Childcare Ordinance - Timeline

Childcare Ordinance Image


August 2020 City Council Passes the Childcare Near You Ordinance

The City Council originated this new ordinance to remove regulatory barriers to creating new child care businesses in Seattle, especially those conveniently located in neighborhoods. The City has an estimated shortage of available child care for about 16,000 children. 

July 2020 Councilmember Dan Strauss Proposes Childcare Near You Bill

The legislation includes the following kinds of changes to permitting requirements:

  • Removes limits on child care centers in homes; can be present in legal attached or detached accessory dwelling units, including in neighborhood residential zones
  • Defines child care centers not in homes as a land use "permitted outright" in neighborhood residential and lowrise multifamily zones, with fewer requirements and conditions
  • Removes a 600-foot "dispersion" requirement between child care uses and other institutional uses
  • Removes size limits in neighborhood commercial 1 and 2 zones
  • Allows child care uses to be exempt from floor area limits in more zones: midrise, highrise, commercial and Seattle mixed zones
  • Allows child care uses to be present at ground floor within pedestrian-designated zones
  • Defines more varieties of child care in the code, such as drop-in centers (by the day) and cooperative child care exchanges

April 2020 SDCI Publishes a SEPA Determination of Non-Significance on the Proposal

SDCI provided the required environmental impact review for this bill, and published the SEPA Determination on April 27, 2020. An appeal was made to this determination, but it was later dismissed without a hearing.

January 2020 Councilmember Dan Strauss Began Work on the Childcare Near You Legislation

Strauss: "Childcare touches on so many different issues: from the affordability of our city, to how equitable our neighborhoods are, to how we support working parents, and particularly working moms, who disproportionately bear the impact of our childcare shortage. Overall, the land use code should not be an additional barrier to quality childcare and this bill fixes that by removing unnecessary red tape."

Construction and Inspections

Nathan Torgelson, Director
Address: 700 5th Ave, Suite 2000, Seattle, WA, 98104
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 34019, Seattle, WA, 98124-4019
Phone: (206) 684-8600
Phone Alt: Violation Complaint Line: (206) 615-0808
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SDCI issues land use, construction, and trade permits, conducts construction and housing-related inspections, ensures compliance with our codes, and regulates rental rules. SDCI is committed to an antiracist workplace and to addressing racism through our work in the community.