New Commissioners Sought For Seattle Planning Commission

The City of Seattle is looking for candidates to serve on the Seattle Planning Commission beginning in April 2016. Planning Commission members are appointed by the Mayor or the City Council and may serve up to two consecutive, three-year terms. This year, three positions will be open in total; all appointed by the Mayor and confirmed by the full City Council. The City is committed to promoting diversity in the City’s boards and commissions. Persons of color, women, persons with disabilities, and sexual minorities are strongly encouraged to apply. Commissioners must reside in Seattle and serve without compensation.

Who We Are
We are a 16-member commission of neighbors that care about the future of our city. We are a group of individuals that have served on neighborhood councils, community design review boards, as well as many other community focused volunteer roles. We have a broad range of skills and perspectives that include architecture and design, land use and transportation planning, low-income housing development, and community engagement specialists.

What We Do
We advise the Mayor, City Council, and City departments on citywide planning goals, policies, and plans and provide them with independent and objective advice on land-use and zoning, transportation, and housing issues.

The commission is the steward of the City’s Comprehensive Plan, our citywide vision for how Seattle grows. We debate the benefits and impacts of these important policies and advise on how best to plan for the future.

In the recent past, the commission has helped to raise important issues such as:

  • Affordable housing, creating an action plan for affordable housing that had a special focus on housing for families with children
  • How to better align investments in transportation with investments in needed community spaces, creating vibrant and successful transit communities


What We Are Looking For
We have a broad range of skills and perspectives but we are always looking for new voices that bring to light issues facing all parts of the city. We are looking for people who:

  • Bring a commitment to making Seattle a great place to live and have knowledge and experience in land use and planning
  • Have a commitment to community-building and community engagement
  • Have an understanding of transportation investments and how they impact the neighborhoods around them
  • Can speak to the needs of affordable housing or have an understanding of what role affordability plays in the city
  • Have a passion for communicating planning to a diverse set of stakeholders


Participation in the Planning Commission is a significant volunteer commitment. This includes attendance at monthly meetings (the second and fourth Thursdays of each month) and participation on at least one sub-committee that meets monthly. Commissioners also attend and participate in relevant public meetings and events.

How To Apply
To be considered for appointment to the Seattle Planning Commission, please send a letter of interest and resume by post or e-mail by February 26, 2016 addressed to:

Vanessa Murdock, Executive Director
Seattle Planning Commission
City of Seattle
Office of Planning and Community Development
PO Box 34019
Seattle WA 98124-4019

Please consider including any voluntary personal information regarding your cultural background, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, or disability that might assist us in meeting the City’s goal to create diverse boards and commissions.

For more information, please contact Vanessa Murdock, Commission Executive Director at 206-733-9271 or via e-mail at

For more information about the Seattle Planning Commission please visit our website at

Seattle Arena Approved by the Seattle Design Commission

After thoughtful consideration this morning, the Seattle Design Commission voted 6-0 to recommend approval of the proposed arena at 1700 1st Avenue South. This comes on the heels of a recommended approval by the Design Review Board earlier this week.

Since the arena proposal involves the closure of a street segment (Occidental Avenue South between Massachusetts and Holgate Streets), it required review and approval from the Seattle Design Commission through the street vacation process. The Commission’s review included assessing the function of the street system and how the street vacation impacts the remaining streets in the area. The Design Commission also evaluated the public benefits in exchange for the street closure.

The Commission will soon provide official feedback to the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT), which informs SDOT’s formal recommendation to City Council on whether or not to approve the street vacation. SDOT’s recommendation is anticipated to be completed and transmitted to City Council this fall.

The City Council will then hold a public hearing and will deliberate at one or more meetings before making a decision. Street vacation decisions go to the City Council’s Transportation Committee and then to Full Council for a final decision.

If the City Council grants the street vacation request, the Department of Planning and Development (DPD) will then publish the Master Use Permit decision for the arena, including mitigation of the impacts noted within the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) which DPD issued in May 2015. With the Boards & Commissions process complete, City staff will continue to review appropriate traffic mitigation measures and move towards a decision. DPD’s decision on the proposal is expected to occur in early 2016, pending Council action on the street vacation.

View the Seattle Arena permit timeline.