The City of Seattle is seeking public input on the scope of the environmental review of the One Seattle Comprehensive Plan. The updated plan, due to be completed in 2024, will guide where the city steers future housing and jobs and invests in transportation, utilities, parks, and other public assets. The goal of the plan is to make the city more equitable, livable, sustainable, and resilient for today’s communities and future residents.
The plan’s Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) will include analysis of potential environmental impacts and measures to reduce those impacts to inform the decision-making process. City planners are currently seeking input on the scope of this environmental review.
A key topic in the environmental analysis are the options for alternatives to the city’s urban village strategy first implemented in 1994. The current strategy has successfully guided 83% of all new homes to urban villages, which are centered around transit hubs such as light rail stations and frequent bus service.
A 2021 racial equity analysis conducted by the City underscored several negative consequences of the current urban village strategy, including continued cost increases for homeownership and rental housing, increased displacement pressures on current residents of urban villages, and a lack of housing options in neighborhoods across the city.
The Office of Planning and Community Development (OPCD) is currently proposing to study several alternatives to the urban village strategy that would allow more homes outside of urban villages. The options studied would provide bookends for the environmental analysis, helping elected officials to understand the impacts as they choose from a menu of options when crafting the final plan.
“We need your input to ensure we are considering the right range of options for where we encourage new housing and jobs in Seattle,” said Rico Quirindongo, acting director of OPCD. “Rental housing costs remain a severe burden for thousands of residents and the lack of homeownership opportunities are forcing many people to look outside the city when purchasing a home. We must also reduce displacement pressures on Black, Indigenous, and other people of color who have borne too many of the negative impacts of population and economic growth.”
The deadline for public comments on what to study in the environmental review is July 25. More information about the process, the city’s potential growth strategies, and how to comment is available on the OPCD Public Engagement Hub, engage.oneseattleplan.com.