Welcome to Coffee Talks: A Series of Community Learning Opportunities on Neighborhood Planning Concepts

Hopefully, by now you’ve heard of the neighborhood planning process that residents in NE Seattle have begun for the 35th Ave NE corridor.  As part of this neighborhood planning process, we are trying to provide opportunities for us, the community, can become well informed.  We’ve created boards on Pintrest for Planning Articles and Posts, Streetscapes, and Architectural Style and Design.  Now, thanks to the Washington Chapter of the American Planning Association’s Community Planning Assistance Team (CPAT), we are hosting “Coffee Talks”.

First and foremost.  No, these Coffee Talks don’t feature Mike Myers nor are their topics the many gifts of Barbara Streisand, although the question of ‘Romanesque architecture’ is closer to point.  Instead, these monthly Coffee Talks provide an informal opportunity for the NE Seattle community and anyone else interested to learn about various neighborhood planning concepts from various professionals.  The intent of these Coffee Talks is to learn about key concepts eluded to in the Vision Plan that could help guide the community-led neighborhood planning process.

The first Coffee Talk will be on  Creating the Conditions to Support Neighborhood Businesses.  Speakers will include Theresa Barerras from the Office of Economic Development to discuss the “Only In Seattle” Initiative.  Beth Dufek from Impact Capital will be sharing what other neighborhoods and business districts are doing to support their business districts.  And Wendy Schwartz, the owner of Fresh Boutique which had to close their doors in 2011 (and where rumors of 7th bank in 11 blocks is coming), will share her experience about what local neighborhood businesses like hers need to survive and thrive.

With the help of CPAT, we are identifying speakers, dates, and venues for additional Coffee Talks.  Concepts for Coffee Talks include the following:

  • Creating the Conditions to Support Neighborhood Businesses – February 23rd, 7-8:30PM at Wedgwood Presbyterian Church (8008 35th Ave NE)
  • Density and its benefits – Date and location to be determined
  • Making a neighborhood walkable and the importance of proximity – Date and location to be determined
  • Design at a human scale. A primer on architectural design concepts and “design guidelines with teeth” – Date and location to be determined
  • Place-making and successful streetscape features – Date and location to be determined
  • Financial realities of development.  Incentivizing successful development – Date and location to be determined
  • The trade offs of land use planning (e.g, up-zoning increases property taxes, increased traffic/parking, etc.) – Date and location to be determined
  • Incorporating affordable housing and economic diversity into land use planning – Date and location to be determined

Everyone is welcome to these Coffee Talks, you know, no big whoop. You don’t have to be a planner, architect, engineer or policy wonk. If you have any questions, other ideas for Coffee Talks, or would like to present on one of the topics above, please email » Per Johnson.

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