Neighborhood Subarea Planning to be discussed at Shoreline Planning Commission retreat

Sunday, September 3, 2023

Mountlake Terrace created a subarea
for its Town Center
The Shoreline Planning Commission will consider Subarea Planning at its retreat on September 7, 2023.

What is Neighborhood Subarea Planning?

Neighborhood subarea plans (or subarea plan) are detailed plans for a smaller geographic area within a community. 

The areas can include neighborhoods, commercial nodes, downtowns, corridors, or other types of districts with cohesive characteristics.

Subarea plans provide a way for residents and businesses in these areas to better define and understand how their area fits within the rest of the City and identify specific goals and objectives for their area while still achieving the broader goals of the citywide Comprehensive Plan. 

For example, a subarea plan might include how and where to focus commercial or mixed uses, address walkability / connectivity, open space, etc. 

Planning on a “smaller scale” also provides an opportunity for active engagement and direct community input into the plan.

Subarea Plan Examples

There are countless examples nationwide, but some local examples of subarea plans include the Mountlake Terrace Town Center Subarea Plan and the City of Issaquah Olde Town Plan.

The City of Shoreline has a history of subarea planning such as the Town Center Subarea Plan (2011) and the two light rail station subarea plans. Previous plans, no longer in effect, also included North City and Ridgecrest.

Relationship to Comprehensive Plan

The 2024 Comprehensive Plan update is well underway and provides an opportunity to establish a policy foundation for future subarea planning work that could occur following the completion of the Comprehensive Plan at the end of 2024.

Discussion Questions
  • Would the Planning Commission like to further explore neighborhood subarea planning in future years?
  • Are there particular areas of focus to consider as it relates to defining neighborhood subareas?


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