The Future 35th Ave NE Plan - Final Report, which incorporates revisions made based on the public comment period referred to below, has been published and is accessible HERE (PDF, 5MB). A Supplemental Design Guidelines Handbood, which summarizes those design guidelines included in the final reprot, was also prepared.  You can access that handbook HERE (PDF, 1MB).

The 1st of 2 postcards mailed to all
residents within 5 blocks of 35th Ave NE.
In July/August 2014, the proposed streetscape guidelines and zoning recommendations were posted following the 3rd and final public workshop. Recognizing that any proposed land use changes to 35th Ave NE would have some element of contention, a public comment period was established to solicit feedback from those who could not attend the final public workshop. More community input on the proposal has been coming in, as hoped. However, a lot of misinformation has circulated about who is proposing these land use changes and what the proposal actually is. Therefore, this Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page has been prepared to hopefully dispel some of that misinformation.

Is the City of Seattle or a developer pushing this plan?
No. As the "About" page says, this project has been proposed and initiated by the 35th Ave Committee, which is a grassroots volunteer community group formed shortly after the Wedgwood Community Council (WCC) completed its Wedgwood Vision Plan in 2010. The Vision Plan makes statements about the future Commercial and Mixed Use areas in Wedgwood on Page 12 of the Vision Plan, such as:
  • C-1  The Wedgwood Business District will feature increased commercial businesses and mixed-use buildings (commercial on 1st floor entrance opening to the sidewalk with offices and residential above) on 35th Avenue NE. This new growth will provide the neighborhood with increased services and housing options and add vitality to the business district
  • C-2  Much of the neighborhood commercial and mixed-use development will focus near current commercial areas on 35th Avenue NE at NE 85th Street and NE 75th Street. There will also likely be increased commercial and mixed-use development along 35th Avenue NE between the areas, including live/work housing. 
The Vision Plan goes on to include Suggested Actions on Page 14, which includes to "Undertake a neighborhood plan that includes a review of current zoning standards and design guidelines with the City DPD. Revise development standards as appropriate in accordance with community preferences established in the neighborhood plan."

Out of these statements and suggested actions, a group of residents from Ravenna-Bryant, Wedgwood, Hawthorne Hills, and View Ridge began volunteering to advocate and pursue a "neighborhood plan" for the whole 35th Ave NE business district and not just that portion within Wedgwood.

The 35th Ave Committee is comprised of biologists, leadership trainers, architects, physicians, bankers, stay-at-home dads, real estate brokers, retired transportation planners, and the like. It includes board members and land use committee members from the Ravenna-Bryant Community Association (RBCA) and WCC. The chair of the 35th Ave Committee is Per Johnson, who is on the WCC. None of the 35th Ave Committee members work for the City of Seattle or for any prospective developer on 35th Ave NE.

The 2nd of 2 postcards mailed to all
residents within 5 blocks of 35th.
The City of Seattle's only involvement in this plan to date has been to award the 35th Ave Committee with a Small & Simple Neighborhood Matching Fund grant from the Department of Neighborhoods so the 35th Ave Committee could hire a consultant to assist the 35th Ave Committee with developing our proposed streetscape guidelines and zoning recommendations. The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) and Department of Planning and Development (DPD) have also been tangentially involved by providing technical review and oversight of our proposal at our request.

Why is the Public Comment Period occurring in the middle of summer?
The timing of the public comment period is a reflection of the project schedule, which is driven by when we received the grant funding this project. A detailed schedule of this project can be seen in the Request for Qualifications (RFQ) that the 35th Ave Committee issued to solicit a consultant. In addition, the 35th Ave Committee decided immediately after our July 31st public workshop to include a 15-day public comment period to allow those who could not attend our final public workshop to provide additional input. The purpose of the public comment period is to maximize the opportunity for people to comment.

Why is the 35th Ave Committee proposing to build "tall buildings" along 35th Ave NE, like Ballard?
The 35th Ave Committee isn't proposing to build anything and are certainly not trying to replicate any other neighborhood's business district. The 35th Ave NE business district is unique and our hope is to try to reflect what the surrounding neighborhoods would like to see for that business district. But, the 35th Ave Committee also recognizes that change and development is inevitable. Without a plan for the business district based on what the community wants there could be missed opportunities. Inevitable change can be most visibly demonstrated by the current proposal to redevelop the +3.5 acre former Children's Home Society of Washington property near 35th Ave NE and NE 65th St.

