Religious symbols for religious institutions may extend an additional twenty-five (25) feet above the height limit.
Rules about religious symbols are in more than one spot in the code. I thought I would take a quick survey of religious symbols. It ends up that, most often, the religious symbol being used is the cross, the most significant symbol for Christians. The cross is frequently elevated high above a building or nearby. Seattle doesn’t have too many ostentatious crosses or ones that are truly outsized. I found only one other faith expressing itself symbolically, at a local Jewish temple. But there wasn’t anything that seemed to trigger the code. There are likely other religious symbols around town, but the cross alone seems to be the one that would most likely trigger issues in the land use code because of the tendency to elevate it above the roof line of the building. One might ask “why use it this way?” There’s a hint in the lyrics of an Anglican hymn about why the cross gets lifted up.
Lift High The Cross Lift high the cross, the love of Christ proclaim, Till all the world adore His sacred Name. Led on their way by this triumphant sign, The hosts of God in conquering ranks combine. Each newborn servant of the Crucified Bears on the brow the seal of Him Who died. O Lord, once lifted on the glorious tree, As Thou hast promised, draw the world to Thee. So shall our song of triumph ever be: Praise to the Crucified for victory.
The evangelism (or some might say proselytizism) of the cross is hard to miss when expressed in this hymn. But what does the cross mean architecturally? The cross has long been the brand identifier for just about every form of Christian expression, even without the triumphalism of the hymn. But the cross can be humble. Or grand. But mostly, the cross is ubiquitous, lurking here and there, a traditional expression of the irony of how a brutal method of execution would become the promise of resurrection from the dead. For some, certainly, the cross might be a symbol of cultural oppression, representing cultural imperialism, sexism, and war. Others might say the opposite, suggesting that it’s the cultural of imperialism and capitalism that is blocking out the cross. However one feels about it, the cross was surprisingly easy to find.
Update: Thanks to a helpful commenter Sotosoroto
I found another religious symbol, the crescent near Northgate.