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Council approves plan to streamline Seattle design review process during COVID-19 crisis

With a change for a key area of the city, the Seattle City Council Monday was able to approve legislation hoped to put its design and landmarks review processes back into motion even as COVID-19 restrictions continue to make standard public meetings impossible.

CHS reported here on the proposal from Mayor Jenny Durkan’s office to move important reviews from citizen boards to city staff while continuing the public comment process through email and written feedback in a bid to jumpstart dozens of development projects including much needed housing. Last week, the council hit a bump trying to get the streamlining approved as it fell short of the necessary votes for the emergency change.

Monday, the legislation passed, gaining the vote of South Seattle’s Tammy Morales as the council member added an amendment that will exempt projects in the International District’s “special review” area over concerns that the community there would not be adequately represented in virtual meetings. West Seattle’s Lisa Herbold continued to oppose the bill over concerns about lack of citizen oversight on low income housing projects and the University District’s Andrew Lewis also voted no after his amendment failed that would have forced super green “Living Building” pilot projects to pass through the full Design Review Board process.

CHS looked at many of the Capitol Hill-area development paused during COVID-19 restrictions here.

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2 thoughts on “Council approves plan to streamline Seattle design review process during COVID-19 crisis” -- All CHS Comments are held for moderation before publishing

  1. I think we have to be careful not to make decisions which, while reasonable as emergency measures during the pandemic, will not be good public policy over the long run. This decision is one of these. It is best if design review has at least some citizen oversight because bureaucrats at City government are not always in touch with what citizens want. Just allowing comments is not enough.

  2. why is it relevant what citizens want? why should someone have a right to opine on another person’s development project? this is the oddest concept. it’s the equivalent of saying a citizen/homeowner/renter has the right to review and approve the color/make/model of car someone is planning to buy because they have to look at it in your driveway.

    how does this even make sense? why would this be a citizen’s “right”

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