Skip to main content

Seattle may ease path for community groups to develop properties

caption: The proposed Cham Refugees Community Center.
Enlarge Icon
The proposed Cham Refugees Community Center.
Studio Senbel Architecture + Design, via City of Seattle report

On Monday, the Seattle City Council will consider a suite of new reforms that could make it easier for institutions led by communities of color to develop new buildings.

The Cham community in Seattle consists of mostly Muslim refugees who’ve fled conflicts in Southeast Asia.

Its members pooled their money to build a community center.

But zoning laws required them to put in 62 parking stalls, even though many members live within walking distance.

Slayman Appadolo is project manager for the group. He says they would have preferred to use more of their land for other things.

“Just green space," he says. "Or we would be able to expand the multipurpose room, the gym, to be a more useable space – something more closer to a basketball court or something like [that]. Because as we have it, it’s very small.”

The new rules would allow community centers and libraries to build fewer parking stalls, freeing up more of their land.

Those rules would also allow community centers to include some income-generating uses of their property, such as coffee shops, to help fund their operations.

They'd also make it easier for community farms such as Nurturing Roots to set up in neighborhood residential areas.

Why you can trust KUOW