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County seeks public input on draft subarea plans for Skyway-West Hill and North Highline

Summary

The 20-year plans express and establish policies for each community’s vision of the future. Over the next month, residents can also get updated on King County’s Anti-Displacement Strategy Report for these two urban unincorporated areas.

Story

King County Local Services needs community members in Skyway-West Hill and North Highline to weigh in on its draft subarea plans for these areas.

 

Each 20-year subarea plan expresses the community’s vision for the future and establishes policies to help achieve that vision. Specific topic areas include:

 

  • The community’s vision and guiding principles
  • A community description
  • Land use
  • Zoning map amendments
  • Housing and human services
  • Parks, open space, and culture
  • Transportation
  • Services and utilities
  • Economic development

 

The draft plans represent a milestone in the subarea planning process, which is done for each of unincorporated King County’s Community Service Areas on a rotating basis. In each area, Local Services planners have worked with community organizations to encourage residents to help create a Community Needs List.

 

Even though residents of these two communities have offered their thoughts on what their communities need, it’s vital that they now share their thoughts about their draft subarea plans. These plans will guide investments and development decisions affecting their communities for a generation or more, according to Director of Local Services John Taylor.

 

The public comment period is open from Sept. 30 to Oct. 28, 2021.

 

How to comment

  • To submit comments online, follow the prompts for providing comments on the plan documents. Each of these websites offers information and accepts comments in multiple languages.
  • To submit comments by email, send them to: SubareaPlanning@kingcounty.gov. Please make sure that the subject line includes “Skyway-West Hill” or “North Highline,” as appropriate.

After the public comment period closes, King County will review the comments received and use them to revise the plans. Ultimately, the King County Council is scheduled to vote and approve these draft plans in mid-2022.

 

Local Services has already begun working on subarea planning for the next scheduled area, Snoqualmie Valley-Northeast King County.

 

 

Learn more about the Skyway-West Hill Draft Subarea Plan

To help spread the word and answer questions, the Skyway Community Voices Project and Local Services are holding a virtual “Public Comment Period Kickoff” tonight from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

 

Attendees can learn more about the draft subarea plan and how to provide comments.

 

To attend, you must register for the event at https://bit.ly/UFPublicCommentPeriodMtg.

 

Local Services is working with community organizations to offer a similar event for the North Highline area.

 

 

Anti-Displacement Strategies Report

In addition to the subarea plan process, King County Executive Dow Constantine presented the Skyway-West Hill and North Highline Anti-Displacement Strategies Report to the King County Council today.

 

In coordination with the community, Local Services and the Department of Community and Human Services have worked over the past year and a half to recommend anti-displacement strategies for the Skyway-West Hill and North Highline communities. The Anti-Displacement Strategies Report is a result of this collaborative work.

 

More than 200 residents shared feedback that influenced the report’s recommended strategies through a series of virtual meetings, surveys, and interviews. Community and Human Services and Local Services are co-hosting a community briefing on Wednesday, Oct. 6 from 6 to 8 p.m. to present the report’s final recommendations, next steps, and future opportunities for community involvement.

 

Learn more about the Anti-Displacement Strategies Report and register for the virtual event here.

 

Inclusionary housing

One of the strategies recommended in the Anti-Displacement Strategies Report is to establish housing regulations that will increase the availability of affordable housing in Skyway-West Hill and North Highline.

 

Local Services is seeking input on proposed changes to King County’s development regulations that, depending on the location of new residential development in the two communities—or major renovations of existing developments—may require or provide incentives to create affordable housing units with the new or renovated development. The intention is to have regulations in place for when there is interest in more robust development in the two communities, providing opportunities for increasing affordable housing by leveraging the new construction activity.

 

How to comment

The proposed Inclusionary Housing regulations and ways to provide input are available at this website: Legislation for public review and comment - King County  The comment period is open September 30 to October 28, 2021.

 

 

North Highline Urban Design Standards

Finally, King County Local Services is working with the North Highline community to create an urban design framework for new commercial, multi-family, and mixed-use developments.

 

To make sure these new design standards reflect the community’s values, the project team is gathering input from community members through an online survey and upcoming events.

 

Design standards provide frameworks intended to preserve and enhance the character of existing neighborhoods, as well as improve the aesthetic and functional quality of new development projects. Design standards are mandatory, and King County uses them during the design review process. Design guidelines are suggestions that are not required.

 

While urban design standards typically focus on aesthetic issues, King County aims to include a broad definition of urban design that also considers ways to make North Highline safer, more equitable, healthier, more connected, and environmentally sound.

 

To learn more, contact Jesse Reynolds at 206-477-4237 or jesreynolds@kingcounty.gov.

 

 

QUOTES

  • King County Executive Dow Constantine: “I strongly encourage residents of the Skyway-West Hill and North Highline-White Center unincorporated communities to participate in this process. Subarea planning offers an opportunity for people to have a say in the future of their neighborhoods, and their ideas will help shape their communities for decades to come. These two urban unincorporated areas are home to tens of thousands of people of different backgrounds and beliefs, but who share a common pride in their neighborhoods. It’s important that their voices are heard during this process.”

 

  • Councilmember Girmay Zahilay: “A lot of hard work from the Skyway community and King County staff has gone into developing this public review draft. It is important we continue to push forward in our efforts to refine the subarea plan, as this will be a guiding document for decades to come.”

 

 

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