Public invited to events to learn more, provide feedback
After gathering public input over the summer on several growth concepts, the Seattle Office of Planning and Development (OPCD) is launching a detailed environmental analysis to support the One Seattle Plan. Today, OPCD released a report summarizing recent public input and detailing options for how the city could encourage additional housing choices, support housing affordability across the city, create more complete and resilient neighborhoods, and reduce displacement pressures on current residents. The public is invited to attend a series of in-person community meetings to learn more and share their input as we work together to shape the future of our city.
About once a decade, the City updates its Comprehensive Plan, the guide for where we want to encourage new housing and jobs, and how we will invest to support quality of life in our community. The City is currently conducting an Environmental Impact Statement for the One Seattle Plan that will shape the city over the next 20 years. The plan will include policy guidance informing how the City responds to climate change, supports cultural and artistic expression, advances environmental justice, and invests in equitable outcomes for communities of color.
A key element of the plan is the growth strategy: where we encourage new homes and jobs in our city to enhance affordability and create opportunity. OPCD will study five alternative growth strategies in the environmental analysis:
- Our current urban village growth strategy that focuses housing around frequent transit hubs
- Creating new focused areas of housing around walkable shopping districts
- Allowing additional types of housing in all neighborhood residential areas
- Encouraging more homes along frequent transit corridors and near large parks
- A layered combination of all the strategies
Each of these alternatives were shaped by the public input received over the summer. During a 60-day public comment period, OPCD received more than 1,000 public comments and letters from 36 organizations on a set of draft concepts. Commenters suggested numerous items to be included in the study:
- More family-sized and ownership housing options in all neighborhoods across the city
- New incentives or requirements for more income-restricted affordable housing
- Options for additional transit service, biking and walking facilities, and other transportation amenities
- New green space and strengthening of tree regulations
- Additional strategies to respond to displacement pressures faced by current residents
The draft Environmental Impact Statement, which will be available for public review and comment in the Spring, will set the bookends for what will be included in the final plan. The mayor’s proposed plan may include elements drawn from all alternatives studied and is likely to be a hybrid approach. The City Council is scheduled to review, amend, and approve the plan in 2024.
“I have been encouraged by the comments and input we have received from the public so far,” said Rico Quirindongo, director of OPCD. “We will need your continued involvement to complete the final plan. Together we can imagine and realize our vision for a more equitable Seattle, where all communities can thrive.”
OPCD has announced a series of public meetings, beginning on Nov 14 from 6:00-8:00 p.m. at the New Holly Gathering Hall, to share more about the One Seattle Plan. All meeting materials, including translations, will be available at www.seattle.gov/opcd. More information and other opportunities to provide feedback are available on our engagement hub at engage.oneseattleplan.com.
OPCD is committed to lifting up voices of BIPOC and underrepresented community members and others who have too often borne the burdens of growth and development without experiencing the full benefits. In the One Seattle Plan, OPCD is working with five BIPOC-led community-based organizations to design and implement public engagement strategies that encourage these communities to provide significant input in the plan’s development.
Preliminary analysis suggests that the current Comprehensive Plan and its urban village growth strategy has succeeded in focusing growth. Over the past decade, 83% of new homes in the city—mostly small apartments—have been built in compact, walkable, mixed-use neighborhoods linked by transit. Since the last Comprehensive Plan was adopted in 2016, more than 56,000 homes have been built in Seattle.
However, many neighborhoods outside urban villages have few affordable housing options and costs have risen dramatically throughout the city. These limitations on growth have contributed to the reality that family-size and ownership options are out of reach for many.
A Racial Equity Analysis conducted by the City recently found that the Urban Village Strategy perpetuates a historical pattern of exclusion and increases displacement pressures on communities of color. Our new Plan will learn from these lessons, advance strategies proven to make a difference, and chart a course for a more equitable and affordable Seattle we can all call home. Add your voice by participating in our Racial Equity Outcomes survey.