We participated in a panel discussion about gentrification at MOHAI, hosted by Enrique Cerna.
University District Shared Vision Plan
Over the last five years, hundreds of U District residents have contributed ideas on how to build a more livable, walkable neighborhood as Sound Transit light rail comes to their community. For the first time, all new developments will contribute to affordable housing.
Proposed zoning changes respond to community priorities with rigorous design standards and incentives for public open space, space for social services, and childcare centers. Other incentives will help preserve historic buildings and the pedestrian shopping district of the Ave.
For more information, visit www.seattle.gov/dpd/udistrict.
Mayor, Council propose implementation changes to Mandatory Housing Affordability program
SEATTLE (Oct. 17, 2016) – Today, Mayor Murray and seven Councilmembers announced two proposed changes to implementation of the Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA) program, aimed at increasing production and addressing the ongoing displacement occurring as Seattle grows rapidly. The MHA framework is a critical tool for achieving the goal of building 20,000 affordable homes, as laid out in the Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda (HALA), and provides increased development capacity in combination with new mandatory housing affordability requirements. Today, the City is introducing
- A tiered approach of higher performance and payment requirements for areas – such as the U District – that are receiving a higher capacity increase than the typical one story increase proposed as part of MHA; and,
- A revised map that moves some areas at higher risk of displacement – including the Central District, Chinatown/ID and parts of the Rainier Valley – into higher performance requirements to reflect updated rent data and the City’s analysis of higher displacement risk.
These proposed changes, in conjunction with maintaining the original “Grand Bargain” framework principles across the city, including Downtown and South Lake Union, will increase projected production of new affordable homes by approximately 200-300, from the original goal of 6,000.
“While Seattle reaps many benefits from rapid growth, we have to ensure this city remains affordable for those who live and work here,” said Mayor Murray. “The voters stepped up by doubling the Housing Levy in August and today’s announcement is another step toward achieving that goal by ensuring developers are also doing their part. Requiring developers to build affordable housing or contribute to its construction helps us slow the rate of displacement caused by our city’s growth, making MHA a critical tool for ensuring our city remains affordable for everyone.”
New Commissioners Sought for Seattle Design Commission
Mayor Edward Murray is looking for two new Seattle Design Commission (SDC) members to fill two upcoming vacancies. One position is for a person with a professional background in urban planning, urban design, or landscape architecture. The second position is the at-large, or lay, position. This position has been held by a person in the real estate or development community. We are also interested in people working in the community development field.
Both positions begin their terms in March 2017 and are eligible for up to two two-year terms. SDC members are appointed by the Mayor and confirmed by the City Council. The 10‐member commission is comprised of members of the architecture, engineering and urban design professions, including one member from the YMCA’s Get Engaged program.
Established in 1968, the SDC advises the Mayor, City Council, and city departments on the design of capital improvement projects like parks, police and fire stations and community centers. The commission also advises the Mayor and City Council on street and alley vacations, skybridges, and transportation projects that have a substantial impact on the City’s right of way. The SDC meets during the day on the first and third Thursdays of each month; the total commitment is around 15 to 20 hours a month. During their term, commissioners cannot contract with the city on any capital improvement project that may be reviewed by the commission. Commission members receive a small hourly rate compensation for their service.
To be considered, please send a letter of interest and resume by December 1, 2016, to Mayor Edward Murray c/o:
Michael Jenkins, Director – Seattle Design Commission
City of Seattle – Office of Planning and Community Development
700 Fifth Ave., Ste. 1900
PO Box 94788
Seattle, WA 98124‐7088
Input Sought on Delridge Way, Neighborhood Action Plan
We are collaborating with communities to create a shared vision and Delridge Action Plan to improve the livability of the North Delridge neighborhood.
For two years, we have worked with the community on plans to create great community places and improved services. City departments have coordinated work on the action plan with other projects on Delridge Way SW, including transportation safety improvements and better transit service.
We’re holding an open house on Saturday October 8 to present the highlights of the plan, gather feedback and additional input. At the workshop, Seattle Department of Neighborhoods is hosting a community resource fair where neighbors can learn and share projects, improvements, resources and initiatives that Delridge community and neighbors are leading.
Open House and Community Resource Fair
9:30 a.m. to Noon, Sat., Oct. 8
Southwest Teen Life Center
2801 SW Thistle Street
Child care, light snacks, and foreign language interpretation will be provided.
To make the street safer and more comfortable for all users, the Delridge Way SW Multimodal Project is considering improvements to the roadway from SW Roxbury St. to the West Seattle Bridge. At the workshop, residents will look at different segments of Delridge Way SW and discuss a range of transportation improvements and the trade-offs between them.
Draft Zoning Changes Maps to Implement Mandatory Housing Affordability Are Now Online
On September 27, a joint meeting for all Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda (HALA) focus groups was held at City Hall. Focus group members broke out into smaller groups to to discuss several draft zoning maps. These draft maps are based on Mandatory Housing Affordability principles. You can view the maps here.
For more information about HALA and HALA focus groups, visit: http://www.seattle.gov/hala/focus-groups. HALA focus groups will go back to their individual meetings next month.
