Today Mayor Ed Murray named Diane Sugimura, the current director of the Department of Planning and Development, interim director of the new Office of Planning and Community Development.
In his 2016 budget, the mayor is proposing to coordinate strategic planning functions across city departments in one single entity, OPCD, to better manage planning and investments in a rapidly growing Seattle.
“We must seize this opportunity to carefully plan the growth of Seattle to include the amenities that support our livable and vibrant community,” said Murray. “After nearly four decades of service to the people of Seattle, I have convinced Diane to stay a few more months so that we have steady leadership as we launch this new planning agency. I hope to nominate a new director in the first few months of 2016.”
OPCD will elevate the City’s planning functions to manage Seattle’s construction boom and job growth, while also coordinating public investments in transportation, parks and housing. This new office will coordinate the work of planners in a range of subjects across city departments.
“Over the past several months, I have worked closely with the mayor to create this new office and help fulfill the vision for responding to growth in an equitable and integrated way,” said Sugimura. “We will be better coordinated in how we grow and how we invest. I’m looking forward to helping get this office off the ground until the new director arrives.”
Over the last two decades, the City has successfully channeled new housing into urban villages to create planned density. Nearly 75 percent of growth has been focused into Seattle’s Urban Centers and Urban Villages.
Seattle is currently one of the fastest-growing cities in the nation, adding 70,000 residents and 63,000 jobs in the past five years. The city is expected to be home to another 120,000 residents and 115,000 jobs by 2035.