SEATTLE – Councilmember Dan Strauss (District 6 – Northwest Seattle), Chair of the Land Use and Neighborhoods Committee, celebrated the passage of the Crown Hill Neighborhood Design Guidelines which was passed unanimously by the full City Council today. This bill establishes neighborhood-specific guidelines for the Crown Hill Urban Village Neighborhood for the first time. These guidelines were created to enhance the character of the neighborhood, while enhancing pedestrian safety and walkability.
Beginning in 2018, the Crown Hill Community Action Plan process sought to establish a vision for the future of Crown Hill as a walkable, vibrant neighborhood. With Crown Hill undergoing significant growth, and with the zoning changes in the last few years, neighbors sought to establish design guidelines to protect the unique nature of Crown Hill. Neighbors created proposals to ensure that the development met the specific needs of the community.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this legislation was delayed by many months. The Crown Hill Community Action Plan, which was created to solicit feedback from residents and inform design guidelines, was initially going to be voted on by the full City Council in March 2020, just as the pandemic hit the Seattle-area. The Community Action Plan and Design Standards were both stalled within City Hall due to the cascading emergencies during 2020. Councilmember Strauss never lost focus to keep this legislation moving forward to implement the community’s vision for growth in Crown Hill.
“Crown Hill welcomed more density with a vision to have a walkable community, supporting public open spaces, gardens, and trees, with a connected community across Holman Road and NW 85th Street. These are the aspects of creating a vibrant livable city where you can live, work, and play,” said Councilmember Dan Strauss. “This multi-year process ensures Crown Hill residents are able to have development that meets their needs with a street designated for walking, space designated for community gardening, and connections across two arterials between parks, housing, and businesses. Arterial roads often disconnect communities, especially when there are no sidewalks, and these design standards alleviate the barrier these streets can create. The Crown Hill Village Association has fought for their community’s design standards and has already begun adding sidewalks to increase the quality of life for everyone in the neighborhood. Next, we need to get light rail to Crown Hill and beyond.
“The Crown Hill Village Association worked to connect the neighborhood to the planning process, and we are excited to see the design standards passed,” said Karin LaBelle, the President of the Crown Hill Village Association. “Thanks to the leadership of neighbor Leigh Pate, the Crown Hill Village Association had the opportunity to engage directly with the OPCD on creating the Crown Hill Action Plan. We were grateful that Councilmember Strauss helped save this plan so that neighbor input would be formally included in the design standards. Our neighborhood is growing and with smart, community engaged policy, Crown Hill will be ready to welcome new residents and business owners.”
Crown Hill residents stated that their biggest priorities for the neighborhood included:
- A distinct neighborhood with great destinations and a vibrant public realm
- Streets that encourage walking and making it easy to get around
- Connected, engaged, and thriving communities
With the finalization of these design standards and today’s approval by the City Council, work will continue to make the community’s vision a reality. Next steps include review of these design standards by the Design Review Board, which will evaluate each project using the parameters put forth by Crown Hill residents.