Urban Separator Project

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We need your help!

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. Your ideas will help City staff 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. 


What is an urban separator?

“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:


What is the urban separator project all about?

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 need to study how more buildings in urban separator areas could affect the environment, and find out 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.


What kinds of “options” is the City looking at?

City planners have come up with some ideas for urban separators. These aren’t the only things the City could do, and we don’t have to choose one or the other. The City is hoping more ideas from you will help guide their discussions.

  1. Don’t make any changes. Leave urban separators the way they are.
  2. Find ways to support land owners keeping their land as open space – for example, lowering their tax bills.
  3. Keep urban separators the way they are for now, but find areas that could be used for more housing in the future if the City runs out of space to build.
  4. Change the rules for how houses in urban separators can be built – like how much open space needs to be left in place, how far apart the houses need to be, and what kinds of buildings can go there.
  5. Find areas in urban separators that could be used for more housing now and designate them as something other than urban separators.


Where can I get more information?

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


If you have more questions, contact:

Danielle Butsick
Sr. Long-Range Planner