Over the next two years, the City of Woodinville will update its comprehensive plan — the document that will guide Woodinville’s growth for the next 20 years — to make it more user-friendly, according to a discussion between council members and consultants at the July 9 City Council meeting.
The comprehensive plan contains guidelines for the city’s physical development, land uses, infrastructure, community services and regulations.
State policy requires every city’s comprehensive plan to address several categories — including land use, transportation, housing, utilities and capital facilities — and provide goals and policies for each.
The city’s consultants predicted that most changes would be minor.
“We haven’t seen anything that throws up any big red flags,” said Kevin Gifford, an urban planner and GIS analyst for BERK Consulting. “We don’t see any major issues that need to be addressed to make this consistent. It’s mostly small stuff.”
However, there are new requirements for regional transportation.
The comprehensive plan should focus on working with regional transit leaders and promoting carpooling, ride sharing and using transit, Gifford said.
Bob Bengford, a partner in MAKERS Architecture and Urban Design, said the consultants need to work with the city to make the zoning code better-organized, illustrated and “more user-friendly.” He suggested cleaning up the Permitted Use section of the code and reviewing commercial design standards.
“Certainly, when you look at it online, there’s lots of room for improvement there,” he said.
He suggested using online tools such as pop-up definitions and cross-referencing to make the zoning code (which will be rewritten at the sametime as the updates to the comprehensive plan) easier to understand.
Councilmember Paulette Bauman said the city should try to find a balance between commercial, tourism and residential uses in the revised code.
“We’ve got commercial design standards; we’ve spent a great deal of time with downtown zoning, and now we’ve worked on residential issues,” Bauman said. “But the question that still remains is, ‘How much tourism is good and how much is too much?’”
The council and the consultants also looked for ways for the public to participate in updating the comprehensive plan.
Suggestions ranged from the fairly typical — such as phone and mail surveys — to more creative ideas such as webinars and Skype chats, meetings at the farmers market, and posting QR codes around town.
The city should try to meet with citizens in places that are convenient and comfortable for the citizens, rather than asking citizens to come to City Hall to voice their opinions, Councilmember Scott Hageman said.
The new comprehensive plan will be completed by 2015.
The city’s (first and current) comprehensive plan, which was adopted in 1996 and most recently updated in 2009, can be found online at ci.woodinville.wa.us/Work/ComprehensivePlan.asp.