We were already planning to publish a reminder about a City Council committee hearing Monday night that’s of citywide importance to everyone interested in development – the Planning, Land Use, and Zoning Committee‘s hearing on proposed changes to the Design Review process. Then, just now, a local community group that closely watches development-related issues sent an alert with new last-minute information. From the Morgan Community Association:
The city has proposed some major changes to the existing Design Review Program. MoCA President (and past Design Review member) Deb Barker was on the stakeholders group who worked with the city on possible changes earlier this year. The city just released their final proposed version in a package sent to the City Council in August. Several MoCA board members have been reviewing those changes to see how they would impact our neighborhood and if we wanted to make additional comments at the Public Hearing tomorrow, Sept 11. But to our dismay, on Friday (Sept. 8th), the City Council Planning, Land Use and Zoning Committee proposed 9 additional amendments of modifications, some of which have multiple new options. In their discussion, staff was not able to actually describe what the full changes are and admit it is confusing and more information is needed.
In a nutshell, we don’t know what’s on the table any more!
The PLUZ committee has said they plan to vote this out of committee on Sept 19. We are asking anyone who has an interest in good design happening in our neighborhoods to write to the PLUZ committee and request more time for Council to solidify their amendments and have time for the public to review and comment on the final package. Please send a short note to city council by 7:00 pm Monday, Sept 11.
Email addresses for the PLUZ committee
Link to the Mayor’s proposed changes to Design Review (Director’s Report summary)
Link to the City Council proposed amendments (as of last Friday)
The council committee has been discussing the potential changes (pre-amendments) in recent months; we wrote about one of the discussions in mid-August. In general, reasons cited for changing the program include shortening the time it takes to get projects through city vetting, and also an alleged overload/backlog for the city’s Design Review Boards (although right now, for example, the Southwest Design Review Board has zero projects on its upcoming calendar).
MONDAY NIGHT’S HEARING: If you’d like to comment in person at the committee’s hearing on the Design Review changes, the Monday night hearing is on Lower Queen Anne, at SIFF Cinema Uptown, in Auditorium 3, 511 Queen Anne Ave. N. The meeting starts at 5:30 pm with an hour and a half scheduled for the Uptown rezoning proposal, not related to the Design Review proposal, which is then scheduled to come up at 7 pm. The meeting’s full agenda, with document links, is here.