The City Council adopted the Downtown Plan in April 2003. The Plan addresses the issues of land use, transportation and public investment in the Downtown area of Kenmore, which is generally the area near the intersection of SR-522 and 68th Avenue NE. At the same time the Council adopted the Plan, the Council adopted revisions to the zoning code and instituted design guidelines in the area.
The Plan is based upon five core concepts:
- Strategic Civic Investment: To provide a "central place" and to stimulate complementary private investment, the Comprehensive Plan calls for the City to focus its civic investment in the Northwest Quadrant. It was proposed that public investment would lead land assembly and public/private partnerships for redevelopment. Strategic civic investment could include a Civic Center, which may be comprised of a City Hall, a Community Center, and/or Library. Other Civic investments proposed include a Park-and-Ride facility, as well as street and infrastructure improvements such as road realignment, sidewalks, plazas or open space, and street trees.
- Circulation Improvements: Circulation patterns affect the mobility of vehicles, pedestrians, and other modes of travel, as well as the land use pattern, and character of a district. Additional circulation connections, for vehicles and nonmotorized travel, can help distribute traffic and allow for greater walkability.
- Zoning: Zoning is a means of categorizing land into different classifications or zones in order to establish the following types of regulations common to each zone – allowable uses of a site, a structure’s size (e.g. height), and a structure’s location on a lot (e.g. setback standards). In the Northwest and Northeast Quadrants, two zones have been created – Downtown Commercial (DC) and Downtown Residential (DR). The former emphasizes commercial uses but allows for mixed uses, and the latter primarily focuses on multifamily residential forms where the City will accommodate much of its required growth, allowing for support of commercial districts and protection of more distant single-family districts.
- Design Standards: The location, frequency and quality of buildings, parking lots, pole signs, sidewalks, crosswalks, landscaping and street trees are elements of urban form that individually and collectively determine visual cohesiveness, comfort, and pedestrian-orientation in urban areas. The Downtown Design Standards would apply to the Downtown Commercial and Downtown Residential Districts, and to some Regional Business properties north of NE 175th Street. Standards address site design and building design. These standards would create a character and quality of development consistent with a pedestrian-oriented downtown.
- Implementation Strategies, Near Term and Long Term: This Downtown Plan provides several implementation steps to support existing businesses and to promote new commercial business in the downtown.
These five key plan concepts are intended to provide incentives and regulations to achieve the community vision for Downtown, but it will be a public/private partnership, since the vast majority of property is and will remain in private ownership. Private property owners will determine their property investment and development.