Help Ensure the Future of Preservation! Seattle’s Department of Planning & Development’s Public Comment Period ended June 18 regarding Seattle 2035 Comp Plan Updates – DEIS.
Allied Arts and other preservation advocates provided input on the City’s Comprehensive Plan Update – DEIS. The Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the city’s Comp Plan update, (Seattle 2035), was recently released. The Comp Plan serves as a roadmap to achieving the city’s future vision over the next 20 years, while preserving and improving our neighborhoods. Seattle 2035 includes land use, transportation, housing, environment, neighborhood planning, economic development, and urban design. Visit the online open house to explore the elements of the DEIS.
Key Points Featured Below – Downloadable Version Here
• The Draft EIS proposal states that “All Comprehensive Plan elements will be reviewed and updated as part of the proposal.” The draft does not address Economic Development, Neighborhood Planning, Cultural Resource, and Urban Design.
• The current plan includes preservation under the “Cultural Resource” element (CR11-CR16).The new Comp Plan replaces “Cultural Resource” with an “Arts and Culture” element. which focuses on art (public art, cultural space, arts education, creative economy, creative placemaking) yet seems to eliminate historic preservation and protection of cultural resources. How will preservation be included in the future Comp Plan?How are the city’s existing preservation policies and regulations being addressed?
• The “Environment” element addresses environmental stewardship, one of the plan’s core values is primarily defined within the context of the natural environment (air, land, and water resources) and not built environment. The analysis should address the role of preservation vs demolition in terms of environmental stewardship.
• Prioritizing and preserving Historic Places including Seattle’s arts and cultural experiences is important to community diversity and character, economic vitality, and environmental stewardship. Preservation and creative adaptive reuse of our existing building stock cuts across all four core values of the Comp Plan:
o Preservation enhances community vibrancy and cultural identity
o Preservation is an economic driver
o Preservation conserves resources
o Preservation contributes to social equity
Additionally, the character of a neighborhood, historic district or individual building is important to community members and should be recognized in any plan to move forward. Older buildings are significant components of neighborhoods and urban villages and community resources in our stewardship. The plan should encourage that some of the buildings which add character to a place are preserved in addition to buildings that receive historic designation status. Character buildings represent a community’s history and shape our collective sense of place by virtue of our past. The plan as proposed fundamentally encourages that in areas targeted for growth (e.g. urban villages), almost all the buildings will be replaced with new ones (except for the very small % of buildings that are explicitly protected.). Urban villages need a mix of old and new, yet the plan encourages the 21st century version of “urban removal” in our urban villages. The plan must recognize and create incentives to preserve older buildings as 1) they are fundamental and necessary to preserve our City’s history, livability, and desirability; 2) they generate successful minority and women business opportunities, 3) they exist in and define the fabric of our homes, urban centers, and residential urban villages; 4) buildings that have already been built are actually greener per square foot than any new building generated from new materials; 5) they are the heartbeat of Seattle that citizens, tourists, and businesses love.
• The Plan does not appear to prioritize the significance of the City’s tree canopy, an environmental and community resource. In 2000 the City of Seattle encouraged a Millennium Tree Planting Program and gave free trees to its citizens. Mature trees being felled will take generations to grow back, creating a warmer micro-climate and defacing our neighborhoods and urban centers.
• Street setbacks are also important as an element of a neighborhood’s character and walk-ability, as essential elements of design in older neighborhoods and should be preserved.
Thank you in advance for your support and advocacy!