Digital Design Review Approved in Seattle

Emergency legislation has cleared the way for a virtual design review process to keep the wheels of the development industry moving in one of the nation's fastest growing cities.

April 8, 2020, 8:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


Social Distancing

oksana.perkins / Shutterstock

"[Mayor Jenny Durkan] released a draft of the emergency legislation that would permit design review to be conducted electronically by waiving the in-person meeting requirement for a six-month period," reports Doug Trumm.

Seattle's suspended its design review process in March as a result of social distancing measures—the state and the region were a hot bed of infection in early march, and thus took drastic action to slow the spread of the coronavirus before the rest of the country.

"Since setting up virtual design review will take time, the bill also shifts projects facing full design review (before the volunteer boards) to administrative review, which is conducted by Seattle Department of Construction and Inspection (SDCI)," explains Trumm. "Without the change, design review meetings were simply being postponed in hopes the risk of virus spread would dissipate."

Trumm characterizes the moves toward virtual design review as a means to keep the economic wheels in the city turning to alleviate some of the economic consequences expected to outlive the public health crisis.


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