The Land Use Map

One important resource when reading or thinking about zoning in Seattle is the land use map. I’ve put a link over in the sidebar to the online map which divides the city into 221 pieces, each with a separate map.

The smaller maps look like this:

These maps are a bit of a challenge to use because they don’t necessarily have all the streets on the map and, sometimes, what is shown as a street is actually an undeveloped right of way. But this captures the zoning pattern. The code actually makes a point that all changes to land use in the city end up being reflected on the map. The map is actually part of the code just as much as the words are part of the code.

In my experience the map (especially this version) ends up being the point of reference, often, for land use discussions. People point to one blob of color on the map or another and talk about how “this area here should be changed” or “let’s push this back here and over here.” The map matters a lot both for how to understand the code and to talk about what it means across the city.

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