street parking regulations; Strategic parking standards updates can be made to promote desired development and reduce impervious surface while balancing transportation impacts.
- The zoning code is not easy to use. It could be improved by using lists and tables instead of long paragraphs, use more clear language and better organization, and add graphics to help illustrate the code and set expectations.
- Subdivision standards and site plan review processes can be streamlined and enhanced.
Top findings from the Port Angeles stakeholder interviews during the Building Residential Capacity Code Update
- The code needs to be more consistent and have less surprises. At the same time, avoid being excessively detailed with design standards and consider the ramifications of zoning on related issues like public works and utilities.
- Housing affordability is an increasing challenge. This is partly driven by slow housing construction, lack of affordable housing choices, and regulatory challenges. Several stakeholders identified high costs associated with stormwater management rules, the state energy code, and other regulations not related to the zoning code.
- Single-family housing is highly sought after but expensive to build and maintain. There is strong interest in accessory dwelling units (ADUs) but they are challenging to meet code requirements. Duplexes seem to be popular and are being built. There is also a significant need for multifamily housing (apartments or condominiums) to meet workforce housing demand.
- Downtown merits the most attention from a design standpoint, although it is not likely to see many new buildings in the coming years. The Highway 101 corridors on the south and east side of town have many opportunities for investment and should be designed to be more attractive and functional.
- Stakeholders provided specific code challenges and suggestions relating to administration, organization, restrictive lot dimension standards, updates to permitted land uses, and flexibility for parking requirements. In residential zones, several stakeholders suggested reducing minimum lot width to 25 feet and reducing minimum lot size to 3,500 feet to support small infill housing projects.
Pursuing Housing for All Documents and Resources
- RCW 36.70A(600) - Building Residential Capacity Guidance
- Staff Memo to Planning Commission: Priority List of Title 17 Code Changes
- Staff Memo to Planning Commission: Proposed Code Change Concepts
- Staff Memo to Planning Commission: Response to Planning Commissioner Proposed Amendments to Title 17
- Staff Memo to City Council: Temporary Housing Alternatives
- Original Planning Commissioner Code Amendment Request
- SEPA Determination of Non-significance No. 1461
- Scroll to the top of this page for documents associated with the February 8th and 22nd public hearing.
Meetings and Presentations
- February 22, 2023 Hybrid Planning Commission Public Hearing @ 6:00 PM - continued from February 8th
- February 8, 2023 Hybrid Planning Commission Public Hearing @ 6:00 PM
- January 11, 2023 Hybrid Planning Commission Meeting @ 6:00 PM - Review of Draft Title 17 Changes
- December 28, 2022 Hybrid Planning Commission Meeting @ 6:00 PM - Code Amendment Priorities List and ADU Code update example
- December 14, 2022 Planning Commission Meeting - Staff and PC List of Recommendations for Amendment Items
- September 28, 2022 Planning Commission Meeting - Recommendation to Council on Temporary Housing and Continued Discussion on Code Update Recommendations
- September 20, 2022 City Council Meeting - Religious Organization Temporary Housing Alternatives
- September 14, 2022 Planning Commission - Staff Response to PC Led Code Update Recommendations
- July 13, 2022 Planning Commission Meeting - Introduction of Commission Recommendations
The following resources may not necessarily reflect the views of the City on all issues.
- The Color of Law by Richard Rothstein
- Down and Out in America: The Origins of Homelessness by Peter H. Rossi
- Evicted by Matthew Desmond
- Fixer-Upper: How to Repair America's Broken Housing Systems by Jenny Schuetz
- Golden Gates by Conor Dougherty
- Race for Profit: How Banks and the Real Estate Industry Undermined Black Homeownership by Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor
Websites and Articles:
- Clallam County Housing Solutions Committee
- Housing Washington
- Missing Middle Housing
- Seattle University School of Law – Homeless Rights Advocacy Project
- Strong Towns
- Washington Low Income Housing Alliance
Building Residential Capacity Documents and Resources
- Stakeholder Interviews Summary
- Workshop and Survey Summary
- Draft Code Update
- Public Comment as of October 22nd
Final Planning Commission Staff Report
The Staff Report for the Building Residential Capacity is available for public review. The Report was presented to the Planning Commission at their regular Wednesday, November 10, 2021 Public Meeting and the City Council's regular Tuesday, November 16, 2021 Meeting. The Planning Commission will forward their recommendation to City Council based upon the record presented below.
- PZ 21-55 Staff Report - Municipal Code Amendments to Titles 14,15,16, and 17
- Appendix A: Title 14, 15, 16 and 17 municipal code amendments
- Appendix A1: Stakeholder Interviews Summary
- Appendix A2: Workshop and Survey Summary
- Appendix B: Public Comment Matrix by Code Reference
- Appendix C: Individual Public Comments by Date Received
- Appendix D: Major Code Changes for Second Draft
Meetings and Presentations
All presentation links not in zoom require you click on the green arrow titled "stream"
- City Council – September 1, 2020 (Time Stamp 1:56:00)
- Planning Commission – September 9, 2020 (Time Stamp 00:22:00)
- City Council Work Session – April 27, 2021
- April 27 Presentation Slides (included in the survey as well)
- June 9th Planning Commission Workshop Recording
- Workshop Presentation Slides (included in the survey as well)
- Click here for the Workshop and Survey Results
- September 22 presentation by MAKERS to Planning Commission .
- Presentation slides from the September 22 Draft Code Presentation
- October 13th Planning Commission public hearing (password is PC1013ph)
- October 27th Planning Commission Meeting and Discussion (password is pc#BRC_102721)
- November 10th Virtual Planning Commission Meeting (password: PC1110ph)
- Port Angeles Comprehensive Plan (2019)
- Housing Action Plan (2019)
- Downtown Port Angeles Sustainable Design Assessment – American Institute of Architects (2009)
- Envision Port Angeles Code Update Concurrent Process Webpage