Councilmember Sally J. Clark
COUNCIL SETS IN MOTION UPDATE OF NEIGHBORHOOD PLANS
One-year assessment kicks off city-wide work while three high-priority areas jump immediately into planning
SEATTLE — City Council today authorized an update of neighborhood plans across the city. Councilmember Sally J. Clark, the chair of the Planning, Land Use and Neighborhoods Committee, said, “Ultimately, updating the neighborhood plans is an opportunity for us all to recommit to the vision of safe, affordable, sustainable neighborhoods for today and tomorrow.”
In 1999, nearly 20,000 citizens collaborated with city staff and consultants to produce 38 neighborhood plans for urban villages and urban centers in Seattle. The plans identify actions needed to ensure that each neighborhood thrives as Seattle grows over time. The original plans had 20-year horizons. The update process approved today provides the chance for a mid-life tune-up.
The process to update neighborhood plans will begin this fall in three changing neighborhoods and with a planning area status review throughout the city. City staff will work with neighborhood residents and business people to gather information to create snapshots of each neighborhood compared to 10 years ago, including demographic shifts, zoning, housing units and affordability, transportation upgrades in the past 10 years, new parks, and a neighborhood plan implementation report. The status reports will help neighborhood advocates and the city recognize gaps and inform decisions about whether or how to update particular plans. A Neighborhood Planning Advisory Committee, made of citizens appointed by the Mayor, Council and Neighborhood District Councils, will provide guidance to the updating process.
While the triage and reporting phase proceeds through 2009, light rail will start rolling through Rainier Valley and Beacon Hill to Downtown. Three neighborhoods in Southeast Seattle with light rail stations and significant multi-family and commercial area around them are about to become very popular, very fast -- Beacon Hill, McClellan and Othello. Updates of the plans for these three areas would get under way immediately.
Councilmember Clark said, “My goal is to ensure an update process that carries forward the best elements of citizen engagement and partnership from the city-wide, national model planning effort of 10 years ago while bringing new voices into the mix. This is a great opportunity for neighborhoods to look at where they are and what they want to be in the future.”