|News and Information
Northgate Draft Urban Design Framework
Northgate is a burgeoning transit community success story where a 1950s auto-dependent area is being transformed into a mixed-use, transit rich community.
We took a look at the Draft Urban Design Framework, aka an updated design plan for the neighborhood, presented by Department of Planning. Here are our recommendations from this review.
Executive Director opening at the Planning Commission!
We are looking for a new Executive Director that serves as the lead staff to the Planning Commission, supporting its sixteen members, overseeing the Commission's review process, advocating for the Commission's recommendations, and completing independent analysis of urban planning issues affecting the City at the Commission's request.
The full job description and qualifications can be found here!
Commission Recommendations for University District
The University District is a vibrant and fun neighborhood. Currently underway at the Department of Planning is a 20 year planning effort for the future of that neighborhood. Here are our comments on the plan.
More information on this process can be found at DPD website.
A few more thoughts on Microhousing
We believe Microhousing fills an important niche in Seattle and should be embraced and encouraged in appropriately zoned parts of the city. While we are supportive of Microhousing, we continue to work with City planners to improve the final proposal. Read our August 2013 comments.
We made earlier comments on Microhousing that can be found here. June 2013 comment letter.
Commission Responds to Bicycle Master Plan Draft, July 2013
New vision "Riding a bicycle is a comfortable and integral part of daily life in Seattle for people of all ages and abilities."
We are pleased to see many of the elements of the plan and share the new vision for bicycling in Seattle. We have evaluated each part of the plan and have several recommendations that will make the plan stronger. Read our recommendations!
Announces New Analyst
The Commission welcomes Jesseca Brand as their new policy analyst. Jesseca comes to the Planning Commission after 15 years working in the non-profit sector. Most recently as the King County Program Manager for Washington Conservation Voters, a non-profit environmental organization, where she worked with a volunteer board to weigh in on issues relating to city infill projects, comprehensive plan updates, and transportation. Read the advisory.
On July 12, 2013 the Commission recommended several proposals for Comprehensive Plan amendments be placed on the docket for further analysis. These include proposals related to Central Area neighborhood plan; Duwamish Manufacturing/Industrial Center (MIC) and Stadium Transition Overlay District; University Community Urban Center (and 2 related boundary adjustment proposals; Ballard Interbay; Interbay Armory area; and the Talaris property; the Commission concurs with DPD that the proposal regarding the “Ballard Blocks” should not move forward at this time. Please see our recommendation to Council for more detail.
GreenHouse Apartments in Columbia City, photo courtesy of Seattle Office of Housing.
The Multifamily Tax Exemption Program is an important tool that encourages the market to produce affordable housing for those who would otherwise be priced out of many Seattle neighborhoods. It also plays a role in encouraging residential development in urban centers and villages with cooler housing markets. While the program is generally well-designed, we offer recommendations to better focus and recalibrate it. Read our April 25, 2013 recommendations here.
Planning Commission Chair David Cutler talks about Transit Communities at March 14th, 2013 Public Hearing.
Written notes of Chair Cutler’s comments
Seattle Transit Communities - A Citywide Strategy to Integrate Neighborhoods with Transit - A report to Seattle City Council. Our March 4, 2013 report explains what a transit community is, why a citywide strategy is important, and details the initial proposed Comprehensive Plan amendment. It also chronicles the outreach and engagement that has informed the proposed strategy and summarizes feedback the Commission has received about the proposed transit communities Comprehensive Plan amendment.
Also the Commission has launched a new Seattle Transit Communities project page that chronicles our work over the past several years in proposing a citywide transit communities strategy that would support more inclusive, affordable, and diverse neighborhoods and help maximize investment in major transit projects by locating housing, jobs, and services close enough to transit so that more people will have a faster and more convenient way to travel. Go to the Seattle Transit Communities project to see more.
Commission supports South Lake Union Rezone Proposal
A once in a lifetime opportunity to realize the vision of this neighborhood as a vibrant transit rich regional hub bringing thousands of new jobs and households, we are committed to ensuring the city leverage the investments in transit and transit access. Read our detailed comments and recommendations here.
