Builders in Seattle would be required to identify the impact of large projects on climate change if legislation by City Councilmember Peter Steinbrueck wins approval.

The proposal, introduced Monday, does not require builders to alter their plans. Similar to an executive order put in place by King County Executive Ron Sims, it is meant as a first step toward limiting the projects' effects on the environment. "This leads the way to mitigating the environmental pollution that is contributing to global warming caused by projects," said Steinbrueck, who is not seeking re-election Nov. 6.

The policy would apply to public and private projects that trigger a State Environmental Policy Act, or SEPA, review. Those reviews take place before the city issues building permits. Examples of projects that trigger a review include a 25-unit apartment building, a downtown high-rise or a parking lot with more than 20 spaces.

Steinbrueck said if his legislation passes, any proposal to rebuild the Alaskan Way Viaduct would have to identify how many single-occupant vehicle trips would be added. Steinbrueck opposes an elevated replacement. "If we're going to make investments in transportation, they should reduce, not increase, the carbon footprint," he said.

The legislation will be discussed at the City Council's Nov. 28 land-use committee meeting. If the full council approves it, the Department of Planning and Development would have to define how to measure the impact of construction on global warming.


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