A Voice Of Reason That Needs To Be Louder

The Seattle Planning Commission recently sent two letters to the City Council that  demonstrate its potential to provide a voice of reason in debates over planning policy.   The first letter recommends passing the cottage housing ordinance, with the important caveat that the 50 unit per year limit be removed, as was discussed in this HAC post.  The second letter recommends several constructive tweaks to the proposed multifamily code update, such as reductions in parking requirements and the banning of low-density townhouse development in mid-rise zones.

The Planning Commission is typically ahead of the curve on progressive  city planning policy, and often fills policy analysis gaps that would otherwise be neglected.   It’s a great resource, but I want to see them turn up the volume and become a stronger influence on urban issues in Seattle.

Cause we need it, bad.  The Commission is pretty much the only Seattle organization besides DPD that regularly does serious, relevant planning policy analysis.  In many other cities, organizations like San Francisco’s SPUR play a major role in all the big planning decisions of the day.  Seattle has nothing even close to SPUR.

And Universities often engage in the policy debates of their host cities, but UW, not so much.   Hey there UW Department of Urban Design and Planning, how about unleashing  your massive analytical capacity a little more often on what’s going on in your own backyard, like say, the tunnel/viaduct debate?

A conundrum, Seattle is.   Brimming with big brains, yet milquetoast when it comes to execution.