CITY OF SEATTLE
A RESOLUTION recognizing the University District Urban Design Framework and identifying next steps in implementing a common vision of an eclectic, affordable, and diverse University District.
WHEREAS, in 2011 planners from the City of Seattle began working with the University District community to plan for growth and change in the neighborhood; and
WHEREAS, in 2021 a new light rail station is expected to open at Brooklyn Ave NE and NE 43rd Street, providing faster and more reliable transit connections to Downtown Seattle, Northgate, and the rest of the region; and
WHEREAS, in collaboration with the community, the Office of Planning and Community Development, in 2013 prepared an urban design framework containing a broad set of recommendations to address community concerns and indicate and provide options for zoning changes in the neighborhood; and
WHEREAS, in October 2016, the Mayor proposed a set of zoning changes to implement the urban design framework along with a coordinated set of infrastructure improvements and actions to implement the framework; and
WHEREAS, in reviewing the Mayor’s recommendation, the City Council heard a range of opinions in support of and in opposition to the proposed rezoning, but identified a number of areas of common interest within the community that can be addressed through a coordinated implementation plan; NOW, THEREFORE,
BE IT RESOLVED BY THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF SEATTLE, THE MAYOR CONCURRING, THAT:
Section 1. The City Council recognizes the tremendous effort of all community members who participated in the creation of the U District Urban Design Framework, beginning in 2011, as well as their deep commitment to the U District and its diverse community and their common interest in working to accommodate growth in the neighborhood in ways that enhances the community for current and future residents, employees, businesses, and non-profits.
Section 2. The City recognizes the completion of the U District Urban Design Framework as a combined effort of the community and the City, identified as Attachment 1 to this resolution.
Section 3. The City recognizes a common interest with the community to support opportunities to increase access to childcare within the U District and for children of employees working within the U District. The City will explore opportunities to create a joint multi-employer/employee childcare voucher fund based on an assessment of the need of the employees of organizations in the U District, including the University of Washington, for quality, accessible, and affordable child care. In conducting the assessment, the City shall consult with the City of Seattle’s Department of Education and Early Learning and the Human Services Department; the University of Washington and employees of the University, including the collective bargaining representatives for UW employees and child care providers; child care providers in the U District; the U District Partnership; and other appropriate persons or organizations. The City Council’s Planning, Land Use and Zoning Committee will review findings and proposals resulting from this assessment in January of 2018 or a later date agreed upon by the Chair of the committee.
Section 4. The City recognizes the importance of education and recognizes the findings of the U District Urban Design Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS), which states that “An increase in households in the U District would contribute to a continuing need by the Seattle School District to manage capacity at local schools and to construct new and expanded facilities to accommodate a growing student population,” as well as the reduction of class size mandated by the State Legislature. The FEIS also states: “Ongoing capacity management by the Seattle School District will help meet future school capacity needs associated with growth in the U District study area. The School District also has the option of collecting impact fees under Washington State’s Growth Management Act and voluntary mitigation fees paid pursuant to the State Environmental Policy Act.” The Council requests that the Office of Planning and Community Development complete the additional assessment of school impact fees, in partnership with the Seattle Public Schools, outlined in the “Executive Response to 2015 Budget Green Sheet 106-1-A-2: Impact Fee Study Work Plan” (http://seattle.legistar.com/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=2269818&GUID=116210B2-FAD4-4DF8-A978-2AA7A4CA15ED).
Section 5. The City recognizes the importance of the Ave (University Way Northeast) as one of Seattle’s most important business districts, and intends to continue working with the merchants on the Ave to maintain the vibrancy and diversity of businesses found on the Ave. The City commits to taking the following actions to support businesses in the U District:
A. Work with businesses along the Ave to identify ways that the zoning, development standards, and other regulations for properties along the Ave can support the small businesses along the Ave, provide incentives to preserve landmarks and unreinforced masonry buildings, and support other community goals including housing for a mix of incomes including low-income tenants;
B. Bring the Community Affordability Consulting Team to work with businesses in the U District on issues such as the design of tenant spaces, feasibility analysis for building renovations and business plan development;
C. In consultation with local businesses, revise the U District Neighborhood Design Guidelines to support the creation of spaces on the Ave that are attractive to and functional for small locally-owned businesses;
D. Provide financial support for qualifying and interested businesses that have five or fewer employees through Individual Development Accounts and zero percent interest loans;
E. Collaborate with the local businesses to explore additional programs to support small locally-owned businesses such as a commercial affordability tax abatement program, adjustments to property taxes based on income streams, or a commercial affordability fund;
F. Review the historic resources surveys for the U District and the analysis contained in the Final U District Urban Design Environmental Impact Statement, to determine whether to nominate an area as a historic district; and
G. Continue efforts with the Office of Economic Development to establish a Legacy Business preservation program for historically or culturally significant businesses.
Section 6. The City recognizes the work of the U District Community led by the U District Partnership to develop a 2015 update to the University District Parks Plan (“Parks Plan”). The City commits to taking the follow actions to implement the plan in collaboration with the U District Partnership and members of the U District Community:
A. Work with University of Washington to inform the design of a public space at the northwest corner of Brooklyn Ave NE and NE 43rd St;
B. Explore options for the Seattle Department of Parks and Recreation, U District Partnership, and UW to partner on programming of the open space at Brooklyn Ave NE and NE 43rd St;
C. Improve and expand Christie Park;
D. Support Sound Transit’s plan to build a festival street on Brooklyn Ave NE between NE 45th St and NE 42nd St, and support the University Farmers Markets plan to start a weekday farmer’s market at that location;
E. Work with businesses on the Ave and the U District Partnership to identify additional locations for and support for parklets in the community; and
F. In consultation with the U District community, the City will design and build substantial pedestrian improvements along NE 43rd St between Brooklyn Ave NE and the University of Washington to improve connections between the University and the new light rail station, and to contribute to the public realm along that corridor.
Section 7. The City recognizes the importance of the new U District light rail station to the U District and its future. The City commits to collaborating with the U District Community, Sound Transit, and King County Metro to integrate transit systems to best serve the U District community and surrounding neighborhoods. The Council requests a report from the Seattle Department of Transportation on these efforts to the Sustainability and Transportation Committee or its successor committee with a report on these efforts in January 2018 or a later date agreed upon by the Chair of the committee.
Section 8. The City recognizes the importance of the strong network of social service providers in the U District. The City commits to collaborating with the ROOTS shelter for young adults, the U District Partnership, and the University of Washington to build a “shelter to employment” pipeline to provide job training and employment opportunities for clients of the ROOTS shelter. Further, the City will continue to support social services in the neighborhood through organizations such as Teen Feed and the University District Food Bank.
Adopted by the City Council the ________ day of _________________________, 2017, and signed by me in open session in authentication of its adoption this ________ day of _________________________, 2017.
President ____________ of the City Council
The Mayor concurred the ________ day of _________________________, 2017.
Edward B. Murray, Mayor
Filed by me this ________ day of _________________________, 2017.
Monica Martinez Simmons, City Clerk
Attachment 1 - U District Urban Design Framework