The city council approved legislation on Monday that clears Seattle Pacific University to explore growing into the industrial area north of its campus.

The council previously approved removing property zoned industrial at the corner of Eighth Avenue West and West Ewing Street from the Ballard/Interbay/ Northend Manufacturing/Industrial Center (BINMIC), and on June 10 it unanimously approved a land-use code change that allows major institutions “to operate more freely within a limited area zoned Industrial General 1 (IG1) and Industrial Buffer (IB),” according to a legislative summary.

The affected area is north of West Nickerson Street, between Eighth Avenue West and just north of Third Avenue West.

The private Christian university can now submit a letter of intent to the city to begin a new Major Institution Master Plan process, said Dave Church, SPU assistant vice president for facility management.

“We have a master plan; it’s 19 years old,” Church said. “It’s time that we would do another one. Basically, these two amendments allow the university to propose a new master plan process, moving our boundary into that area.”

Because major institutions can’t expand into single-family zones, SPU was encouraged to look at expanding its campus to the north, south or east, Church told Queen Anne News back in November. SPU was later encouraged to liquidate its properties south of campus.

The university sold its Robbins Apartments, 2701 Third Ave. W., to Bellwether Housing in 2012, and its two-acre tennis court and parking lot space, near the Queen Anne Bowl, to Aegis Living, which used it to construct its Aegis of Queen Anne at Rodgers Park facility.

SPU used the proceeds to help fund a new performance hall, as well as property acquisitions to the north and east of campus, within the zone in which it expects to eventually expand.

“There’s more left; probably a lot more left,” Church said. “We own some of the property north of Nickerson, and between Sixth Avenue and Third Avenue, but we don’t own it all.”

Seattle Pacific University’s last Major Institution Master Plan (MIMP) was adopted in August 2000, with work on its creation starting in 1998.

Once a letter of intent is filed with the city, the MIMP process can start. The two agencies that will assist in the process are the Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections and Department of Neighborhoods, which will first organize a citizen advisory committee. The CAC will represent the public’s interest as the new master plan is developed. Church expects work with CAC to be at least a two-year process.

“This limited expansion would occur away from existing residential development to the south and west of the institution, as requested by the neighborhood,” according to the legislative summary. “It would also create a limited opportunity for the University to reassess uses on this land, on which the University is the primary land holder.”

After the first CAC completed its work advising the creation of the master plan, it became a standing advisory committee, reviewing SPU’s development plans and making sure they followed the MIMP.

That group will be disbanded in order to establish another citizen advisory committee, though members could still apply to join the new CAC, Church said.

“There will be new blood that applies, and both the city and university will probably try to advertise and recruit people,” he said, “so the neighborhood is as widely represented as possible.”

Part of the master plan process will be deciding how far SPU might want to expand its major institution overlay into the industrial buffer land around it.

SPU worked with neighbors in the light industrial zone, and briefed the Queen Anne Community Council and its standing advisory committee, before proceeding with plans to update its master plan, Church said, and so far there have been no objections.

Before the June 10 council vote, District 7 City Councilmember Sally Bagshaw said that early outreach “has made a huge difference.”