Seattle Planning Commission

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The City Planning Commission was created in 1924 to prepare plans and gather data for urban planning and the physical development of Seattle, to advise City Council on current problems and long range planning, and to participate in administration and revision of the city's zoning ordinance. The Planning Commission initially was comprised of twenty-five members, but in 1930, membership was nine. Prior to 1946, funding for the Commission came from the Engineering Dept. A City Charter amendment in 1946 created an independent nine-member commission with fiscal autonomy. The Commission was given authority to hire employees as needed to carry out its planning and advisory functions. A Director of Planning was appointed in 1948 and, subsequently, work began on creation of the city's first Comprehensive Plan. The Comprehensive Plan was adopted in 1957. The Planning Commission also administered the Board of Adjustment which was created with adoption of the Comprehensive Plan. The Planning Commission, along with the Urban Renewal Program, was absorbed by the Dept. of Community Development when the latter was established in 1969. In 1992, DCD was abolished and the Planning Commission became a self-contained entity. John Spaeth was appointed as the full time director of planning in 1948. Spaeth hired a planning staff and worked with business leaders, neighborhood organizations, and civic groups to garner support for the idea of a Comprehensive Plan. In developing the plan, Spaeth and his staff created the city's first neighborhood plans for those post-World War II areas that were expanding at a rapid rate. He also focused on planning for the Central Business District. Following development of the Comprehensive Plan, the city adopted a new zoning code based on the Plan. Spaeth retired from city service in 1971.

From the description of John D. Spaeth planning files, 1950-1969. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 166504328

The City Planning Commission was created in 1924 to prepare plans and gather data for the development of the city, to advise City Council on current problems and long range planning, and to participate in administration of the city's zoning ordinance. An independent nine-member commission was established with adoption of a new city charter in 1946. It was provided with authority to hire as needed to carry out its planning and advisory functions. The Planning Commission also administered the Board of Adjustment following its creation in 1957. The city planning process was reorganized in 1980 and the Commission's planning function was transferred to the Dept. of Community Development. The current Commission is an advisory agency that reviews development plans and reports to the mayor and City Council. It is composed of fifteen members, all of whom must be Seattle citizens.

From the description of Planning Commission photographs, 1945-1957 and undated. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 154691097

The City Planning Commission was created in 1924 to prepare plans and gather data for urban planning and the physical development of the City, to advise City Council on current problems and long range planning, and to participate in administration of the City's Zoning Ordinance. It was involved closely in the revision of the City's first zoning ordinance. An independent nine-member commission was established with adoption of a new City Charter in 1946. It was provided with authority to hire as needed to carry out its planning and advisory functions. The Commission was charged with advising the Mayor, City Council, and City departments on planning policies and physical development plans and projects. The Commission staff were responsible for the development of the City's first Comprehensive Plan in the mid-1950s. It also administered the Board of Adjustment following the latter's creation in 1957. The city planning process was reorganized in 1980 and the Commission's planning function was transferred to the Department of Community Development. The current Commission is an advisory agency that reviews development plans and reports to the Mayor and City Council. It is composed of 15 members all of who must be Seattle citizens.

From the guide to the Seattle Planning Commission Reports and Studies, 1948-1965, (City of Seattle Seattle Municipal Archives)

The City Planning Commission was created in 1924 to prepare plans and gather data for urban planning and the physical development of the city, to advise the City Council on current problems and long range planning, to participate in administration of the city's zoning ordinance, and was involved closely in the revision of the city's first zoning ordinance. An independent nine-member commission was established with adoption of a new city charter in 1946. It was provided with authority to hire as needed to carry out its planning and advisory functions. The Commission was charged with advising the mayor, City Council, and city departments on planning policies and physical development plans and projects. The Commission staff were responsible for the development of the city's first comprehensive plan in the mid-1950s. It also administered the Board of Adjustment following the latter's creation in 1957. The city planning process was reorganized in 1980 and the Commission's planning function was transferred to the Dept. of Community Development. The current Commission is an advisory agency that reviews development plans and reports to the mayor and City Council. It is composed of fifteen members all of who must be Seattle citizens.

From the description of Seattle Planning Commission reports and studies working papers, 1948-1965. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 123945280

In 1959, a city ordinance designated the area "bounded by Yesler Way, Empire Way South, Lake Way, Rainier Avenue South, and 14th Avenue South" a "blighted area" and proposed an urban renewal project: the 340-acre Yesler-Atlantic Neighborhood Improvement Project; which would fund "rehabilitation, redevelopment, or a combination thereof" with federal dollars. The city was authorized to apply for $89,200 to fund plans and surveys of the area; this figure was later amended to $137,854. A $2 million capital grant was requested to demolish decaying structures and construct and install "streets, utilities, parks, playgrounds ... public buildings or facilities ... "; displaced families would be relocated. Also in 1959, when the federal government expressed concern about the costs of funding the entire project, the area to be improved was divided into two sections (the Yesler-Atlantic "U" and the "T," so named for the shape of the areas covered). The 137-acre "T" was selected as the first to undergo development because a large non-cash grant would accrue from the construction of the New Washington Junior High School in the "T" area. Survey and planning of the area began in 1960. In 1966, a new plan for the Yesler-Atlantic neighborhood was approved; structural inspections and an economic feasibility study were carried out, and a new project plan was created. A public hearing was scheduled for discussion of the new plan, and some property owners petitioned to have the hearing delayed on the grounds that the City Council had not made known the special procedures that applied to urban renewal hearings. Although their request was denied, the resulting litigation would delay the start of the project until 1968. In 1968, the project received HUD approval. By 1973, forty-two homes had been rehabilitated, new complexes had been constructed, and a new park had been completed.

