Multi-Family Design Standards

Background:  Design standards or guidelines can be used by cities to require development to be built in specific way. These can include engineering and site requirements, as well as standards for aesthetics and architectural appearance. The City of Edmonds has updated some of its standards and guidelines in recent years, but does not have specific guidelines for multi-family zones.

Note: Changes to the existing standards would require a zoning code amendment, which includes a public process.

Policy Proposal: Enhance current design standards of new multi-family dwellings, especially those with low to middle income housing, to maintain and enhance the unique characteristics of the Edmonds community. Building types would include mixed use buildings, small multi-family buildings and larger multi-family buildings.

Renter's Choice Security Deposit

Policy Proposal:  Reduce the up-front cost of security deposits for renters while keeping landlords whole for costs that are normally covered by such deposits. The policy may be implemented through the following steps:

  • Allow tenants of all income levels choices in how to pay those security deposits.

  • Allow tenant applicants to pay by:

    • Buying rental security insurance

    • Installment payment of security deposits - at least six equal monthly payments.

    • Pay ‘reduced’ security deposit of no more than 50% of one months’ rent.

  • All rental properties of 25 or more units will offer the Renter’s Choice program.

  • Before signing a rental agreement, the landlord provides tenant written notice of the Choice plan.

Simplify zoning code language

Background:  The City’s zoning code is sometimes hard for users to understand, making it difficult to use.

Policy Proposal:  Use diagrams, pictures, and tables in place of text where applicable. Use plain language where text is necessary.

Streamline permitting process

Background:  There are many types of permits for land use development. One type is a “conditional use” permit, which has additional permit review for certain kinds of applications. It also requires a higher fee and a longer process for the applicant compared to other types of land use permits. 

Note: Changes the City’s permitting process would require a code amendment, which includes a public process.

Policy Proposal:  Reduce the number of conditional uses to streamline the permit process.

Childcare voucher program


Childcare costs can be substantial for working parents.  If childcare costs are reduced, this savings can help offset the cost of housing and contribute to the quality of life in Edmonds.   A Childcare Voucher program for this purpose could be established in Edmonds, perhaps under the direction of the City’s newly established Human Services Manager.

Policy Proposal:  Recommend Council explores Childcare Voucher program for people who work and/or live in Edmonds under the direction of the City’s newly established Human Services manager.