Future of Seattle’s Industrial Lands
The Planning Commission has long been concerned with the increasing pressure to convert industrial land in the city to other uses. In 2007 the Commission played an active role in the development of an Industrial Lands Strategy. The Commission co-hosted four public events to engage the public, reviewed the City’s current policies regarding industrial lands, and developed recommendations for how City should move forward with their industrial lands policy.
We are a growing city with lots of competition for scarce land. This competition has created the need for quick action to protect and provide certainty for industrial land. Seattle’s industrial zoned land provides a sanctuary to industrial business in a tight land market and once converted is not likely to be replaced. The industrial sector contributes to the City’s diverse economy, which protects us from economic downturns and preserves our quality of life. In the past, the industrial sector has served as a counterbalance to the cyclical nature of other industries. This sector also provides the mainstay of middle income jobs to individuals without higher education. These factors should be highly valued when we consider ‘highest and best use’ of our scarce land.
Planning Commission supports legislation limiting stand alone retail and commercial uses in industrial zones.
As it stands, the current generous allowances for stand alone office and retail in our core industrial zones does not reflect the city’s established policy to preserve and enhance industrial activities there. This ordinance makes the zoning consistent with this policy. The proposed limitations on office and retail uses is based on the Commission's recommendations and independent analysis of appropriate non industrial uses.
In May 2006, the Commission provided Councilmember Richard Conlin with a summary of our current thoughts on developing an industrial lands strategy
Port of Seattle's Northbay / Interbay
The Port of Seattle’s 57-acre North Bay site was part of the Port's acquisition of the larger Terminal 91 complex from the federal government in 1976. The site has seen numerous changes over the years. Until 2001, it was used as a holding area for hundreds of Nissan cars off-loaded from the piers. With that use now permanently gone, and the jobs associated with it, the Port is committed to bring jobs back to the site. There is an enormous opportunity – and responsibility to the public – to transform this underused, publicly owned property into a valuable asset for the city and region.
In August 2007 the Commission undertook a detailed review of the Port of Seattle’s proposal for creating an Interbay Overlay District. The review was requested by Councilmember Peter Steinbrueck. The overlay proposed changes to zoning restrictions on a large parcel of land located in the Ballard-Interbay Northend Manufacturing Industrial Center (BINMIC). View the Commission’s letter to Council documenting the findings of their review here.
Planning Commission May 2005 Comments on the Port of Seattle's North Bay DEIS (PDF)