2012 was my first year as Chair of the Planning, Land Use, and Sustainability (PLUS) Committee. I also Chaired the Council’s Special Committees on the SR 520 Project and the Library Levy, and was Vice-Chair of the Special Committee on Yesler Terrace.
I continued to serve as the Council representative on the Sound Transit Board and was named Vice-Chair of the Capital Committee. My other intergovernmental responsibilities include Chairing the Regional Food Policy Council, serving on the Growth Management Planning Council, the Board of Health, and the Green-Duwamish Watershed Restoration Forum, and representing Washington on the Board of Directors of the National League of Cities. A lot of meetings… and a lot that I got done! Here’s my Top Ten achievement list for 2012 (not necessarily in order of importance):
- Led the Council’s work in developing a successful levy to support the Seattle Public Library. The levy was approved by some 65% of the voters in the August primary. This will increase the library budget by about 25%, restoring all the cuts made in the recession years and adding funding for new hours, books and other collection resources, technology improvements, and major maintenance for library buildings.
- Secured passage of legislation to advance neighborhood plans and enhance communities, including plan updates for the Othello and North Beacon Hill Urban Villages and an ordinance to prevent construction on historical lots that were not intended to be buildable; began the process for updating the University District Urban Center Plan; moved rezones forward in South Lake Union to implement the SLU Urban Center Plan; secured agreement from the Executive for an accelerated schedule for neighborhood plan updates; and celebrated the opening of the Belltown Community Center, which I had added to the Community Centers Levy.
- Moved a difficult and challenging set of revisions to the Shoreline Master Program through the PLUS Committee, developing and adding amendments to promote water-dependent businesses, fund and ensure ecological restoration, and preserve floating home communities while preventing residential development over water.
- Won Council approval of a comprehensive package of Regulatory Reform measures to support housing and economic development, including encouraging home based businesses, reducing parking requirements in areas with good transit access, exempting small and medium size projects from SEPA review in areas that have not met their growth targets, and modifying requirements for street level retail to allow residential uses in where there is limited pedestrian traffic; secured Council approval of amendments to the Living Building Ordinance to create a “Deep Green” certification with accompanying incentives, with the goal of promoting building construction that is commercially viable and greatly exceeds current environmental requirements.
- As a member of the Sound Transit Board, successfully advocated for a new Transit Oriented Development policy; secured approval for investing Sound Transit and City funds in bicycle and pedestrian access to the Northgate Station, including a ped/bike bridge over I-5; introduced a possible station at North 130th and I-5 into the North Link alternatives study; launched work on a Station Area Plan for the Rainier Avenue Station on East Link; continued to serve on the Board team successfully negotiating agreements with Bellevue to advance East Link; and worked with the Capital Committee to keep University Link and North Link moving forward.
- Won Council approval for new initiatives in the 2013-2014 budget to invest $500K annually in the Green Seattle Partnership to restore Seattle Parks; to add $130K each year to fund expanded domestic violence legal assistance for immigrants and refugees; to add $230K each year for food banks and food policy work; and to allocate $460K to complete new initiatives on earthquake preparedness, including a recovery plan for Seattle and an incentive program to retrofit unreinforced masonry buildings.
- Continued to lead the Council work on replacing SR 520, including getting funding for work to enhance transit connections through the Montlake Corridor and to examine more cost effective alternatives to a Second Montlake Bridge for bicycle and pedestrian access across the Cut; launched Council review of proposed bicycle and pedestrian connections in Montlake and across Portage Bay with the goal of recommending an improved access plan to the State.
- Worked with City, community, and regional stakeholders to develop a Seattle Food Action Plan to focus the City’s food related programs, priorities, and policies for the next few years; continued a partnership with United Way to promote a Hunger Free King County; worked with the Regional Food Policy Council to recommend Comprehensive Plan policies related to food; won appointment as a member of the State Food Policy Council, to be launched in January 2013; continued work to increase the number of p-patch plots and food production on City-owned lands; began implementation of a Food Web project to work with regional stakeholders in integration of our work; introduced legislation to create a Transfer of Development Rights program to protect farmland in King County, scheduled for Council consideration in early 2013; and began the process of incorporating food system policies, goals, and implementation strategies into the Comprehensive Plan and Climate Action Plan.
- Continued work on restoring Seattle’s economy by initiating an Industrial Development District to promote manufacturing businesses and jobs, and moving forward policy initiatives such as Permit Consolidation and the Economic Development Commission.
- Continued to advance implementation of the Zero Waste Strategy by getting the ‘One Less Truck’ pilot project funded, supporting Council passage of new regulations requiring recycling of construction and demolition waste, and working with the Board of Health to develop a ‘Secure Medicine’ product stewardship takeback program for drugs and pharmaceuticals (scheduled for final approval in early 2013).