The Jasper Apartments, located on
35th Ave NE between NE 86th St and NE 87th St.
While it may not look like it, the 35th Ave NE business district is significantly underdeveloped from what its current zoning allows for. Many people were surprised when the Jasper Apartments was initially proposed on 35th Ave NE, between NE 86th St and NE 87th St. What people may not know is that the business district is already zoned to allow for more "tall buildings" like the Jasper. However, instead of only focusing on what the community doesn't want from future developments, this planning has been intended to proactively articulate what our community wants to help guide the future development and inevitable change before it occurs. The modest zoning changes and height increases within our proposed zoning recommendations are intended for a variety of reasons. One of which though is to create the conditions necessary to support the preferred commercial and business types (e.g., restaurants, bookstores, hardware stores, and more) that the community has said it would like to be able to walk to.

Would development of "tall buildings" occur immediately after this plan is finalized?
To reiterate, the 35th Ave Committee is not proposing to develop anything. Any future development would be initiated by a land owner or developer as market conditions warrant. Therefore, it's not possible to know when development may occur on 35th Ave NE.

However, many well-loved businesses on 35th Ave NE have multi-year leases in their current space that would make redevelopment on that property challenging until their lease it up. So, while its difficult to plan for development, it would likely be a few years or more before significant redevelopment occurred.

Does our plan propose to displace any existing businesses?
No. Our plan doesn't propose to build any building or displace any business. As mentioned above, development and change is inevitable and any development that occurs in the future would be separate from this project. Those future developments could displace businesses, but that could occur with or without this proactive planning.

Wouldn't traffic increase and parking become more scarce with more development?
Probably. While future development would be required to comply with City parking requirements, traffic may increase and parking become more scarce as more development occurs along 35th Ave NE. But again, traffic would increase and parking become more scarce as development occurs under the current zoning.

Flyer posted along 35th. 
Our proposed streetscape guidelines are intended to improve traffic flow at the 35th Ave NE / NE 75th St intersection by installing left turn pocket lanes on north and south bound lanes to improve traffic organization and flow. Additionally, our proposed streetscape guidelines would eliminate peak hour parking restrictions allowing parking to occur along 35th Ave NE at all times of the day. Together, these two proposals are intended to improve traffic and create a safer corridor for all users.

The City of Seattle has also adopted a revised Bicycle Master Plan (BMP), which sets a 20-year plan for citywide improvements to improve bike access and safety. The BMP identifies 35th Ave NE, north of NE 65th Street, as a corridor suitable for a separated bike facility (e.g., cycle track). If/when this bike facility comes to 35th Ave NE, the City of Seattle would have to complete a robust outreach and design effort, similar to what is being done for the planned bike facility along Westlake Ave North. This plan does not have anything to do with the City's Bicycle Master Plan.

See where people live who
attended the 3 public workshops.
Why has no one told me about this project before?
The 35th Ave Committee has done as much as practical to get the word out about our project and our public workshops. Our outreach has included mailing 2 different postcards to every resident within 5 blocks of 35th Ave NE (see images above), posting flyers at businesses along 35th Ave NE (see image above), setting out A-boards along 35th Ave NE before each public workshop, blog posts, notices in the Wedgwood Echo e-newsletter, posts on Nextdoor.com, and more. You can read about the outreach effort here. Through this outreach, more than 1,000 people through our survey, heard from approximately 1/4 of the businesses along 35th Ave NE, and have had 225 participants attended 3 public workshops.

What are the next steps once this plan is finalized?
First and foremost, after August 15 when the public comment period ends, the 35th Ave Committee will meet and review the comments and revise/finalize the streetscape plan and zoning recommendations accordingly. Once the plan is finalized, the 35th Ave Committee will present it to both the RBCA and WCC. After this, however, the path forward becomes a bit less straight forward since this is a grassroots project. The City's process is set up to respond to projects either they or a developer initiate. That is why citizen-initiated projects for the purpose of getting approval before the City or a developer sets the process in motion have a less clear path ahead.

The streetscape design guidelines will be finalized and submitted to SDOT for their review and (hopefully) approval under the Seattle Right-of-Way Improvements Manual. This would allow future developers to know of the streetscape environment and frontage improvements desired by the community. (UPDATE, DEC 2014 - SDOT reviewed the proposed streetscape design guidelines and determined they could not approve them since the street concept plan does not include the whole right-of-way [e.g., travel and parking lanes also], which were not discussed in this plan given the SDOT's proposal to include a future seperated bike facility).

The zoning recommendations are a bit more challenging. Ordinarily, zoning changes are initiated by a developer for a specific parcel or by the City as part of a formal neighborhood plan. It is unusual for a grassroots community group to propose zoning recommendations, as this is. While DPD has been aware of our planning, they have not influenced our zoning recommendations. So, the path forward for some/all of these zoning recommendations will need to be made in consultation with DPD in the near future. It may take a significant amount of time for some or all of these zoning recommendations to be approved. (UPDATE, NOV 2014 - At our request, the Seattle City Council approved funding in the 2015 budget for DPD to move forward with a Legislative Rezone of 35th Ave NE during their 2015/16 work plan.)