RBCA is embarking on some of the most interesting land use discussions that we have had in some time. First, the City is in the process of updating is Comprehensive Plan, called Seattle 2035. The City’s Comprehensive plan is the policy document that guides long-range land use planning strategies. While there are updates to the plan each year, this effort is part of a wholesale update to the Plan that occurs every 10 years. In the Draft Plan, the City has recommended expanding the Roosevelt Urban Village Growth Boundary into portions of Ravenna-Bryant’s Community Association’s Boundary.
The City notes that this expansion is intended to include an area that is a 10-minute walk from frequent transit (in this case, the Roosevelt LINK station, scheduled to open in 2021). In addition, the City Council is in the process of adopting a legislation proposed by the Mayor’s HALA (Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda) committee to upzone most portions of the City zoned for intensive residential and commercial uses*, in conjunction with requiring 5-7% of new residential units to be made affordable a below-market rates.
The confluence of these two events presents an opportunity to provide feedback to DPD about land use policy decisions that may affect how our neighborhood will evolve in the future. At the last RBCA Board meeting, we had a robust debate about how and where the Roosevelt UV boundary should expand, with some interest in amending the proposed expansion area to be more aligned along the 65th Avenue corridor instead of the recommended expansion area proposed by DPD.
The consensus seemed to be that there is an opportunity to better address the need for greater housing diversity (in terms of product type and income level) along that corridor and perhaps focus more of DPD’s planning efforts in Ravenna business district proper. This is an area where zoning already allows for more intense uses than exist currently, but lacks a strategy for streetscape improvements and neighborhood –specific urban design standards. In addition, given the two current proposed developments along the neighborhood’s southern boundary on Union Bay Place, and the strong likelihood of redevelopment along 55th and 65th at some point in the future, we may want to discuss whether and when it would be appropriate to request Urban Village status for some portion of Ravenna-Bryant. An urban planning best practice is that infrastructure planning (and investment) should keep up with growth, and perhaps one or more UV designations could be a mechanism to support better planning.
So, how can you participate in the discussion of these exciting topics? First, we invite you to attend the November 3rd RBCA board meeting (yes, on election day) when we will be discussing the Comp Plan 2035 update process, and HALA. We will be learning more about both of these initiatives and assessing whether to opine on one or both as a Board. Second, individual comments regarding the Comp Plan 2035 should be directed to the City’s website http://2035.seattle.
gov/ no later than November 20.
* land zoned for a mix of multifamily, office and retail uses (i.e. “Neighborhood commercial” and “Commercial” zones)
Written by Chris Fiori and Sarah Swanberg, RBCA board members