Planning commission kicks off comprehensive plan update

Update is expected to run through April 2024.

Buckle up and hold on, Mercer Island Planning Commission Chair Daniel Hubbell said of the comprehensive plan update that will reside on the city’s docket for the next two years.

It’s Hubbell’s third go-round being entrenched in a comprehensive plan update he told commission members at its April 27 video meeting. The update work in tandem with the city council to help construct a document to guide the community for the next seven years will be interesting, rewarding and enjoyable, he added.

The Washington State Growth Management Act (GMA) requires the city to update its plan on or before June 30, 2024, according to city resolution documents. On March 15, city council passed three motions to give the go-ahead for the two-year process toward renovating the plan for the years 2024-2044. Council approved scope of work, schedule and public participation at that meeting.

In a previous Reporter story, Alison Van Gorp, the city’s deputy director for community planning and development, said the plan is the city’s growth vision and road map for housing and economic development, transportation, utilities, environment, parks and more.

City council will discuss the plan update at its May 3 meeting and select volunteers to pair with planning commission members on the economic development and housing work groups, which will prepare initial drafts with staff support, according to Adam Zack, senior city planner.

The groups’ first meetings are planned for May and Zack said they should complete their robust work by the close of 2022. Planning commission members who volunteered to join the groups are vice chair Mike Murphy and Victor Raisys on the economic development side and Carolyn Boatsman and Kate Akyuz in the housing realm.

Zack noted that from May through December of this year, the full commission will hold about three meetings per element and devise drafts along the way before agreeing to a public hearing of the draft. After the hearing, the commission will make additions and revisions to the draft before presenting a final-draft recommendation to the city council.

“We’ll work through each of the elements individually and get to a public hearing draft. The public hearing will actually be on the overall comprehensive plan update,” Zack said.

The update process will include public outreach, a workshop and survey with information and dates to come.

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