Help Shape Our Online Experience

Want to give Seattle City Light a piece of your mind? We have a unique opportunity for you to help us shape the future online experience for City Light. We are hosting 90-minute workshops for you to provide us feedback and your own personal insights March 29 and April 1  from noon to 1:30 p.m. If you’re interested, email us at with your name and date preference. We’ll respond with a few questions to get us started and provide you with additional details. We can’t wait to hear from you!

Design Review Program Improvement Recommendations Available for Public Comment

Seattle DCI and OPCD released draft Design Review Program Improvement recommendations on March 9, 2016. Our recommendations identify and evaluate organizational, structural, and procedural changes to enhance the design review program’s efficiency and enable it to better achieve its purpose. You can comment on our recommendations through April 8.

Over the last year, we worked with a 16-member stakeholder advisory group as well as the general public to develop specific recommendations about how to improve the Design Review program. We gathered input through stakeholder and focus group interviews, an online survey, and two community open houses held in September and October 2015.

The Design Review Program began in 1994. Since then, the Design Review Board has improved over a thousand development projects! The program and its boards review multiple aspects of private development projects in Seattle, including:

  • The overall appearance of the building
  • How the proposal relates to adjacent sites
  • Pedestrian and vehicular access
  • The unusual aspects of the site, like views or slopes
  • Quality of materials, open space, and landscaping

Even though it’s a very successful program, the process hasn’t changed significantly. Concerns regarding the program’s effectiveness and efficiency prompted us to identify opportunities for improvement.

Goals of the Design Review Program Improvements Project include:

Develop recommendations that:

  • Cultivate the program’s purpose of encouraging better design
  • Improve the level of consistency, efficiency, and predictability in how the City administers the program
  • Increase accessibility to encourage better dialogue between the boards, applicants, and community
  • Use communication strategies and tools (both traditional and emerging technologies) to improve how information is presented, shared, and reviewed throughout the entire design review process

Our general approach to identifying methods to improve the program focused on:

  • What people like about the program
  • What could be improved
  • How people currently engage with the program
  • How people prefer to engage with the program in the future

For more information, visit the Design Review Program Improvement website.

Hundreds of Comments on the Seattle 2035 Draft Plan

Thank you Seattle for offering over 2,100 comments, opinions, letters, and surveys about the Seattle 2035 Draft Comprehensive Plan. Staff is now organizing and reviewing your feedback. We will post verbatim comments and summaries at in the coming month.  

The Draft Plan went live for public review in July 2015. We received online comments on the plan throughout the summer and fall. In October and November, DPD organized five citywide community open houses in Capitol Hill, Ballard, Othello, the West Seattle Junction and at the North Seattle College. Over 400 people attended the meetings, browsed displays, posed questions to city staff and listened to a presentation. Displays included an overview of the Plan, description of 10 Key Proposals, plus information about the Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda (HALA). Up to 18 city staff attended each event to answer questions, listen and document comments on large easel pads.

Although the comment period on the Draft Plan is now closed, the conversation with the community will continue next year after City Council receives the Mayor’s Final Plan, and as community meetings about urban village boundaries and HALA begin. Look for the release of the Mayor’s Plan, Final EIS, and Final Equity Analysis in March 2016.

DPD and Ballard Partnership Seek Input for Ballard Urban Design Study

– City launching online & in-person options to give your thoughts on Ballard’s Future

  • Attend an open house at the Ballard Library on May 7 from 5:30 – 7:30 to learn about the project, join in conversations about Ballard’s future, and share your ideas.
  • Provide your feedback through the Imagine Seattle website that will ask questions on a series of topics over the next few weeks.

Over the past decade, Ballard has seen significant changes from the “sleepy” neighborhood it once was. The area has become denser as it became attractive to younger people and to families with children. At the same time, the job market has changed, but job growth has not kept up with the population growth.

We are partnering with the Ballard Partnership for Smart Growth (Partnership) on a coordinated and strategic planning effort to address these changes and help create a vision that will shape growth and guide new development in Ballard.

For the past year, the DPD and Seattle Department of Transportation have been coordinating with the Partnership as they have identified issues and opportunities to address as Ballard grows. In response to their work, the addition of RapidRide and potential light rail to Ballard, the City has begun work on an Urban Design Framework (UDF). It will be a collaborative vision and recommendation for urban design, land use, transportation and other strategies that will guide future development while ensuring Ballard’s people and places thrive. We’ll look at a larger area to understand the context, but the focus of work is on where we are likely to see continued development and change in the coming years (see map).

The City and Ballard Partnership for Smart Growth are hosting an open house at the Ballard Library on May 7 from 5:30 – 7:30 to provide an opportunity to learn about the project, join in conversations about Ballard’s future, and share your ideas. Since Ballard has many active users of online news and blogs, the City is using the Imagine Seattle website to get your feedback on a series of topics over the next few weeks. Each week, the site will provide some facts about Ballard (a full background report is available here) and prompt you for your thoughts and priorities. Many questions allow you to “map” suggestions, and once registered, you will receive weekly updates about the conversations. Whether online or at a meeting, the City and Ballard Partnership hope to encourage a respectful and productive exchange among neighbors – we want to hear all of Ballard’s ideas about the future.

The Ballard Partnership for Smart Growth is tackling many topics and recently received an $85,000 grant from the City’s Only in Seattle program. Working with the City they identified the following areas that the City can address through the year-long UDF project. Your thoughts and ideas are needed to help direct and prioritize our work on the following topics:

  • Character of Development: Ballard is booming. What should the mix and character of development be as the Ballard core grows?
  • Improve Connections: Metro introduced Rapid Ride, and by mid-2014, Sound Transit and the Seattle Department of Transportation will have completed their study of possible high-capacity transit improvements between Ballard and downtown Seattle. What types of transportation connections are needed to support growth, and what are the opportunities and challenges presented by the potential high capacity transit stations?
  • Expand Economic Opportunity: The local business community, neighborhood groups, and non-profits have mobilized to form a Ballard Partnership for Smart Growth with the mission to encourage investment and identify strategies to augment Ballard’s commercial core. How can the City grow and diversify to expand economic opportunity?
  • Sustain Health: The primary goal of this collaboration is to foster an environment that supports the health and access to opportunity for a diverse community. What specific actions should we take to increase access to resources such as affordable housing, employment, and safe public spaces that support a healthy community?

The Imagine Seattle website does require registration, so if you don’t wish to join the conversation online, you can fill out a one-time survey or attend the open house. This is the first of three phases of work and coordinated community engagement. The City and Ballard Partnership will use all the input to shape recommendations.

What do you think about the future of Ballard? Here’s how you can provide your feedback:

Questions? Comments?
David Goldberg, Planner
(206) 615-1447

Aditi Kambuj, Planner