Questions & Answers
The questions below have been collected from the outreach opportunities. Similar questions have been combined to avoid repetition. If you don't see your question below, email Redmond2050@Redmond.gov and staff will assist you.
General / Process Questions
Q: Why can't we say no to growth?
In Washington State we have laws and policies in place that direct growth to some areas and away from others. Redmond is in one of the areas that will always have growth directed to it, and we're required to accommodate the growth that is assigned to our City. Find out more by scrolling down to the ‘Did you know’ section near the bottom of the page at www.Redmond.gov/Redmond2050.
Q: Why are we doing this now? Why not wait until after the pandemic?
A: The required update has a legal deadline of June 2024, but several elements will need to be updated sooner than that to meet critical community needs (like housing and economic recovery) and address programs and policies that are nearing or at the end of their lifespan. We need to start now to meet our target for adoption by the end of 2022 for those Phase 1 items. We're trying to be as inclusive in our outreach as possible, and working with our community partners to make sure we are reaching people where they are at and making it easy to participate in this process.
Q: With 65% of the growth planned in downtown Redmond and Overlake, what are the plans since there are lots of small businesses and apartments in this area?
A: The regional growth plan that was recently adopted, Vision 2050, has the following growth strategy:
- MPP-RGS-8 Attract 65% of the region’s residential growth and 75% of the region’s employment growth to the regional growth centers and high-capacity transit station areas to realize the multiple public benefits of compact growth around high-capacity transit investments. As jurisdictions plan for growth targets, focus development near high-capacity transit to achieve the regional goal.
In Redmond, this means accommodating 65% of residential growth and 75% of employment growth in Downtown, Overlake, and around the four light rail station areas (two in Overlake, one in Downtown, and one in Marymoor Village).
These areas are shown in a very simplified view in the sketch to the right (urban centers in red and the ½ mile from the station areas in the red dashed circles):
Redmond supports business diversity, including the formation and expansion of small businesses. We understand that displacement is a community concern and will explore displacement mitigation strategies as part of the evaluation of each growth scenario, which will prioritize placing growth into vacant and re-developable parcels.
Q: Is the intent to convert the downtown core area a pedestrian area?
A: Downtown and Overlake are considered pedestrian priority zones in the Transportation Master Plan. This means that pedestrian facilities will provide a wide, attractive pedestrian environment that results in a comfortable walking experience. Bear Creek Parkway was built in part to allow vehicle traffic that has a destination outside of Downtown Redmond to bypass the core of Downtown. This in turn has allowed Cleveland Street to become a pedestrian “main street” and allowed two-way traffic to return to Redmond Way and Cleveland Street, providing better connectivity and access to local businesses. SR 520 also acts as a bypass to Downtown Redmond.
If you have specific project ideas, we encourage you to put an idea on the transportation project ideas map.
Q: What does "close to transit" mean?
A: Close to transit generally assumes a ½-mile or 15-minute walk. This is standard for the region.
Q: How were arterials selected for growth in "scenario B"? Why were 166th and Red-Wood Rd, or any other arterials, not selected?
A: Scenario B used for the breakout room discussion was a random selection for example only, and only to demonstrate that the model will include evaluating growth along arterials. The model uses the major arterials that meet the state definition for high frequency transit corridors (today or planned in the Metro Connects 2040 Transit Plan).
Q: Will you model growth in neighborhoods beyond arterials? For example, in-law units, accessory dwelling units, or the plot sub-divisions.
A: To keep our growth model simple enough to see dynamic changes on the fly, we are not modeling changes in the neighborhoods outside of Downtown, Overlake and some arterials. That said, one way to increase housing opportunities in existing neighborhoods is smoothing the path for people to build accessory dwelling units. These units benefit from infrastructure that is already in place to support increased housing opportunities. This review will be done through our Housing Action Plan and our update to the Housing Element rather than through the model.
Q: Are there plans outside of the 1,400-car parking structure near the light rail station in Marymoor Village to help accommodate growth? The park and rides are already full after 7am for those trying to commute.
A: Providing better access to transit is one of Redmond’s core transit priorities. We know that not everyone can walk, bike, or roll to a transit stop. Redmond advocates for increased transit service that connects people to high-frequency transit like light rail; in addition, Metro and Sound Transit have launched parking permit programs to make the most efficient use of limited park-and-ride stalls. On the topic of off-street parking for new development, one thing we’ve heard from affordable housing providers, developers, and the public is that the cost of housing is directly related to parking requirements. It will be a delicate balance between parking, the cost to develop a variety of different housing choices, and access to housing and transit. There are parking management consideration, including permits for Park and Ride lots, in the Downtown Parking Management Strategic Plan.
Q: Are any plans for further annexation to the city?
A: There are plans to annex a few small areas in the Willows-Rose Hill area. These are within Redmond’s designated Potential Annexation Area. There are some constraints on completing that annexation, specifically the limited amount of infrastructure in the area. Redmond does not have plans to annex farther north into Woodinville, because those areas are outside the urban growth area and they are farmland preservation areas that wouldn’t be appropriate for annexation.
Q: What is the plan to protect (or replace) tree canopy with all the new development?
A: Tree canopy is a common concern for Redmond residents. The Parks and Trails Commission recently worked on tree canopy goals and policies. We will have to balance our development goals with tree canopy goals. In urban areas we will need to take steps to ensure trees are compatible with infrastructure, which could require replacing trees that are buckling sidewalks or otherwise impacting infrastructure, installing new trees in the proper location, and using installation techniques that are healthier for trees and don’t adversely impact infrastructure.
Q: Must we restore the tree canopy? I moved here is the early 70’s and at that time Redmond was a meadow. Tall trees were in the uplands. The original forests were removed for farming in the rich soil of the valley bottom. If we must have trees for a canopy, let’s have more open space for the trees.
A: Staff is currently reviewing tree canopy regulations in line with the tree canopy goals recently adopted.
Q: What is the definition of growth in the context of the planning for 2050? Is growth to be the construction of more apartment boxes? Consisting of 5 stories of apartments with “retail space” on the street level? Can we look at services and manufacturing on the first floor?
A: We’re focusing right now on where growth should go, but our next conversation will be on what growth should look like. There will be some outputs from the first conversation that will impact the second.
Q: When people talk about "tall" buildings, what does that mean?
A: We are looking for input from the community on what “tall” and “too tall” means.
Q: Downtown apartment buildings lack architectural detail. Can you help with that? Why are they approved with a lack of architectural and color appeal?
A: Redmond has a Design Review Board that reviews all new Downtown developments. We also have design standards that apply to all downtown, Overlake, and Marymoor development projects.
As part of Redmond 2050 update, we will review and update design standards to ensure they are consistent with community goals around architecture and urban design. Once we understand community preferences for where growth will go we will start conversations on what it should look like. We encourage you to continue to be a part of this process and provide your feedback on that topic, which we will begin discussions on early next year.
Q: Is there any way for the city of Redmond to require developers to include green roofs, low impact development (LID), or other solutions to mitigate concerns about views, green space, open space, etc.?
A: Yes, there is. In some areas we do require LID as a way of managing stormwater. We also have an incentive program that includes green building elements. Generally, incentives are used to encourage developers to do something that they might not do on their own. For example, we may allow the developer to build a taller building in exchange for providing more green space on the property.
Staff contact: Redmond2050@Redmond.gov