Seattle neighbors can offer early input on new development proposals

illustration of Seattle mapAs of July 1, neighbors and businesses near proposed developments will receive early notification about the projects. Called Early Community Outreach for Design Review, this new City requirement was adopted by Seattle City Council to ensure that community members located close to a project are aware of the development and to encourage dialogue between the community and developers before the first public design review meeting. This requirement only affects development projects that go through Design Review, which are typically new multifamily, commercial, or industrial buildings above a certain size.

“Early engagement of community allows for a more focused and productive development process where shared interests can be discussed. Many developers are already reaping the benefits of doing community outreach early and often.  Having this requirement in place ensures all projects follow this same best practice.”

– Andrés Mantilla, interim director of Seattle Department of Neighborhoods

To involve community members, developers will do three types of early outreach – print, in-person, and digital. Their outreach may take the form of a mailed flyer, community meeting, online survey, or a website, to name a few. Once the outreach is complete, the developer provides documentation sharing the results with Seattle Department of Neighborhoods (DON). If the developer meets the requirements, DON submits the information on behalf of the developer to Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections (SDCI) so that the project can move forward with Design Review. The community can access a summary of information collected during outreach on SDCI’s website.

Seattle Department of Neighborhoods (DON) administers this program in partnership with SDCI. DON staff advises developers on their outreach plans, if requested, as well as provides several resources and tools for developers on its Early Community Outreach for Design Review webpage. The webpage also shares a listing of all projects conducting early outreach with project locations, descriptions, and contact information, as well as an online calendar of outreach events.

The new requirement for early community outreach was adopted by Seattle City Council as part of Ordinance No. 125429 in October 2017. A video that summarizes the Rule and the supporting resources for Seattle City Council can be found in our FAQ.

Learn More

To learn more, community members can participate in a Reddit AMA session for developers on the following dates (find it under SEA_Neighborhoods):

  • July 10, 12:00 – 1:00 p.m.
  • August 14, 8:00 – 9:00 a.m.

In addition, Seattle Department of Neighborhoods will host two information sessions for community members this fall.

To find more information, visit our webpage; and for questions, email DREarlyOutreach@seattle.gov.