The Mayors recommendations for how Seattle will grow
over the next 20 years are now available. Part of the mandated
10-year update to amend Seattles Comprehensive (Comp)
Plan, these recommendations were gathered from the public,
city staff and planning commissioners, and compiled by DPDs
City Planning staff. City Council will consider and vote on
the proposed amendments this fall.
The Comp Plan provides guidance for regulations and future
investments that will make growth work. The goals and policies
appear in 10 elements or chapters, each dealing
with a growth-related topic: land use, transportation, housing,
capital facilities, utilities, economic development, neighborhood
planning, human development, cultural resources and environment.
The City first adopted the Comp Plan in 1994 to cover the
period up to 2014. The state Growth Management Act requires
that the City review and update the Comp Plan in 2004 and
this years update anticipates growth to the year 2024.
Between now and then, the City is planning to accommodate
about 47,000 new households and about 83,000 new jobs.
DPD has led the interdepartmental staff work on this review,
working closely with the Seattle
Planning Commission to identify key issues to include
in the update and to engage the public in discussions about
potential amendments. After more than a year and a half of
reviewing the current plan, its successes and shortcomings,
and consulting with elected officials and the public, the
staff has compiled the recommended amendments detailed below.
Highlights of the Mayor's
None of the recommended amendments to the Comp Plan would
alter the Citys commitment to the urban
village strategy or to accommodating its share of growth.
The biggest changes are in the Land Use, Transportation and
Environment elements, but some changes are proposed for nearly
every element. In addition, the plans appendices, which
include statistics and supporting data, have been extensively
updated. The more significant proposals are summarized below.
Land Use Element
Splitting the Land Use Element into two separate elements
and creating a new Urban Village Element is recommended. This
new element will include goals and policies most related to
defining how urban centers and villages are expected to function
and how much growth they are expected to accommodate. It will
also help show how policies in other elements fit with the
strategy. One significant recommendation is to change South
Lake Union from urban village to urban center in order to
acknowledge the higher levels of growth expected there.
The remaining policies from the current Land Use Element
are primarily those that shape the Citys development
regulations. These have been reorganized to reduce repetition,
to eliminate details that are more appropriate in the Citys
Land Use Code, and to make the policies easier to follow.
One recommended shift in policy is to consider requiring less
parking for new development projects in urban centers and
villages than currently required, in order to encourage less
reliance on cars. Another recommendation is to add policies
governing Environmentally Critical Areas to this element;
currently those policies exist as a separate document outside
the Comp Plan.
A substantial reorganization of the Transportation Element
is recommended to make the relationship of its policies more
logical, both within the Comp Plan and between it and the
Transportation Strategic Plan (TSP). The TSP is a functional
plan that contains specific tools the City intends to use
to carry out the Comp Plans transportation-related policies.
The TSP is also being revised this year, and the City is using
the opportunity of the two updates to move some implementation
details from the Comp Plan into the TSP, and some policies
from the TSP into the Comp Plan.
One notable change in the Transportation Element is the establishment
of goals for each urban center regarding the percentage of
people who travel by means other than a single-occupant vehicle.
Currently the Comp Plan has a citywide goal, but that does
not adequately target the change in travel behavior to the
places where that change is most likely to occur. The urban
centers, because they are expected to take 60 percent of the
future household growth and about 80 percent of the job growth,
will be well suited for some people to walk to work or easily
get transit to work, and for many people to walk to services
Substantial changes to the Environment Element are proposed
to make it deal primarily with broad environmental directions
and move more specific policies to other elements, such as
transportation or utilities. The recommended element includes
protecting human health as the underlying motive for some
of the environmental policies. The recommendation also adds
a set of policies that address the citys fresh and salt
water habitats. Another new recommended policy calls for establishing
a monitoring system that would track several key aspects of
the Comp Plan as a way to determine whether it is producing
a more sustainable urban environment.
Neighborhood Planning Element
The recommendations include adding new goals and policies
to the Wallingford Neighborhood Plan, as a result of further
planning work done in that neighborhood, and putting the Northgate
Plan into the Comp Plan for the first time. As the Northgate
Plan was prepared before the Comp Plan was adopted, and prior
to the citywide neighborhood planning program, its policies
have never received the same Comp Plan recognition given to
What Is the Comp Plans
Urban Village Strategy?
When the Comp Plan was first adopted, it introduced an urban
village strategy as the fundamental approach for accepting
new growth. This strategy basically directed most of the expected
growth and most new public services, like transit and libraries,
into designated urban centers and urban villages. Urban centers
are planned to be the densest, mixed-use neighborhoods, having
high concentrations of both jobs and housing. The original
plan identified five urban centers: Downtown, First Hill/Capitol
Hill, Uptown, University District and Northgate.
Additionally, the plan identified 25 urban villages, that
also allow both commercial and residential growth, but at
lower densities than the urban centers. These include places
like Lake City, Ballard, Columbia City and Admiral. Overall,
the urban centers and villages were projected to take about
75 percent of the citys household growth during the
plans life. The plan also designates two manufacturing/industrial
centersthe Duwamish and Interbaywhere only industrial
job growth is expected. Together, these places served as the
focus for the neighborhood planning effort of the late 1990s.
Council Briefings and Public
The City Council is considering these proposed amendments
to the Comp Plan and development regulations. The three pieces
of legislation being considered are:
- An ordinance amending goals and policies in the Comp Plan
- A resolution amending the Comp Plans Vision statement
- An ordinance amending the Citys Land Use Code and
SEPA Ordinance to make them consistent with proposed amendments
to the Comp Plan
This proposed legislation would amend the Comp Plan, which
the Council first adopted in 1994, and respond to requirements
in the state Growth Management Act for the City to review
and update the Comp Plan by December 1, 2004.
The Council may also consider amendments proposed through
the public participation process and several proposals added
to the docket for consideration by the Council in Resolution
The full Council will receive a briefing on the proposed Comp
Plan amendments at 9:30 a.m. on Aug. 9, followed by a briefing
of the Urban Development and Planning Committee at 2 p.m.
on Aug. 11. Both briefings will be held in the City Council
Chamber, 2nd floor, Seattle City Hall, 600 Fourth Avenue.
The entrance to City Hall is located on Fifth Avenue between
James and Cherry Streets.
The City Councils Urban Development and Planning Committee
will hold a public hearing to take public comments on the
legislation and other potential amendments. The hearing will
be held at 5:30 p.m. on Sept. 7, in the City Council Chamber.
For those who wish to testify, a sign-up sheet will be available
one half hour before the public hearing. Questions concerning
the public hearing may be directed to Neil Powers in Councilmember
Peter Steinbruecks office, (206) 684-8804, email@example.com.
The City Council Chamber is accessible. Print and communications
access is provided on prior request. Please contact Neil Powers
at (206) 684-8801 as soon as possible to request accommodations
for a disability.
Committee agendas and hearing schedules are available on
the City Council
Submitting Written Comments
The Urban Development and Planning Committee prefers that
written comments on the legislation be received by Sept. 8
at the latest. Written comments may be sent to:
Councilmember Peter Steinbrueck
C/O Bob Morgan, Council Central Staff
600 Fourth Avenue Floor 2
PO Box 34025
Seattle, WA 98124-4025
Comments may also be sent via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
The Councils Urban Development and Planning (UDP) Committee
will discuss and potentially vote on the legislation at its
meetings on Sept. 8 and 22. The meetings will be held at 2
p.m. in the City Council chamber. The meetings will be open
to the public. Full City Council consideration will be scheduled
after the UDP Committee makes its recommendation.