Commission proposal defines a strong framework in the Comprehensive Plan as a first step in implementing a citywide transit community strategy. See our September 24, 2012 proposal.
Commission urges funding for a school downtown in capital levy.
Fundamental to what makes neighborhoods complete, livable communities, it’s essential that those neighborhoods anticipating the greatest amount of population growth include great public schools. We urge the Seattle School District to include funding for a school downtown in their current Capital Levy. Read our letter here.
David Cutler elected Chair
The Seattle Planning Commission elects new leadership including chair, vice chair, committee chairs and at-large executive committee.
See advisory for details
SODO Arena: Planning Commission urges Caution
July 27, 2012 report: Review of the Proposed Sports Arena in
Manufacturing and Industrial Center.
Seattle Planning Commission reviews SODO arena
Commission supports the redevelopment of Yesler Terrace
On June 30, 2012 we provided comments to City Council in support of the redevelopment of Yesler Terrace. Yesler Terrace redevelopment presents a tremendous opportunity to benefit current and future residents, as well Seattle as a whole. We applaud the extraordinary work that City and SHA staff have done to craft a financially feasible proposal that incorporates many essential components of livability for a transit community that is uniquely Seattle. Read the rest of the letter here (pdf). Find out more about the project at City Council's Yesler Terrace Redevelopment page.
Commission supports Regulatory Reform
The Planning Commission expressed support for the proposed regulatory reform legislation in October 2011. Provisions that would reduce or eliminate minimum parking requirements in areas with frequent transit service, expand housing choices, and eliminating redundancies in the permitting process implement recommenations that the Commission has made in recent reports such as Housing Seattle and Seattle Transit Communities. Please download pdfs of the Commission's letters at the links below.
April 23, 2012: Change Environmental (SEPA) Review Thresholds & Allow Small Commercial Uses in Certain Multifamily Zones
March 30, 2012: Stimulating economic growth by removing City mandates that require homebuilders and businesses to build parking they don’t use or need
October 3, 2011: Jobs Initiative – Updating Seattle’s Codes & Regulations
Commission supports Roosevelt rezone Option 2
On December 13, 2011 we provided comments to City Council in support of rezone Option 2 in the Roosevelt light rail station area. The Commission has been closely tracking this project for many years. Our Seattle Transit Communities report identified this area as one of the city’s 14 transit communities with the most urgent near-term planning needs; we further identified the ‘high school blocks’ as some of the key potential redevelopment sites. Read our recommendations here.
Commission supports West Seattle Triangle Rezone
On November 8, 2011 we provided comments to City Council in support the of zoning proposal by DPD for the West Seattle Triangle. While the Commission proposes a few modest changes we feel the rezone is a well-conceived, thoughtful proposal and along with the Urban Design Framework and Streetscape Concept Plan, does an impressive job of equitably accommodating new households and businesses while taking into consideration preserving and enhancing important community assets. Read our recommendations here.
On June 29th we recommended a Citywide Transit Communities Policy to maximize transit investment in Roosevelt, Capitol Hill, Mt. Baker, Beacon Hill, Othello, South Lake Union, West Seattle Triangle, and other Seattle Transit Communities. Read it here
Updated Backyard Cottage Guide Released!
The Planning Commission and the Department of Planning and development have released an updated version of their incredibly successful A Guide to Building a Backyard Cottage which helps a homeowner successfully design and build a backyard cottage. The Guide now reflects the December 2009 legislation allowing backyard cottages citywide.
Status Check: Seattle Citizens Assess Their Communities and Neighborhood Plans
In the summer of 2009 the Planning Commission helped convene a discussion with people who live, work, have businesses and go to school in 24 of Seattle's neighborhoods to 'check-in' on current status of their neighborhood plans and changes in neighborhoods since the plans were adopted a decade ago. This civic engagement effort helped us better understand the perceptions of the community regarding changes in their neighborhoods and how well the plans are working. An executive summary was prepared that highlights the feedback.
Summary of Neighborhood Discussion Meetings & Transcripts of online Questionnaire Responses for each of the 24 neighborhoods
Introduction to Neighborhood Planning: What are Neighborhood Plans? Why the City prepared Status Reports? Why are we looking at these 24 neighborhoods?