Members sought for Seattle’s Design Review Boards

Mayor Ed Murray is looking for qualified candidates to fill 12 upcoming openings on the City of Seattle’s Design Review Boards. The volunteer positions will be available April 4, 2017, when retiring board members’ terms expire.

Ideal candidates are professionals in the design and development fields who have proven skills and established careers. We are also seeking community and business leaders passionate about civic engagement and shaping new development in their neighborhoods.

Applications will be accepted for the following board positions:

Southwest Design Review Board:

  • Local residential representative
  • Local business representative


East Design Review Board:

  • Local residential representative
  • Development profession representative
  • Community representative


Downtown Design Review Board:

  • Development representative


Northeast Design Review Board:

  • Local business representative
  • Community representative
  • Local residential representative


West Design Review Board:

  • Design representative
  • Development profession representative
  • Local residential representative


To be considered for appointment, please send an application, cover letter and resume by December 15, 2016 to Lisa Rutzick at

You may download an application or email to receive a copy.

Emailed applications are preferred, as electronic documents facilitate file sharing among the selection committee. If emailing is not an option, applicants can send their applications via U.S. mail to:

Lisa Rutzick, Design Review Program Manager
City of Seattle
Department of Construction and Inspections
700 – 5th Ave, Suite 1800
P.O. Box 34019
Seattle, Washington 98124-4019

Applications will be accepted for positions other than those listed above and kept on file for consideration for future openings.

Applicants should have:

  • Knowledge of, or interest in, architecture, urban design and the development process,
  • The ability to evaluate projects based on the city’s design guidelines,
  • The ability to listen and communicate effectively at public meetings,
  • A passion for design and community development, and
  • The ability to work well with others under pressure (prior experience with community or neighborhood groups is a plus)


Board members must live in Seattle. Following appointment, the local residential interests representative act as an ambassador to at least one community group or association (e.g. community council) that operates within the board district. Similarly, following appointment the local business interests representative act as an ambassador to at least one business group or association (e.g. chamber of commerce) that operates within the board district. Acting as an ambassador is often facilitated if the board member lives or works within the district he or she is serving, but residency in a district is not a requirement to serve as a local business representative.

Board members should expect to work approximately 15 hours a month attending and preparing for board meetings, which are held twice a month in the evenings. Board members are expected to attend at least 90 percent of the meetings.


Board members are appointed by the Mayor and City Council and serve two-year terms.  Members serve on one of seven boards that review projects in the city’s major geographic districts. Each board is composed of five members who represent:

  • Design profession
  • Development interests
  • General community interests
  • Local business interests
  • Local residential interests


The Design Review Program was established in 1994 to provide an alternative to prescriptive zoning requirements and foster new development that better responds to the character of its surroundings. Boards evaluate the design of development projects based on citywide and neighborhood-specific design guidelines. The boards review mixed-use developments, multifamily housing, and commercial projects above a certain size threshold. For more information on the Design Review Board and the City’s Design Review Program, visit:

For other information, please contact Lisa Rutzick, Design Review Program Manager, at 206-386-9049 or via e-mail at



Seattle Design Commission Welcomes New Landscape Architect

The Design Commission has a new Landscape Architect. Rachel Gleeson is a Senior Associate at Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates (MVVA), where she has worked since 2001. Her work engages a wide range of landscape types, including campuses, parks, and gardens. Notable projects include the Campus Landscape Framework for the University of Washington, the redesign of the North End of Union Square Park, Chelsea Cover of Hudson River Park, and the CRC Garden at Rockefeller University. She also supports a number of MVVA projects through design writing. Rachel’s written work includes an essay on MVVA’s urban plazas in Reconstructing Urban Landscapes, as well as other journal and magazine articles.

Rachel received her Bachelor of Arts from Columbia College of Columbia University. She holds a Master of Architecture and a Master of Landscape Architecture from the University of Virginia and a Master of Art in Art History from the University of Washington. She is a licensed landscape architect in Washington State.

Reminder: Seeking Representatives for the Construction Codes Advisory Board

Mayor Ed Murray announced that he is seeking candidates for two vacant positions on Seattle’s Construction Codes Advisory Board.  The current open positions are for an electrical engineer representative and a general public representative.

The board is a 13-member body that works together to research, analyze, and make recommendations to the Mayor, City Council, and DPD on the technical codes affecting buildings in Seattle. The board plays an important role in shaping the codes Seattle adopts and how these codes are interpreted. In addition to the board’s advisory role to City officials, the board hears appeals of DPD’s building code decisions. The work requires considered attention to details of highly technical codes. The City relies on the board members’ professional experience and opinions in determining which codes to adopt and to amend.

Board members will be asked to prepare for and attend meetings on the first and third Thursdays at noon in downtown Seattle. The actual frequency of meetings depends on the board’s workload; there may be some months with no or only one meeting a month.

Strong candidates will be civic-minded, critical thinkers interested in the design and construction of Seattle’s built environment. Selected individuals must have perspective, experience, and talents that will enhance the board. Successful candidates will have a willingness to devote two to six hours a month to board meetings and other board duties.

These positions are voluntary and are appointed by Mayor Murray and confirmed by the City Council. Applicants must live, work, or do business in Seattle. City employees are not eligible to be board members.

The City of Seattle is committed to promoting diversity in the city’s boards and commissions. Women, persons with disabilities, sexual and gender minorities, young persons, senior citizens, persons of color, and immigrants are encouraged to apply.

The application period closes on Tuesday, March 17.

To apply, complete a New Member Application. The application is posted on the Construction Code Advisory Board’s webpage at

For a paper application or to ask a question, please contact:

Julie A. Hines, DPD Staff Liaison and Code Development Analyst
(206) 233-2766