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Seattle Mayor Promises New Office Will Ease Pain Of Growth

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray says the solution to disjointed planning in Seattle is to create a new city office to deal with the city's booming growth.  At a news conference, Murray signed an executive order creating a new Office of Planning and Community Development.

Murray acknowledges mistakes have been made in coordinating growth in Seattle, which is now the 3rd  fastest growing city in the country according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Murray pointed to two projects under construction near City Hall.  At the corner of 5th and Columbia, a 46 story skyscraper is being built down the street from another tall tower.

“There could have been better decision making made on staging two massive construction projects that are happening a block away from each other,” Murray said.

He also pointed to new apartment complexes being built in the Ballard neighborhood without planning for adequate transit as another example of poor city planning.  And, Murray said the city didn't plan for enough open space in the urban village growth area along 12th Avenue.

Murray says the new bureaucracy he's creating in the form of the Office of Planning and Community Development will make for a more integrated approach. While the new office will include a lot of what the current city Department of Planning and Development (DPD) already does, it will also include planners from the parks, neighborhoods and transportation departments, who will help coordinate growth with infrastructure.

And, Murray says it will be a sort of one stop shop for residents to go to complain about things like parking, traffic, noise and other problems associated with the construction boom.

According to Murray, Seattle is on pace to permit 9000 new housing units this year, 30 percent more than in 2014. It's estimated that Seattle will be home to another 120,000 residents and 115,000 jobs by 2035.