Friday, August 1, 2014

Review Our Zoning Recommendations & Streetscape Design Guidelines

UPDATE 3: Public comments were accepted through Friday, August 15th. Therefore, mentions of the public comment period within the post below have been crossed out.  The streetscape design guidelines and zoning recommendations described below will now be revised based on the feedback received, which includes:
UPDATE 2: A FAQ (frequently asked questions) has been put together to dispel some misinformation about this proactive grassroots planning project, which you can read here. Alternatively, click on FAQ tab above.
UPDATE 1: To make it easier for review, below is an itemized list of documents to both illustrate and understand the proposed streetscape design and zoning recommendations.
  • Zoning Cheat Sheet (PDF, 1MB) - A summary of what the City's zoning codes mean to help understand the current and proposed zoning.
  • Supplemental Design Guidelines (PDF, 1MB) - Guidelines intended to help shape the design of future development beyond what the city-wide design guidelines.
  • Streetscape Design & Zoning Recommendations (PDF, 5.5MB) - Illustrations depicting our proposed streetscape design guidelines and changes to current zoning. Sheets 1-2 summarize our streetscape guidelines between the major commercial areas (e.g., connectors) and at the commercial areas (e.g., nodes). Sheets 3-6 summarize the proposed zoning changes at the commercial "nodes."  Please note that the current zoning is shown in the top right for comparison and brief descriptions of the changes are provided along the right edge.

Last night, 70 people attended the 3rd and final public workshop where the 35th Ave Committee unveiled the streetscape guidelines and zoning recommendations developed based on the community feedback from the previous two public workshops.  After a presentation summarizing the zoning recommendations and streetscape plan, participants visited workstations where they could review the zoning recommendations at each node (NE 65th St, NE 75th St, NE 85th St, and NE 95th St) or streetscape plans to ask questions and provide feedback.  Excellent feedback (for and against) was received which is still being processed. As noted above, feedback is encouraged from those who couldn't attend last night's public workshop through Friday, August 15th. Comments can be sent to  The Questions or Comments box to the right of this post can also be used.

Each person who attended the public workshop was provided this handout (PDF, 1.3MB) which included the workshop agenda, an evaluation, and a summary of the zoning recommendations.  An illustrated summary of our proposed streetscape plan zoning recommendations is provided here (PDF, 5.5MB).

Click Image to View Our
Proposed Supplemental Design
Guidelines (PDF, 1MB)
Also included on Page 4 of the handout and within the presentation above (starting on Slide 42) are Supplemental Design Guidelines developed to accompany the City's recently updated Citywide Design Guidelines. These supplemental design guidelines will be provided to the Department of Planning & Development and the City's Design Review Board.  These supplemental design guidelines will likely not be codified by City Council, but they are intended to be instructive to future developers about what types of design features our community supports in exchange for the increased height and zoning.

Click Image to View Our
Zoning Recommendations &
Streetscape Design
Guidelines (PDF 5.5MB) 
The streetscape features recommended are intended to provide interest and invitation to pedestrians while creating a greater level of safety for those walking to and along 35th Ave NE.  The streetscape design features will ultimately be prepared in the format required by the Seattle Department of Transportation's Right-of-Way Improvements Manual so that future developers are aware of the sidewalk typology, treatments, and features requested by the community.

Our streetscape design proposal didn't focus on the travel and parking lanes due to a potential separated bike facility along 35th Ave NE as approved in the City's Bicycle Master Plan. This decision was made as any separate bike facility constructed in the future would necessitate its own significant design completed by the City.  Nevertheless, our plan makes a few specific recommendations to improve the intersection of 35th Ave NE and NE 75th Street while also making it safer to cross 35th Ave NE throughout the corridor.  This recommendation is illustrated on Slide 41 in the presentation but can also be summarized as follows:
  • Relocate the Metro bus stop at the SE corner of the 35th/75th intersection to the NE corner of the intersection, in front of the "I Heart Bento" building.  This would also require eliminating a load zone in front of the building.  
  • Install pocket left turn lanes for north and south bound traffic, as was done a few years back on NE 75th at that intersection for east and west bound traffic.  
  • Eliminate the peak hour parking restrictions throughout the 35th Ave NE business district corridor which will turn 35th Ave NE into a 2 lane road with permanent parking versus a multi-lane road with temporary parking as it is now.  This would allow more crosswalks and potentially curb bulbs or other intersection improvements to reduce the crossing distance and improve pedestrian safety.  
Our zoning recommendations were focused at the four most prominent "nodes" along the 35th Ave business district: NE 65th St, NE 75th St, NE 85th St, and NE 95th St.  The proposed height increases and zoning changes were developed based on the feedback received during the Public Workshop 2.  These preferences are illustrated in the presentation.  The recommendations are summarized on the attached illustrations.  Most of the recommended zoning changes are height increases, although some are zoning changes.


  1. A lot of work went into this! Thanks to everyone who has participated.

  2. This is great for developers, but probably not great for the neighbor. Do we really need 185,000 sq ft of commercial space and 650 residential units along the 35th Ave NE corridor? This plan also calls for turning 35th into a two lane road, which seems fraught with problems if your plan is to increase density this much. It turns the area into a commercial district. Neighborhoods will lose their community feel; homeowners (and renters) on the west side will certainly lose their views; street parking one block off 35th in both directions will be prime. Of course it will happen because the real goal is to make money, not to improve neighborhoods.

  3. I second Valarie's comments. I feel very fortunate to live in a neighborhood where these issues are being proactively addressed through this grassroots initiative, and greatly appreciate everyone who has participated. In general, I'm excited about the proposed changes, and welcome the increased density and pedestrian improvements on 35th. But I realize that there are going to be differences of opinion with any proposal, and that's what this process is all about. Please get involved now, and urge your neighbors to do the same, while there is still time to provide input.