From the description of Yesler-Atlantic Neighborhood Improvement Project Survey photographs and negatives, ca. 1961. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 166429073

Created in 1924 to prepare plans and gather data for the development of the city, to advise city council on current problems and long range planning, and to participate in administration of the city's zoning ordinance; independent 9 member commission was est. 1946; city planning process was reorganized in 1980 and the commission's planning function was transferred to the Dept. of Community Development; current commission is an advisory agency composed of 15 members that reviews development plans and reports to the mayor and city council.

From the description of Planning administration files, 1944-1970. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 70924995

From the description of Minutes, 1924-1970. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 70924993

From the description of Assistant planning director's files, 1950-1969. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 70924994

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Seattle Planning Commission. John D. Spaeth planning files, 1950-1969. Seattle Municipal Archives
creatorOf Seattle Planning Commission. Yesler-Atlantic Neighborhood Improvement Project Survey photographs and negatives, ca. 1961. Seattle Municipal Archives
referencedIn Gould family. Gould family papers, 1830-1983. University of Washington Libraries
creatorOf Seattle Planning Commission. Seattle Planning Commission reports and studies working papers, 1948-1965. Seattle Municipal Archives
creatorOf Seattle Planning Commission,. Planning Commission annual reports, 1928-1967. Seattle Municipal Archives
referencedIn Planned Unit Development Applications, 1963-1978 City of Seattle SeattleMunicipal Archives
referencedIn A. R. Redburn Records, 1951-1974 City of Seattle SeattleMunicipal Archives
referencedIn Seattle Planning Commission Annual Reports, 1928-1967 Seattle Municipal Archives
referencedIn Seattle Planning Commission Subject Files, 1967-1982 City of Seattle SeattleMunicipal Archives
creatorOf Seattle Planning Commission. Assistant planning director's files, 1950-1969. Seattle Municipal Archives
creatorOf Seattle Planning Commission. Minutes, 1924-1970. Seattle Municipal Archives
creatorOf Seattle Planning Commission Reports and Studies, 1948-1965 City of Seattle SeattleMunicipal Archives
referencedIn Building Department Joint Meeting Records, 1958-1976 City of Seattle SeattleMunicipal Archives
referencedIn Office of Environmental Management Records, 1968-1982, 1973-1975 City of Seattle SeattleMunicipal Archives
creatorOf Seattle Planning Commission. Planning Commission photographs, 1945-1957 and undated. Seattle Municipal Archives
creatorOf Seattle Planning Commission. Planning administration files, 1944-1970. Seattle Municipal Archives
referencedIn Gould Family Papers, 1830-1975 University of Washington Libraries Special Collections
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith American Institute of Architects. corporateBody
associatedWith Department of Community Development corporateBody
associatedWith Gould family family
associatedWith Gould family. family
associatedWith Hintz, Robert F. person
associatedWith King Street Station (Seattle, Wash.) corporateBody
associatedWith Seattle City Planning Commission corporateBody
associatedWith Seattle (Wash.). City Clerk corporateBody
associatedWith Seattle (Wash.) Department of Community Development corporateBody
associatedWith Seattle (Wash.). Dept. of Community Development corporateBody
associatedWith Seattle (Wash.). Dept. of Community Development. corporateBody
associatedWith Seattle (Wash.). Urban Design Advisory Board. corporateBody
associatedWith Seattle (Wash.). Urban Renewal Program. corporateBody
associatedWith Spaeth, John D. person
associatedWith Spaeth, John D. person
associatedWith Spaeth, John D. person
associatedWith Yesler-Atlantic Neighborhood Improvement Project (Seattle, Wash.) corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country
Seattle (Wash.)
Washington (State)--Seattle
Washington (State)--Seattle
Washington (State)--Seattle
Alki Point (Wash. : Town)
Magnolia (Seattle, Wash.)
Washington (State)--Seattle
Seattle (Wash.)
Atlantic Neighborhood (Seattle, Wash.)
Seattle (Wash.)
California
Seattle Metropolitan Area (Wash.)
Minor Neighborhood (Seattle, Wash.)
Kitimat (B.C.)
Seattle (Wash.)
Seattle (Wash.)
Leschi Neighborhood (Seattle, Wash.)
Seattle (Wash.)
Washington (State)--Seattle
Stevens Neighborhood (Seattle, Wash.)
International District (Seattle, Wash.)
Washington (State)--Seattle
Washington (State)--Seattle
North Beacon Hill Neighborhood (Seattle, Wash.)
Washington (State)--Seattle
Central District (Seattle, Wash.)
Mann Neighborhood (Seattle, Wash.)
Subject
Zoning law
Land use surveys--Photographs
Architecture--Exhibitions--Photographs
Marinas--Photographs
Annexation (municipal government)
Population density
Transportation
Swimming pools--Government policy
Parks
Architecture--Congresses
Zoning--Washington (State)--Seattle
Transportation Planning
Buildings--Height restrictions
Apartment houses--Photographs
Land use
Community development
Urban policy
Recreation--Government policy
Architecture--Photographs
Playgrounds
Commercial buildings--Photographs
Urban renewal--Photographs
Municipal government--Records and correspondence
Parks--Photographs
Tall buildings
City planning--Washington (State)--Seattle
Schools
Central business districts
Roads--Photographs
Zoning
Land use--Photographs
Urban transportation--Planning
Mooring of ships--Photographs
Public art--Government policy
Stores, Retail--Photographs
Dwellings--Photographs
Civic centers
Playgrounds--Washington (State)--Seattle
Neighborhood
City planning--Photographs
Seattle
City planning
City traffic
Neighborhood--Photographs
Buildings
Recreation
Parks and Playgrounds
Automobiles--Photographs
Occupation
Activity

Corporate Body

Active 1928

Active 1967

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