SEATTLE – Mayor Mike McGinn today transmitted to the City Council a legislative package to reduce regulatory burdens that hinder job creation. The package was developed by a panel of developers, neighborhood activists, design professionals, labor leaders, and environmentalists. Mayor McGinn convened the panel as part of his Jobs Plan, to spark innovation and entrepreneurial investment, and make it easier for businesses to be sustainable in Seattle.
“In an uncertain economy, government needs to focus on finding ways to get people back to work,” said Mayor Mike McGinn. “These recommendations highlight ways we can reduce red tape and encourage job growth while enhancing our commitment to the environment.”
The regulatory reform package was announced by Mayor McGinn, Council President Richard Conlin, and members of the panel in early July. It includes legislation to achieve the following goals:
• Encourage home entrepreneurship
• Allow flexibility for street level uses in apartment buildings
• Reduce and eliminate some parking requirements
• Allow small commercial uses in multifamily zones
• Expand options for accessory dwelling units
• Expand mobile food vending and temporary uses
• Improve State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) implementation
The State Environmental Policy Act review process improvements could expedite up to 40 new construction projects with 100 to 250 units each year. The Seattle Building Trades Council estimates that as many as 2,400 direct, family-wage jobs in skilled construction-trades could be created through this effort.
“This is the city taking necessary steps to remove obstacles to job creation. Many of these are outdated and getting in the way of entrepreneurs who want to establish and grow a business in Seattle,” said George Allen, senior vice president of government relations for the Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce. “We applaud Mayor McGinn’s work in bringing together business, labor, neighborhood and environmental leaders to find common ground. We hope the City Council will move this legislation forward quickly and as a full package.”
“We support the Mayor in re-visiting the zoning reforms and to move forward with construction projects that benefit the City of Seattle and its citizens,” said Lee Newgent, Executive Secretary of the Seattle Building Trades and Construction Council. “Our members have been devastated by the recession and support the need for new construction projects to provide good family wage jobs.”
“It was rewarding to see such a diverse coalition of citizens come together to put forth these recommendations,” said James C Mueller, Managing Partner of JC Mueller LLC. “From our perspective as neighborhood investors the regulatory simplification will help us create jobs sooner while provisions for neighborhood retail will enable us to enhance walkability. Everyone wins with this one!”
“This package of reforms is an excellent opportunity for the city to make sustainability legal. It spurs investments in our neighborhoods, creates economic opportunity for our residents, and advances the principles of sustainable urban living,” said Eric de Place, senior researcher at Sightline Institute.
Allen, Mueller and de Place were all members of the regulatory reform panel that helped create the legislative package Mayor McGinn transmitted to the City Council today.
Seattle Jobs Plan
Mayor Mike McGinn’s vision for next generation economic development that creates a sustainable economy with shared prosperity in Seattle was launched in August 2010. It consists of new and existing policies, programs and investments designed to help create quality jobs, protect the environment, and ensure that taxpayers get true value from the city of Seattle’s public investments. For more information, visit Seattle Jobs Plan or DPD’s Regulatory Reform page.