West Seattle ‘Let’s Talk’ Follow-Up

Last summer, we hosted a meeting in West Seattle to provide information about development in the neighborhood and give West Seattleites an opportunity to ask questions and provide feedback. About 40 people joined 26 staff from the City’s Departments of Transportation, Planning and Development, Neighborhoods, and the Mayor’s office.  You can read more about the meeting, and view the presentation materials, at The West Seattle Blog. This article summarizes what we heard about some of the major issues and identifies how you can get involved in related ongoing planning efforts.

The following materials were presented at the meeting and include feedback from the community:

Why is there so much change in our neighborhood?

We heard a number of people voice concerns that some West Seattle neighborhoods are growing too quickly and that growth should be directed into other areas. People continue to come to Seattle to work and live.  By some measures, Seattle as a whole is the fastest growing large city in the country. We can help shape the City’s vision for itself while the region grows.

Our Comprehensive Plan, originally adopted in 1994 as part of Washington State’s Growth Management Act, requires growing regions and cities to adopt plans for growth that serve to protect natural resource lands – our farms and forests. Over the next twenty years we anticipate that Seattle will grow by 70,000 new households and 115,000 new jobs, which, when compared to all of the Central Puget Sound Regions, is less than a fifth of the anticipated total growth. We are currently updating the plan, which we are required to do every ten years.  If you’re interested in how neighborhoods grow, we encourage you to join us in this process – called Seattle 2035 – and help shape the future of our city.

What opportunities are there to help shape what this growth looks like in my West Seattle neighborhood?

Currently, neighborhood-scale planning efforts are underway in Delridge. You can get involved with the Delridge Action Plan, which will use the Healthy Living Framework to focus attention on how neighborhood planning can improve our health, connect people and places, and make sure places serve people. Additionally, West Seattle residents have formed a land use committee that is looking at how to become a resource and education network for West Seattle residents around the topics of land use and growth.  For information on this group, contact Yun Pitre (206-386-1924) with the Department of Neighborhoods for more information.

What is the City doing about parking?

We heard concerns about parking and what the City is doing about parking. We heard that not enough parking is being provided within new buildings, making it difficult to find on-street parking. Overall, the City manages parking in two regards: on-street and off-street. SDOT manages on-street parking to:

  • Balance competing needs (transit, customers, residents, shared vehicles, commercial loading)
  • Move people and goods efficiently
  • Support business district vitality
  • Create livable neighborhoods

In neighborhoods where a lot of non-residents regularly use on-street parking, a Restricted Parking Zone, or RPZ, may be appropriate. Go to SDOT’s RPZ website to learn more about this program. Within the West Seattle Junction, SDOT has created a new Construction Hub Coordination Program, which includes a new free parking program.

We regulate off-street parking through the Land Use Code. Over time, changes to the code have reduced minimum parking requirements so that they are determined by market demand and transit availability. This supports Comprehensive Plan goals related to encouraging more walkable neighborhoods and active transportation rather than dependence on automobiles.  As part of recent Code changes, we have committed to reviewing parking requirements. Please contact Gordon Clowers (206-684-8375) for more information about this work.

What is being done to explore how to get a hospital located in West Seattle?

Bernie Matsuno, the Director of the Department of Neighborhoods, has followed up with some initial inquiries about how to attract a hospital to West Seattle. The City is not likely to be the sole initiator or funding agent of a hospital in West Seattle, but the community can work on several aspects to see if there are interested partners. One approach is for the community to work with the Northwest Healthcare Coalition for a discussion about disaster specific medical response, as that seemed to be a major component of the concern. There will likely be a call for people who are interested in working on this as a community committee. Please contact Yun Pitre (206-386-1924) with the Department of Neighborhoods for more information.

What is the City doing to improve outreach and engagement?

We are always looking for new ways to improve outreach and engagement. We hope that you will join us and get involved the projects listed above. We would also like you to take a very brief survey to let us know how best to keep you informed. Please follow this link to a brief questionnaire.

The City has recently initiated the Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda (HALA). To take a survey on housing and affordability issues, follow this link. Legislation relating to residential zoning may be introduced later in 2015, after HALA makes recommendations on a range of housing issues.

Finally, find information about permits, zoning and other information at the DPD website. For information about how to comment on a development project follow this link. You can also sign-up for email notification of DPD’s blog at this link.