Ballard Urban Design

Our planning effort will help Ballard address the changes it's had over the past 10 years.
Partnering with the community to identify a vision that will shape growth and guide new development in Ballard.
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What’s Happening Now?

Review our proposed Ballard rezones and Land Use Code amendments (and accompanying Policy and Environmental Analysis)

This spring, we proposed rezones and code amendments for Ballard and published our analysis of potential environmental impacts, or Determination of Non-Significance (DNS). We will brief City Council on July 19.

The City Council's Planning, Land Use and Zoning (PLUZ) Committee will hold a public hearing to take comments on the proposed changes to land use and zoning regulations affecting property in the Ballard HUB Urban Village on August 3 at 6:00 p.m. The hearing will be in the meeting room at the Ballard Public Library (5614 22nd Ave NW). Visit Get Involved for more information about the public hearing.

Visit Project Documents or see Council Bill 118693 for information about the proposed land use and zoning amendments in the Ballard HUB Urban Village.

Project Benefits

Over the past ten years, Ballard has seen significant changes. The area has become denser as it has attracted younger people and families with children. At the same time, the job market has changed, but job growth has not kept up with the population growth. The community has overwhelming appreciation for the ability to visit the great variety of shops and restaurants in a beautiful, walkable neighborhood. However, they are also concerned that a number of recent high-density projects being built in the area do not contribute to Ballard’s character.

In response to this and Sound Transit’s planning for light rail to Ballard, we are working with the Department of Transportation, neighborhood groups, and non-profits, organized as the Ballard Partnership for Smart Growth, to develop an Urban Design Framework (UDF) and a multimodal transportation plan (Move Ballard). Together we will articulate a shared vision and strategies that will guide future development and transportation investment while ensuring Ballard’s people and places thrive.

While opinions about recent changes range from cheers to dismay, most in the community see the need to get ahead of the curve. Our coordinated and comprehensive planning effort will help ensure changes have a positive impact on the neighborhood, including:

  • Better and more affordable housing
  • Better access to transit and jobs
  • Open spaces for recreation
  • Safer streets
  • An urban environment that is respectful of Ballard’s heritage

The Existing Conditions Report documents the area’s existing conditions and trends. We have found that most of the changes are in the commercial and multifamily areas in the Ballard Urban Village. Additional changes can be expected when Sound Transit builds a planned light rail station. Therefore, we are focusing our planning effort on the Ballard Urban Village and areas within a ten-minute walk of Sound Transit’s potential locations for a rail station. We are paying particular attention to mobility and access and to the character, form, and location of future development within the Urban Village. We will also identify opportunities to make sure people have access to economic opportunity and the amenities for a healthy life. 

The End Result

Our UDF will define the urban design recommendations, including streetscape design, land use regulations, and design guidelines that will guide future development while ensuring Ballard’s people and places can thrive.

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