Seattle’s Comprehensive Plan, Toward a Sustainable Seattle, guides decisions about growth over a 20-year horizon by articulating goals and policies that accommodate growth while preserving what Seattle citizens value about our city and region. The Comprehensive Plan annual amendments cycle provides an opportunity to propose amendments to the City’s Comprehensive Plan that address changing conditions or emerging issues. On March 29, 2010, the City Council approved Ordinance 123267, amending the Comprehensive Plan.
The Seattle Planning Commission is comprised of 16 volunteers, all of whom are appointed by the Mayor or the City Council. The commission is an independent and objective body that advises the Mayor, City Council and City departments on “broad planning goals, policies and plans for…development of the city.” We are the stewards of the City’s Comprehensive Plan and are deeply involved in citywide and neighborhood planning activities.
After conducting a comprehensive status check on 24 of Seattle’s Neighborhood Plans, the Seattle Planning Commission released Findings & Recommendations: Future Neighborhood Plan Updates on April 8, 2010. During a lengthy deliberative process, commissioners recorded neighbors’ comments and concerns in citywide meetings and reviewed the feedback submitted by nearly 5,000 constituents in an online forum designed to broaden the participation pool. Adding their own expertise and viewing the findings through an objective lens, the commissioners were able to formulate a set of recommendations and findings to help guide city officials and neighbors as the neighborhood plan process moves forward.
The King County/Seattle Built Green® incentive provides funding for single-family, townhome, multi-family residential, remodel and community development projects to help offset the cost of certifying and designing innovative green projects throughout Seattle and King County. Eligible projects may receive up to $20,000.
In 2009 over 1,500 people helped plan the future of their neighborhoods in North Beacon, North Rainier and Othello. Now it’s time to get things done. Come help prioritize next steps and sign up for project action teams.
The proposed urban agriculture legislation includes recommendations to add and/or clarify definitions of key agricultural terms; expand opportunities for community gardens and urban farms in all zones; allow a 15-foot exception to height limits for rooftop greenhouses dedicated to food production; add farmers’ markets to the definition of a “multipurpose retail sales” use; increase the number of domestic fowl allowed on a lot from three to eight; and, allow existing urban horse farms greater than ten acres to operate as a permitted use in single-family zones.
The City Council began its review of multifamily zoning in March 2009. In August, 2009, the Planning, Land Use, and Neighborhoods Committee (PLUNC) decided to split the proposal into two parts, beginning with changes to the Midrise and Highrise zones. The Council adopted amendments to those two zones in December 2009.
Phase two of the multifamily code update addresses the Lowrise zones and other issues remaining from last year. The City Council’s Committee on the Built Environment, formerly PLUNC, identified a list of issues to be examined and a schedule in February 2010.
DPD is developing a revised public review draft of the 2009 Seattle Energy Code with consideration of the comments received and the direction in Resolution 30280. DPD will release that revised draft in April. DPD will then hold additional public review meetings in April to discuss the revised draft 2009 Seattle Energy Code.
DPD is on schedule for new editions of 6 codes to take effect next summer or fall 2010, close to the effective date of the State codes. Public review of the 2009 Seattle Building, Residential, Existing Building, Mechanical, Fuel Gas and Energy codes is almost complete. We expect the ordinances adopting these codes to take effect in August, followed by a 60-day period during which applicants will have the choice of using the 2006 or 2009 codes.
The City of Seattle wants to remind homeowners of the grace period through June 30 for legalizing existing unauthorized backyard cottages. Under new regulations that went into effect December 4, 2009, backyard cottages became legal throughout Seattle. Previously, backyard cottages, also known as detached accessory dwelling units or DADUs, had been allowed only in southeast Seattle neighborhoods since 2006. Included in the December legislation is a grace period that allows owners of existing, unauthorized backyard cottages the opportunity to legalize their unit without penalty. Owners have until June 30, 2010 to apply for a building permit and until December 31, 2010 to obtain final inspection of the unit.