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Be it ordained by the City of Seattle

Recently, Seattle's zoning code changed. Ordinance 126509 ( changes the zoning name for all "Single Family" zones to "Neighborhood Residential".

This change was signed by the mayor in December 2021 and went into effect in June 2022. The online repository for the zoning, MuniCode Services Ltd., updated its text not long after. It's essentially a superficial change, just the name of the zones only, yet it affected everything from the text of the zoning code to the maps that needed to be updated, the references, and on and on. The length of the ordinance is 218 pages, and it just laboriously goes through each mention of the former zone name and strikes it out, to be replaced by the new zone name.

UrbanForm had to update all of its code to accept the new changes in the data sources. While this was a herculean effort for the city (it took them over two years to plan and implement), UrbanForm was built to process a change like this in a matter of minutes.

That's part of the benefit of our technology--we can update it in one place and it will propagate automatically for all applicable sites.

You don't even have to know we did anything.

This is all in service of the idea that you should be able to know immediately what regulations apply to a single site, without having to sift through thousands of pages of text to do so.

We're doing this in service of the architects and developers who are trying to create the best solutions for their clients and the broader public--making their job less about searching for rules and more about solving problems.

But we're curious to know--for Seattle-based architects, how are they managing the process of acquiring zoning information for their projects?


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