An Update on OPCD From Our Director, Sam Assefa
In the summer of 2015, Mayor Ed Murray proposed a new office to improve coordination of city planning and capital investments in rapidly growing Seattle: The Office of Planning and Community Development (OPCD). The vision was to improve the integration of strategic planning functions across city departments, while also coordinating public investments in transportation, parks, housing and other critical infrastructure.
“When we develop new housing in a neighborhood, we must ensure we also have adequate open space, transportation and access to jobs, social services and other amenities,” said Mayor Murray when he proposed the office. “How we grow and how we invest will go hand in hand.”
The Seattle City Council responded to the Mayor’s call and provided for the new office to be established at the start of the new year. OPCD opened its doors in January 2016. I was proud to join the office in June.
In its first year, OPCD has already had significant impact on the future of several Seattle neighborhoods. Beginning in Lake City, OPCD worked with agencies across the City to integrate planning efforts in response to community needs. OPCD and the community created new development standards for buildings that create a more walkable streetscape and pedestrian-friendly neighborhood. Seattle Parks participated with a vision for new and expanding parks. New affordable housing investments are coming in coordination with the Office of Housing. Seattle Preschool Program classrooms, new sidewalks to support Safe Routes to School and other investments will support a stronger neighborhood.
OPCD’s efforts continued in the U District. With the Sound Transit’s new light rail station opening in 2021, Seattle is planning for future housing and jobs with excellent access to the transit station. After a five-year community engagement process, the City has announced a plan that responds to community priorities for rigorous design standards requiring new public spaces, attractive buildings, and active street fronts.
Going forward, all of OPCD’s work will be governed by Seattle 2035, the City’s comprehensive plan that is being updated this year. For the first time, race and social equity is identified as a foundational core values upon which the plan is built. Over the next 20 years, the plan will be the blueprint for how Seattle responds to and manages growth in neighborhoods, prioritizes infrastructure investments, and funds parks and other amenities that improve how neighborhoods function.
In 2017, OPCD will continue to play a leading role in implementing the Mayor’s Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda (HALA) agenda. As the city plans for more residents and jobs, OPCD will develop new community and citywide plans, with a special focus on a coordinated approach to density and investment in Seattle’s urban centers and urban villages. More homes and new housing types will respond to continued demand for more housing from residents across the income spectrum.
Additionally, OPCD will begin or expand more comprehensive community planning efforts in several neighborhoods experiencing significant change: Chinatown-International District, Little Saigon, Southeast Seattle, the Duwamish Valley and elsewhere. To better distribute economic opportunity and job growth throughout Seattle, OPCD will expand the implementation of its Equitable Development Initiative (EDI). Providing staff and financial resources toward the EDI is a major focus of OPCD’s budget request this year.
As part of OPCD’s coordinating role, I co-chair the Mayor’s Capital Cabinet with City Budget Director Ben Noble. The focus is on coordination on capital projects to address livability challenges, improve neighborhood quality and respond to long-standing equity issues. The Capital Cabinet will focus on planning on infrastructure improvements, leaving the implementation of individual project to city departments with the appropriate expertise. All city agencies with major infrastructure investment programs will participate. The first community to benefit from a pilot project of this approach will be the neighborhoods bordering the Duwamish River – places impacted by proximity to industrial land uses, legacy pollutants and risks posed by climate change and rising sea levels.
I look forward to working with you in the coming year. Together we will chart a bright and equitable future for the people of Seattle.
Samuel Assefa, Director
Office of Planning and Community Development
Bob Santos, 1934-2016
“Uncle Bob” Santos, a longtime Seattle activist who advocated for civil rights and preservation of the Chinatown/International District, passed away on August 27. Dubbed the unofficial Mayor of the Chinatown/International District, Uncle Bob was the executive director of the International District Improvement Association (Inter*Im) from 1972-1989 and regional director of the Dept. of Housing and Urban Development from 1994-2001.
Uncle Bob leaves behind a vast legacy of activism and leadership that has influenced and inspired many generations. Read and watch an oral history told by Uncle Bob here, courtesy of the Seattle Civil Rights and Labor History Project. The Seattle Times reports on his passing here.
RIP Uncle Bob!
Seattle Channel Video Features Our New Approach to Planning
At the beginning of this year, the Department of Planning and Development split into two departments, us and Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections. Watch this new Seattle Channel video on how we’ve been doing since then and how we’re approaching city planning in a new way.
Our story begins at the 16 minute mark.
Uptown Rezone Draft Environmental Impact Statement
You are invited to an open house and public hearing to discuss potential environmental impacts of rezoning, and how it will shape your neighborhood’s future.
Thursday, August 4
Seattle Center Armory, Lofts 3 & 4
5:00-6:00 p.m. – Open House
6:00-8:00 p.m. – Public Hearing
The Seattle Office of Planning and Community Development and Seattle Center are hosting an open house and public hearing on the Uptown Rezone Draft Environmental Impact Study (DEIS).
The DEIS process studies all of the potential impacts of zoning (including height change in the neighborhood). This information will be used to develop a rezone recommendation that we will seek input on this fall. At this meeting you’ll have the opportunity to:
- Ask our consultants questions and offer your thoughts about the analysis provided in the DEIS
- Talk with representatives from various City departments and agencies about projects and initiatives in the Uptown area
View the DEIS, our Uptown Urban Design Framework, and the Uptown/Seattle Center Parking study online: http://bit.ly/opcd-uptown.
For more information, contact: