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City's diverse Southeast Redmond neighborhood plan to be updated

From left, Jim Hanley, Lei Wu and Natalya Tkach go over their development plans for Southeast Redmond as City Council President Pat Vache observes. - Samantha Pak, Redmond Reporter
From left, Jim Hanley, Lei Wu and Natalya Tkach go over their development plans for Southeast Redmond as City Council President Pat Vache observes.
— image credit: Samantha Pak, Redmond Reporter

The City of Redmond is made up of 10 neighborhoods and each one has its own character that sets it apart from the rest.

One of the things that makes Southeast Redmond stand out is the variety of land uses within its boundaries. With Marymoor Park and the end of State Route 520 to the west, the city limits to the south and east and Evans Creek and Union Hill Road to the north, the 1,600-acre neighborhood contains business parks, employers in industry, manufacturing and retail and single-family homes. Southeast Redmond is also home to the city's cemetery, as well as a number of parks and trails.

"What's so interesting about this area is that it's the most diverse in terms of land use," said Kim Dietz, a senior planner for the city.

This diversity will play a large role in Southeast Redmond's neighborhood plan update, which is currently underway and like the city's Comprehensive Plan, looks 20 years into the future.

Dietz said the city checks in with each neighborhood annually to see how things are doing and see if there are any minor things that need to be addressed. Every six years, neighborhoods are revisited for a mid-term refinement in which anything brought up during the annual meetings are collected and addressed if possible. And ever 12 years, a neighborhood will receive a more robust and involved update.

Due to various circumstances, the last time Southeast Redmond's neighborhood plan was updated was in 1993.

A TEAM EFFORT

The kick-off series for the neighborhood plan update began in the summer and ended Monday night with a planning event at City Hall's Bytes Cafe. Attendees — residents, employees and business owners from the community — gained some hands-on planning experience during an exercise that had them working in small teams and using color-coded LEGO blocks to plan out development in Southeast Redmond. Different colors represented different types of use such as single-family housing, multi-family housing, industrial, manufacturing, retail and business.

With everyone's varied connection to the neighborhood, the exercise was a challenge for most to find something that would please everyone.

"We had some problems compromising on what our vision would be," Michael Schroeder admitted.

Schroeder works at Watson Asphalt Paving Company in the neighborhood's industrial area along Northeast Union Hill Road; his two teammates were residents. He said his main concern about development in Southeast Redmond is preserving the industrial zoning in the neighborhood as that makes up only 1 percent of the acreage in the city.

But while Schroeder and his group worked to come to a compromise, he said one thing they did agree on was providing a buffer between the industrial and residential areas. This was a common theme among the teams as they presented their plans to the rest of the group and some of the possible solutions suggested included expanding a current park and adding vegetation.

A COMMON VISION

Natalya Tkach, who lives in the English Cove Townhomes community in Southeast Redmond and works as a realtor, said one thing her clients often look for is walkability within a community.

Dietz said walkability is an important factor for people in all neighborhoods. Other things people desire include affordable housing and areas for community gatherings, and more recently, community gardens and zoning for neighborhood commercial. The latter would allow for certain types of commercial uses within a residential area.

Redmond City Council President Pat Vache also attended the meeting to hear what people were saying.

"I think it's extremely important to see what the neighborhoods think about their neighborhoods," he said.

Vache, who lives on Education Hill, has attended other community meetings for plan updates in other neighborhoods and said in his experience there have been two main concerns: how to keep the character of a neighborhood and transportation, which is "probably the thing you hear more than anything."

Dietz agreed with the latter.

"Transportation is always, always a concern," she said.

GET INVOLVED

Dietz said the next step for the city is to form a citizen advisory committee (CAC), which would be made up of 12 representatives from all aspects of Southeast Redmond life. The CAC will then be presented with the information gathered from the various planning events and then work for nine months to come up with a plan to recommend to the city's Planning Commission. Dietz said the commission will then have six months to work and come up with a recommendation to present to City Council.

The city is currently accepting applications for the Southeast Redmond CAC. To learn more contact Dietz at kDietz@redmond.gov or visit redmond.gov/seredmond.

Applications for the CAC will be accepted through Dec. 15.

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