In November, Sammamish City Council started its process of updating the city’s comprehensive plan by hosting public input sessions for the planning summit series to gather feedback from local residents.
The comprehensive plan is the leading policy document and blueprint for the future character of the city. By law, every city in the state of Washington must have a comprehensive plan to determine a vision for that city’s future and to establish goals and policies to guide decision-making for city leaders.
Comprehensive plans must be updated every 10 years, with the plan serving as a blueprint for a period of two decades. Once every five years, progress on the plan’s goals must be reported to the state’s Department of Commerce and the county.
Sammamish is now due for a comprehensive plan update, which must be completed before Jan. 2025.
The plan has two volumes, each consisting of 7 elements — land use, environment and conservation, housing, transportation, utilities, parks, capital facilities, and shoreline. Volume 1 consists of goals and policies for each element, while volume 2 includes background information about the policies for each element.
“The city will be adding two new elements this cycle: an economic development element and a climate change and resiliency element,” said David Pyle, the city’s community development director.
Other changes in this update include ensuring the plan meets new state law requirements and aligns with regional and local planning policies. Specifically, state laws and King County requirements mandate that cities address the issue of housing diversity and affordability by implementing an increase in the construction of homes and preserving affordable homes for households with incomes less than 50% of the area’s median.
The comprehensive plan will primarily be written by the city’s Community Development department and planning commission. The city council’s role is to steer each element of the plan with public input, and eventually to approve the plan as official city policy.
There will continue to be council updates on the revisions they will make to the sections in the comprehensive plan throughout 2023. These updates can be accessed through city council sessions.
Councilmember Roisin O’Farrell said the council appreciates feedback from the community on the comprehensive plan because it affects not only City Hall but the entire community.
“I can’t emphasize the importance of public input, especially from those who have never provided feedback before,” said O’Farrell.