In 2004, the Comprehensive Plan update designated South Lake Union as an urban center to recognize the expected growth (view map of South Lake Union urban center). The Comprehensive Plan established growth targets of 16,000 new jobs and 8,000 new households to be added to the neighborhood between 2004 and 2024 Following this designation, DPD working with SLUFAN and other community stakeholders began a two-year process to update the 1998 South Lake Union Neighborhood Plan to reflect its new role as a regional center for housing and employment. The new South Lake Union Urban Center Neighborhood Plan was adopted by the City Council in 2007.
The updated South Lake Union neighborhood plan builds on
- the 1998 neighborhood plan;
- requirements for Urban Center plans under the Countywide Planning Policies;
- plans for large scale redevelopment of the neighborhood;
- major public investments planned for the neighborhood;
- public comments and input;
- and ongoing City work.
The new neighborhood plan consists of four parts:
- recommendations to amend the South Lake Union neighborhood goals and policies in the Comprehensive Plan;
- an update to the recognized neighborhood plan to reflect new goals and address requirements in the Countywide Planning Policies;
- an updated set of strategies to implement the goals and policies; and
- community prioritization of the policies and strategies.
Goals & Policies
DPD worked with South Lake Union neighborhood groups and City departments to develop new goals and policies (view comprehensive plan SLU pages) for the neighborhood. These goals and policies reflect a new vision for the neighborhood as a livable, walkable and sustainable community which recognizes its maritime and industrial past, but also embraces its future as a center for innovative thinking in the region. The revised goals and policies reflect public comment received at that meeting and from community groups. These goals and policies were adopted by the City Council in the fall of 2006 as the "South Lake Union" section of the City's Comprehensive Plan.
Neighborhood Plan Strategies
The next phase of planning identified specific strategies to meet the neighborhood’s goals (view Draft South Lake Union Neighborhood Plan Strategies). These strategies were developed with comments from the public, from the projects listed below, and from input from City departments. At a neighborhood workshop on April 4, 2006 (see flyer) community members discussed key strategies in the plan (see workshop questions, workshop summary, and workshop notes).
The new plan focuses on five key topics: Neighborhood Character, Transportation, Parks and Open Space, Housing and Sustainable Development. Under each of these topics, are one or more goals for the neighborhood's future. In order to meet those goals, the plan identifies “policies”, which provide broad direction for City and neighborhood action, and “strategies” which are more specific actions to be implemented over the next twenty years. The goals, policies and strategies all build on significant work undertaken in South Lake Union over the last five years as part of the Mayor's Action Agenda for South Lake Union. Among the projects that are reflected in the proposed goals, policies and strategies are:
- Existing South Lake Union Neighborhood Plan
- South Lake Union Streetcar Project
- South Lake Union Transportation Study
- North Downtown Park Plan
- Housing Principles and Action Steps
- Seattle's Biotech Strategy
- South Lake Union Design Guidelines
- Community initiatives for sustainable development
- University of Washington's Department of Urban Design and Planning studios (spring and fall 2005)
- South Lake Union On-Street Parking Plan
Neighborhood Plan Priorities
During the final phase of the neighborhood plan update, community members prioritized the policies and strategies from the neighborhood plan. These priorities reflect the work of a diverse group of neighborhood stakeholders from South Lake Union Friends and Neighbors and the Cascade Neighborhood Council and input during an extensive public comment period. The priorities, and timeframes for implementation, are intended to provide direction to decision-makers regarding the relative importance of the different recommendations of the neighborhood plan.