Comprehensive Plan getting comprehensive Council review

The 2035 Comprehensive Plan final draft  has been published by the Mayor’s Office, and is about to go through an extensive review process both as a public process and by the City Council. Yesterday the Planning, Land Use and Zoning Committee got a high-level overview of the changes in the plan and the process the Council will use to review it.

The document itself, which is seeing its first major update since 2004, has been reformatted for primarily online reading and rearranged around specific policy goals. The core value is not “race and social equity,” and the top issues it addresses are:

  • affordable housing;
  • transit;
  • parks and open space;
  • utilities and city services; and
  • schools.

what makes the document interesting — and complicated — is that all of these issues interrelate; it’s impossible to tease any of them out into a separate initiative independent of what’s happening with all the others. And of course the elephant standing in the middle of the room is the city’s growth rate as a driver of all of these issues as well as the importance of racial and social equity. The plan focuses on policies, not specific remedies, and those 130 policy statements are arranged across six themes:

  1. Prioritize public investments to meet the needs of marginalized populations;
  2. Analyze city decisions through a race and social equity lens;
  3. Stabilize communities to reduce displacement pressures;
  4. Create economic mobility for all to participate in Seattle’s prosperity;
  5. Provide more affordable housing choices throughout the city; and
  6. Engage marginalized populations in decisions that affect their communities.

Of course, the other big policy document that needs to be tied in is HALA, which has four points of integration into the Comprehensive Plan: new housing policies related to mandatory programs, urban village boundary expansions, land use changes and rezones within urban villages, and land use policies that encourage more housing choices.

Since the Comprehensive Plan is so broad, the burden of reviewing its pieces will be spread across several Council committees over the course of June and July.

comp plan review schedule

Council member Rob Johnson, the chair of the Planning, Land Use and Zoning Committee, plans to attend all of the review meetings. He is also working to allocate funding for a series of “charrettes” held in neighborhoods around the city to ensure that citizens have an opportunity to learn about and provide feedback on the Comprehensive Plan before it is finalized in the fall. The website for the Comprehensive Plan is here.