City seeks local feedback about Neighborhood Conservation Districts proposal

Seattle City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen will be hosting a community meeting to provide locals with information about the creation of Neighborhood Conservation Districts.

The meeting will be hosted at Phinney Neighborhood Center (6532 Phinney Ave N) at 6 p.m. tonight.

The City of Seattle is considering the design and implementation of a neighborhood conservation district strategy as a means of achieving neighborhood preservation goals for those neighborhoods interested in preserving the unique character of their neighborhoods.

Councilmember Rasmussen will be explaining the concept and listening to local feedback at tonight’s meeting.

In simple terms, a Neighborhood Conservation District would be an area with geographical boundaries that has a clear and consistent character.

“The districts are established with the specific intention of conserving the neighborhood character of the designated districts, and would be individually established by a vote of the Seattle City Council,” says Councilmember Rasmussen.

Under the proposed plan, neighborhood conservation district boards would be established tha would include neighborhood representatives and design professionals to make recommendations and decisions consistent with the authorities delegated to it by the city’s elected officials.

According to the City, a conservation district would provide guidelines, support and potential incentives for the conservation of important neighborhood buildings and design characteristics, but would not be as prescriptive as the landmark and special review districts that the city currently uses.

The key goals of a Neighborhood Conservation District proposal include:

  • Meeting the goal that city officials hear from growing communities to “protect the character of the neighborhoodas growth and development occur.
  • Addressing development pressure in neighborhoods that have a distinctive character.
  • Accommodating increased density in a manner that is compatible with the existing development context.
  • Conserving and enhancing the existing architectural and cultural identity of neighborhoods and commercial districts.
  • Fostering new construction and in-fill development in harmony with the scale and physical character of existing buildings.
  • Providing direction regarding types of buildings and specific features to be protected.
  • Providing tailored guidelines and regulations, with an appropriate level of discretion, to respond to the unique development conditions in each neighborhood that qualifies as a conservation district.

If the proposal moves forward neighborhoods may be nominated to become Neighborhood Conservation Districts by neighborhood property owners, city departments or members of the public. Nominations will need to identify design features significant to the district (see local example below) and the Council would need to approve designations.


The proposal is currently in the public outreach phase, with the plan to implement the Neighborhood Conservation District in two Seattle neighborhoods by September this year.

Click here to learn more about the proposal.

If you are unable to attend the meeting and want to provide your feedback email Councilmember Rasmussen at or call (206)-684-8808.

Image courtesy of Neighborhood Conservation District proposal website.

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