Correcting False Claims About the New Land Use Code

False Claim #1: "The city ignored public input. The new code is barely changed from last year’s repealed version.”

The Truth: The new code is a compromise. Many changes have been made.

The following changes were made to last year's repealed code after months of outreach by city staff: lower maximum density allowed in Old Town; no duplexes allowed in the RL zone; extensive community engagement requirements; parking requirements for ADUs; HOAs can now regulate ADU site placement and require an on-site resident manager; short-term rental of new ADUs is prohibited.

False Claim #2 – “The new code increases density by 52%”

The Truth: There is only a 6% increase in housing capacity in existing residential neighborhoods and less than a 1% increase in the largest residential zone (RL).

Almost all new housing capacity under the new code is targeted for commercial and mixed-use zones in transit corridors and areas with buildable land. The 52% figure includes what was already allowed under the old 1997 code.

False Claim #3 – “It removes single family zoning from the city.”

The Truth: Single-family homes are still allowed in all zones (except public open spaces).

False Claim #4 – “It does nothing to improve affordability.”

The Truth: The housing affordability crisis is driven by a shortage of homes. 

We need a greater number and variety of housing types, and the new code legalizes more affordable options. The United Way, Neighbor to Neighbor, CARE Housing, Housing Catalyst, and Habitat for Humanity all publicly support the new land code because it promotes affordability. Staff estimates that capacity for Affordable deed-restricted units will increase by 194% under the new code.

This information is all readily available on the city's website, the city comprehensive plan, the 2021 housing plan and staff public presentations.