Residential Moratorium

Six-month Temporary Moratorium on New Residential Development Ends

On February 12th, 2018, the City Council passed Ordinance NO. 1383 declaring an immediate six-month moratorium on the acceptance of certain residential development applications. The Council was concerned about the pace of growth in the City.  In the last five years, the city population has risen by 30% and there are currently 1,200 dwelling units in the permit pipeline.

Since February 12th, the City has worked on amendments to development codes that preserves the city’s character and vision while allowing it to grow responsibly.  Two ordinances were passed during the moratorium.  The amendments within those are summarized below.  These changes will be effective when the City is allowed to accept all residential permit applications on August 13th, 2018.

Amendments from Ordinance No. 1389, May 29, 2018 

1. Prohibit serial short plats: Short plats on continuous properties with common ownership cannot be submitted within a one-year period. (GHMC 16.04)
2. Maximum Density B-2 and C-1: Set a maximum density of 6 dwelling units per acre for B-2 and C-1. (GHMC 17.36 and 17.40)
3. Residential Use in DB: Allow residential use as a permitted use in the DB but require the use to be located above or below street-level nonresidential use with a maximum density of 8 dwelling units per acre. (GHMC 17.14 and 17.31)
4. Minimum Density R-1: Removed the minimum required density for the R-1 zone. The maximum of 4 dwelling units per acre remains. (GHMC 17.16)
5. Maximum Density in RB-2: Eliminated the maximum 12 dwelling units to the acre allowed through the conditional use permit process.  The outright permitted 8 dwelling units to the acre would be retained. (GHMC 17.30)
6. PRD Density Bonus: Eliminated the density bonus allowance in PRDs. (GHMC 17.89). 

Amendments from Ordinance No. 1393, July 23, 2018:
1. Net Buildable Area: Removal of streams and specified critical area buffers from net buildable area calculations. (GHMC 17.05)
2. Density Ranges: Removing the minimum density requirement in the R-2, RB-1, WR, WC, and WM zoning districts and lowering the maximum density from 4 to 3 in the RB-1, WR, WM, and WC zoning districts. (GHMC 17.20, 17.28, 17.46, 17.48, 17.50)
3. Significant Trees in Short Plats: Requiring 15% of significant trees to be retained in short plats. (GHMC 17.78, 17.99)
4. Guest Parking: Requiring one (1) guest parking space for every four dwelling units in residential developments with ten (10) or more units. (GHMC 17.72)

Reason for the Moratorium:
The City Council noted that significant growth and development in the City is the cause of widespread concern of City residents expressed in the election of mayor and councilmembers in the 2017 election. In the last five years, the city population has risen by 30% and there are currently 1,200 dwelling units in the permit pipeline.  The Council has identified six potential code amendments that could address this residential growth, as shown on Exhibit A of the ordinance.

The council expressed concern that the rapid pace of residential development will continue and that there is the strong potential for additional residential development permits to be filed and become vested before the City staff, Planning Commission, and City Council can perform the study, public outreach and participation, and decision-making necessary to adopt any of those amendments.  

The Council felt that the vesting of additional residential land use permit applications prior to the completion of the desired study, public outreach and participation, and decision-making would be detrimental to the public health, safety and welfare.

Background and Supporting Documents

Project Flow Table updated from June 6th City Council Work-study
Ordinance 1389 – Group 1 Amendments
Ordinance 1388 – Moratorium Amendments
Project Flow Table updated from May 29th Council Meeting

Project Flow Table from May 14th Council Meeting
All Public Comments through May 4th

Message from your Mayor Kit Kuhn- April 12th, 2018

Council Bill for Residential Moratorium- March 26th, 2018 Public Hearing

Council Bill for Planning Assistance Services Contract- March 26th, 2018 Public Hearing

Initial work plan memo to Planning & Building Committee- March 5th, 2018.

Ordinance 1383– Adopted and effective February 12th, 2018
Addressing Growth Memo–February 5th, 2018 Council Work-study Session

Comments and Questions
For more information on how the moratorium may impact your project, stop by the Planning Department at the Civic Center, call 253-851-6170, or email