The children and families of our city are facing many difficult challenges. As a community, we need to talk about what we want for our kids and how best to create a healthy, positive and equitable environment for all families in our city.
Diane Sugimura, director of the Department of Planning and Development (DPD), today announced the appointment of Marshall Foster as Seattle city planning director. The city planning director oversees all aspects of Seattle’s comprehensive and regional planning, land use policy, neighborhood planning, urban design, green building, and the work of the Seattle Design and Planning Commissions. The city planning director reports to the head of DPD.
Mayor Mike McGinn today approved a new ordinance to identify energy-wasting buildings. The Energy Disclosure Ordinance, unanimously approved by the Seattle City Council on January 25, 2010, will give City residents and property owners the tools they need to make necessary improvements. City officials say the new ordinance is critical to meeting the City’s energy goals, while commercial property owners and energy efficiency contractors point to the economic and business benefits of the new policy.
DPD offers a suite of green permitting options aimed at delivering faster, easier and smarter permit reviews for applicants pursuing sustainable development projects. Green permitting supports Seattle’s leadership role in climate protection and furthers City Green Building’s efforts to make sustainable design and construction standard practice.
The DPD Land Use program is preparing to implement a monthly billing system to support the Master Use permit (MUP) process. Fees for MUPs are charged at an hourly rate, and can vary based on design considerations, project complexity, public interest, appeal hearings, and customer’s preparedness.
The City’s design guidelines, entitled Design Review: Guidelines for Multifamily and Commercial Buildings, have been the cornerstone of the Design Review Program since 1994. In 2008 DPD initiated a process to update the 16-year-old citywide guidelines, and is now releasing a first draft for public review.
The Department of Planning and Development (DPD) and Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) staff will be hosting a meeting to discuss changes and clarifications regarding the Draft Side Sewer Code (Seattle Municipal Code 21.16) and Draft Joint DPD/SPU Directors Rule 7 2008/04-08, Requirements for Design and Construction of Side Sewers (Drainage and Wastewater Discharges).
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.
Even through the current economic downturn, the Department of Planning and Development (DPD) remains committed to providing quality service to its customers. As you may have heard, DPD has experienced significant layoffs in its Operations Branch. In an effort to continue supporting its core services of plan review, permitting and inspections, DPD will be modifying its services in 2010. This includes the following: DPD business closures — 10 days; reduced land use coaching hours; and making permit/project status available only online.
DPD has released revised EIS alternatives for increased height and density in the South Lake Union Neighborhood to be studied in an Environmental Impact Statement. In addition, preliminary findings for an urban design framework for South Lake Union, to complement and inform the EIS alternatives, have been published. The revised EIS alternatives and design framework respond to concerns raised by stakeholders in scoping comments.