July 8, 11:19 AM click here to comment > 6
Mayor and Council President announce package to support job creation in Seattle
Seattle Mayor McGinn and Council President Richard Conlin today announced a regulatory reform package formed by a panel of developers, neighborhood activists, design professionals, labor leaders, and environmentalists to reduce regulatory burdens that hinder job creation. McGinn convened the panel as part of a broad City effort to spark innovation and entrepreneurial investment, and make it easier for businesses to be sustainable in Seattle.
A reform to the State Environmental Policy Act review process, for example, would expedite up to 40 new construction projects with 100 to 250 units each year. The Seattle Building Trades Council estimates that as many as 2,400 direct, family-wage jobs in skilled construction-trades could be created through this effort.
The proposed package is a set of reforms to Seattle’s regulations that affect development. The City’s Department of Planning and Development (DPD) will begin a State Environmental Policy Act review process on the full package beginning next Monday. McGinn is soliciting input during the month long review period with the goal of transmitting a final legislative package to Council in late August.
“We are starting to see some construction activity pick up in Seattle,” said Mayor McGinn. “That’s good news for our local economy, but we need to do more. These recommendations highlight ways we can reduce red tape and encourage job growth while enhancing our commitment to the environment.”
“There are a lot of very promising ideas in this package,” said Council President Richard Conlin. “The Council looks forward to fully reviewing them with the community and adopting a set of useful regulatory reforms. Businesspeople are looking for clear, concise, and coordinated regulations so that they can invest in our neighborhoods with confidence and certainty about timelines. We can get the best results for job creation and development and for our environment and communities by providing that clarity and eliminating unnecessary duplication and process.”
The panel developed some initial proposals, which aim to correct these issues.
• Encourage Home Entrepreneurship
• Concentrate Street-Level Commercial Uses in P-Zones
• Reduce and Eliminate Some Parking Requirements
• Allow Small Commercial Uses in Multifamily Zones
• Expand Options for Accessory Dwelling Units
• Expand Mobile Food Vending and Temporary Uses
• Improve State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) Implementation
In March of this year the City Council passed resolution 31282 that proposed principles to guide “economic development actions and strategies for strengthening and growing the City of Seattle’s economy and creating jobs.” The mayor’s Seattle Jobs Plan launched last year highlighted the desire for regulatory reform to support job creation.
The panel shares those principles and believes that sustainable choices can also help foster economic renewal, especially as part of long-term regulatory reform.
The mayor and City Council will consider proposed legislation in each of these areas and are seeking community involvement and comment.
Posted by: Aaron Pickus, Spokesperson