Seattle Design Process “Improvements” Public Hearing

Your Input Matters!

Seattle Design Process “Improvements” Public Hearing
MONDAY, Sept. 11, 2017

Sign up to testify: 5:00pm
Public comments begin: 7:00pm

LOCATION of Public Hearing:
SIFF Cinema Uptown, Auditorium 3
511 Queen Anne Avenue North
Seattle, WA 98109

Growth without Oversight
Do you believe in responsible growth that is positive for your community’s quality of life?

Then make your voice heard with the City Council! The City’s proposal to amend the design review process takes away your influence concerning what gets built in your immediate neighborhood.

Currently, both the City and the Neighborhood Design Guidelines combine with a format that offers two public Design Review meetings to make growth fit within the context of your neighborhood.  Without the check and balance of inclusive design review, growth can destroy neighborhoods.  With it, the character and quality of the neighborhood is strengthened when adding housing and commercial spaces.

If you can attend the Hearing & make public comment, please do so! See below for more info on the proposes changes.
Get there early & bring a neighbor! 

In addition to attending the hearing, please ask all Council Members to:
– Leave the Design Review process as is
– Enforce: Direct city employees and the Design Review Boards to enforce existing design guidelines

“Please leave the Design Process as is, and instead, direct the city to start enforcing design guidelines. Too many departures are being granted, too many setback requirements are being ignored, and too many loopholes are being exploited due to poor enforcement by the City.”

Please CALL City Council and tell them your thoughts:  206-684-8888
Please E-mail City Council:

Please submit your comments to Mayor Murray:

Proposed changes that impact neighborhoods include:

  • Removing neighborhoods from the process by replacing language such as:
    • “Neighborhood priorities among the design guidelines” with “identify guideline priorities”.
    • “Highest priority to the neighborhood” with “highest priority to the Board”.
  • Exempting projects on properties of less than 10,000 square feet from any design review. In the past 2 years, 29% of projects were in this category. For perspective: most four story apartment buildings are on properties of less than 10,000 square feet.
  • Restricting the scope of the Design Review Process:
    • Administrative – Developments inside Urban Villages get Administrative Design Review, with no public meetings, if less than 20,000 square feet.
    • Hybrid – Developments up to 20,000 square feet (or larger inside an Urban Village) would require only the Design Review Board “Recommendation” meeting and not the “Early Design Guidance” meeting.
    • Full – Only the largest developments, over 20,000 square feet, and only outside Urban Village boundaries, would require the normal Design Review Board “Early Design Guidance” and “Recommendation” meetings.
  • Revising who is a stakeholder by changing straightforward terms such as “Developers” to more generic terms like “Project Proponents”.
  • Shifting responsibility and authority from the Design Review Board to the Director. This has the effect of making Design Review Boards less independent, and will make the Board positions less attractive to the professionals who volunteer their time.
  • Granting departures from building code without public review.

Your input DOES MATTER!  Last year, due to comments and push-back from all over the city, the proposed changes were tabled until now.

Want to learn more?

The Seattle Neighborhood Coalition (SNC) will be discussing the proposed Design Review changes at their monthly meeting this Saturday9:00AM500 30th Ave S. (Leschi neighborhood of Central District).

Read more about the draft recommendations here:
Design Review Program Improvements, Seattle Department of Construction & Inspections (SDCI).
Draft Ordinance (PDF format).

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