Urban Separator Project

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Our City has some decisions to make about open space and housing.

The City needs to make some tough decisions about how to balance the need for more housing for Kent residents with the long-term benefits of preserving open space. City staff are using community input to come up with policy options to recommend to the Kent City Council.

Thanks to everyone who participated in interviews and meetings, provided comments, or completed the urban separators survey.  Click here for a summary of the outreach results. 

 

"Urban separator" is a land use designation the city uses to help keep open space and limit new housing.

“Urban separator” is a type of land use designation in Kent that’s part of the City’s comprehensive plan and the county’s planning policies. It is meant to preserve open space, connect wildlife corridors, and protect sensitive environmental areas, while allowing a small amount of housing. Zoning rules in urban separators allow one single-family home per acre. Kent’s urban separators are shown in green in the map below:

 

 

This project is about finding the best use for land in urban separators.

Kent first designated urban separators back in 2001. A lot has changed since then, and more people than ever want to live in Kent! Now some people who own land in urban separator areas want to build more houses on their properties than the current rules allow.

City Council asked City planners to find out if it might make sense to allow more housing in certain urban separator areas and how the rules would need to change to make that happen. Planners have studied how more houses in urban separator areas could affect the environment, and have asked what people who live in Kent want them to look like in the future.

Whatever the City decides to do needs to fit with the goals of the City, the county and the Puget Sound region.

 

The City is looking at multiple options.

City planners have come up with some policy options for urban separators., and have presented them to the City's Land Use and Planning Board (LUPB).  Some of the options could be done at the same time. 

  1. Don’t make any changes. Leave urban separators the way they are.
  2. Make some zoning code amendments to:

    a) make it easier to build on developable areas in urban separators, and

    b) require that sensitive areas be permanently protected, and

    c) allow different types of houses in urban separators.

  3. Change the land use designation and zoning for a small area (8 parcels) near Panther Lake to allow more density.

 

There is more information available. 

City planners have prepared the following documents as part of the project:

 

If you have more questions, contact:

Danielle Butsick, AICP
Sr. Long-Range Planner
dbutsick@kentwa.gov
253-856-5443