I was anxious to see what the review would look like. I helped craft the initial program, managed it for most of the 1990s, and then served on the Queen Anne/Magnolia/South Lake Union Design Review Board for four years ending in April.
The review conducted by city staff and the consultants is very thorough and presents many compelling observations and recommendations. What I wonder, after reading the report, is whether the recommendations go far enough.
When the Mayor and City Council began the process of creating Design Review in the late 1980’s there was very little trust in the community for the then Department of Construction and Land Use.
Little did folks realize that it wasn’t for lack of talent or compassion that DCLU was approving ugly stucco boxes in Wallingford, Ballard or the U District. It was simply that the department had few tools to deal with design. But because of this lack of trust, the group-think of the moment was that DCLU surely could not be entrusted with an administrative design review process.