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City Unveils “One Seattle Plan” the first draft of major update to Comp Plan

seattle plan cover

March 12, 2024

At least 100,000 new units of housing will be created over the next 20 years as part of the draft One Seattle Plan. The 198-page document, released March 5 following two years of meetings that generated input from thousands of people, is a major update to Seattle’s Comprehensive Plan.

In a news release coinciding with the unveiling of the plan – described as part of Mayor Bruce Harrell’s bold One Seattle Housing Agenda – the mayor stated: “Having grown up in the historically redlined Central District, I’ve seen firsthand how our city and the neighborhoods that make it special have changed as we’ve experienced rapid growth and increased housing costs, with longstanding neighbors, families, and small businesses too often finding affordability out of reach,” said Mayor Bruce Harrell. “This experience has informed my belief that we need more housing, and we need to be intentional about how and where we grow, addressing the historic harms of exclusionary zoning and embedding concrete anti-displacement strategies every step of the way.”

Gina Madeya, vice president of governmental and public affairs for Seattle King County REALTORS®, commended the mayor on the draft that proposes allowing more diversity of housing types across the city. “Bringing a new emphasis on housing supply is well timed. The need for housing at all price points has never been greater,” she remarked.

Continuing, Madeya added, “Increased housing supply through tools like middle housing and new urban and neighborhood centers is the first and best strategy to make housing affordable. Until we better balance supply and demand, affordability will remain unachievable.”

“We look forward to working with the Mayor and Council to refine the plan and secure adoption later this year,” noted Madeya, a broker at Windermere Real Estate Inc. Yarrow Bay in Kirkland.

The release of the draft plan kicks off a 60-day public comment period, which will include open houses in Seattle’s seven council districts and online.

Learn More and Provide Feedback

To learn about and provide feedback on the Draft One Seattle Plan visit the One Seattle Plan Engagement Hub or email

The draft plan encompasses a wide range of elements, including land use, transportation, housing, economic development, climate and environment, parks and open space, arts and culture, and more.

Rico Quirindongo, director of Seattle’s Office of Planning and Community Development, said the plan “sets a bold long-term vision for where and how our city grows while balancing the needs of BIPOC communities and working families at risk of displacement.” In the city’s news release, he also stated “We are committed to redressing past harms through more equitable zoning, and encouraging vibrant, complete communities that build upon the diverse character of neighborhoods across the city.”

The draft plans notes in the years leading up to it, Seattle was one of the fastest growing major cities in the country, with 175,000 jobs added from 2010 to 2020. While the number of jobs increased 38%, housing supply grew by only 19%.

Estimated growth targets for 2024-20244, based on the Regional Growth Strategy in VISION 2050 adopted by the Puget Sound Regional Council, are 80,000 housing units and 159,000 jobs, including:

Estimated Regional Center Growth 2024–2044
Regional CentersNew Housing UnitsNew Jobs
First Hill/Capitol Hill9,0003,000
University Community4,0003,500
South Lake Union4,50025,500
Estimated Manufacturing and Industrial Center Growth 2024–2044
Greater Duwamish Center12,500

The metro region, encompassing King, Snohomish, Pierce and Kitsap counties, expects to reach a population of 5.8 million and include a total of 3.4 million jobs by 2050.

The plan outlines four Key Moves that respond to the issues and concerns raised by stakeholders. It also addresses important regional and statewide priorities. The Key Moves that will guide planning over the next 20 years include:

  • Housing and Affordability. The plan intends to expand housing opportunities across the city “in order to move toward a future where homes are plentiful, the cost burden of renting or owning a home goes down, and people achieve stability.” The plan notes the impacts of the housing shortage are greatest for people with low incomes, BIPOC communities, and working and middle-income households.
  • Equity and Opportunity: Promote a more equitable Seattle as we grow. The plan acknowledges policy decisions, lack of investment, and discriminatory housing practices, “including redlining and racially restrictive covenants, have led to displacement of BIPOC communities and limited access to home ownership and generational wealth building for these residents.” The plan pledges to take steps towards addressing such harms.
  • Community and Neighborhoods: Focus growth and investment in complete, walkable communities that are welcoming and accessible, with safe public spaces. The plan envisions economically vibrant neighborhoods across the city with focused growth near transit.
  • Climate and Sustainability: Meet the challenges of climate change for a resilient future. This element redoubles the city’s effort to reduce its carbon footprint and enhance the resilience of communities and natural environment.

Within the Housing and Affordability element, the plan identifies three measures to improve the supply, variety, and affordability of housing across the city:

  1. Encourage middle housing in neighborhood residential zones. The planned density and variety of housing is designed to meet new state requirements for “middle housing” under HB 1110 as well as opportunities to add new housing types, like duplexes, triplexes, fourplexes, sixplexes, and cottage housing in Neighborhood Residential zones (formerly Single Family) zones citywide.
  2. Create new housing opportunities in existing and expanded centers, including new neighborhood centers. The updated strategy adds 24 new Neighborhood Centers with additional moderate-density housing around commercial nodes, rapid transit stops, and neighborhood amenities.
  3. Expand investment in affordable housing. This investment would deploy resources from several sources to expand the supply of income-restricted affordable housing.
Seattle Place Types2

The draft One Seattle Plan culminates a three-year process of research, analysis, and engagement with communities across the city, along with use of the City’s Racial Equity Toolkit (RET) to inform the process.

The City intends to implement the One Seattle Plan through regulations (e.g., zoning and development standards), and through investment detailed in the functional plans developed by City departments. The draft includes a monitoring and accountability framework to gauge progress toward housing goals and policies.

The final plan anticipates adding several technical appendices, which are expected to be completed later this year. These include:

  • Growth Strategy Appendix
  • Land Use Appendix
  • Transportation Appendix
  • Housing Appendix
  • Capital Facilities Appendix
  • Utilities Appendix

Also in development with target completion dates between 2025 and 2027 are Subarea Plans for Regional Centers, identified as Downtown, First Hill/Capitol Hill, Northgate, South Lake Union, Uptown, University District and (proposed) Ballard.

The One Seattle Plan Engagement Hub includes a schedule of Open Houses (starting March 14), a link to access the draft plan, options for submitting feedback, an overview of the process, a seven-page Summary Overview, an engagement summary, a link to receive the One Seattle Plan newsletter, and more.

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