Affordable Housing Demonstration Program

On November 4, 2019, the Burien City Council adopted Council adopted Ordinance 718 supporting the creation of an affordable housing demonstration program. Some of the types of housing and density allowances in the ordinance are not currently permitted under existing city regulations.

The new program allows up to five affordable housing demonstration development projects be developed in Burien. The Planning Commission and Council are both involved in evaluating the projects and assessing if they are compatible in the neighborhood. The Council is authorized under the ordinance to select up to five projects. No more than two could have the same housing type, projects would need to be separated from one another by a minimum distance of 1,500 feet, and there could be no more than two projects with the same housing type. Developers will be required to host at least two community meetings per project, inviting neighbors from at least a 1,000 feet radius.

The City’s Comprehensive Plan (Pol. HS 1.21) has a policy, in place since 2003, which allows for the development of an affordable housing demonstration project or program. However, there have been no proposals from developers expressing a desire to pursue such a project.

The demonstration program provides incentives and flexibility for the development of affordable housing during a defined period, providing the City with an opportunity to evaluate potential barriers to the construction of affordable housing and make recommendations on changes to development regulations.

Program Requirements and Submittal Checklist

The City has developed a submittal checklist which outlines the specifics of the program and the process as well as requirements to apply for a project under this program.

Contact Us

Please contact City staff with questions relating to the program and requirements: Nicole Guadette, Senior Planner, (206) 241-4647, planning@burienwa.gov.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where are these projects allowed?

Projects would be allowed in mixed use zones citywide, not in industrial and airport Industrial zones.

How long is the demonstration program?

Three years.

How many projects will be allowed?

Up to five projects.

Will the City of Burien be constructing affordable housing?

No. This program provides the opportunity for the City to provide incentives and flexibility for the private development of affordable housing during a defined period.

What types of housing will be allowed?

Housing types allowed include cottages, duplexes, triplexes, townhomes, congregate housing, tiny homes, and mixed use buildings. No more than 2 projects with the same housing type will be allowed.

How far apart does each project need to be located?

Projects must be at least 1,500 feet from each other.

How do you define “affordable”?

Income levels are determined by the King County average media income (AMI). One project must be affordable for someone making 0-30% King County’s AMI. The rest must be affordable to someone making 50% of King County’s AMI or less.

How can neighborhoods learn more or make comment?

Developers will be required to host at least two community meetings per project, inviting neighbors from at least a 1,000 feet radius. Each project will also go before both the Planning Commission and City Council for final approval. Public comment will be accepted during those meetings.

Who approves the projects?

The Planning Commission will recommend to Council based on criteria set in the ordinance. City Council will then review and provide approval in advance of the City’s Community Development department issuing permits.