2022 Governor’s Smart Communities Award winners announced

OLYMPIA, WA —Eight Washington cities have been named Smart Communities Award winners for 2022. Launched in 2006, the Governor’s Smart Communities Awards program annually recognizes local governments and their partners for exceptional work in implementing the state’s Growth Management Act (GMA) to shape future growth, economic vitality and quality of life in communities across Washington.

Award winners can serve as models for other communities on solutions to issues of statewide significance including housing shortages, climate resilience and equity in community development.

“With so many good examples of creative and collaborative planning in our state, it is hard to select ‘winners’,” said Commerce Director Lisa Brown. “Local communities are employing a wide variety of strategies, tools and ingenuity to develop their own unique answers to the challenges of equitable and sustainable growth and economic development.”

The 2022 Governor’s Smart Communities Awards announced today:

SMART VISION AWARDS – for a comprehensive plan, subarea plan or planning policies.

Photo of La Vogue Building in downtown Hoquiam WA

The La Vogue building is Hoquiam’s key commercial building and part of the Downtown and Olympic Stadium revitalization plan that will include a new restaurant, additional commercial space and 20 vacation rental units, and renovation of the historic all-wood Olympic Stadium.

Hoquiam – Downtown and Olympic Stadium Revitalization Plan is one of two Smart Vision Award winners. Completed in June 2021, the City of Hoquiam developed a strategic, tactical implementation plan to revitalize the historic downtown and Olympic Stadium, leading to local engagement, new investment and significant increases in downtown accommodations.

Renton – Rainier/Grady Junction Transit-Oriented Development Subarea Plan also received a Smart Vision Award. It provides a vision and strategies to guide growth and achieve a holistic, people-oriented mixed-use neighborhood around Sound Transit’s planned bus rapid transit line and transit center. This significant investment will create a true transit hub for the South King County region and the first step toward realizing a vibrant new district of opportunity.

SMART PARTNERSHIP AWARD – for a joint public project that implements a comprehensive plan.

Kenmore – Kenmore Public Boathouse project. Rowing is a cultural icon for Kenmore, both for local pride and commercial tourism. The boathouse is a jointly developed project that began as an advisory committee in 2017, consisting of the city, Northshore School District, Kenmore Community Rowing Club, and the George Pocock Rowing Foundation. Since completion, the district’s school rowing teams have swelled in numbers and in the first four months of operation, the rowing club has provided programs including low-cost youth summer camps, competitive adult training and learn-to-row programs at the boathouse.

SMART PROJECT AWARD – for a project implementing a comprehensive plan.

Photo of people walking on a downtown Bellevue street with a bus, bike rider and cars in the background

Photo courtesy of City of Bellevue Transportation Department

Bellevue – Bellevue Mobility Implementation Plan (MIP). The plan is a transportation implementation framework developed by the Transportation Commission and approved by the city council in April 2022. It is designed to accommodate growth and supports the city’s Growth Management Plan, and regional connectivity. Tapping their Capital Investment Program Plan and the Bellevue Transportation Department general fund, the city was solely responsible for all resources needed to develop the MIP – a great example of integration, advanced planning and locally driven funding.

Langley – Multi-family Infill Form Based Code. Adopted by the city council in June 2021, this new code is intended to increase alternatives for “missing middle” housing while ensuring development fits in with Langley’s historic small-town feel and complements regulations in the underlying zoning. Rather than using poorly understood regulations, the intensity or density of a project is controlled by a combination of building height, setbacks, lot coverage, and parking requirements. Existing infrastructure is being used so the utilities do not have to be extended, making this a more sustainable form of development as well.

SMART HOUSING STRATEGIES AWARD – for creative plans, policies, programs and/or actions.

Seattle – Affordable Housing on Religious Organization Property planning. In 2020 and 2021, the Seattle Office of Planning and Community Development and Office of Housing partnered to create a development bonus for affordable housing on property owned by religious organizations. This fulfilled state statutory requirements in SHB 1377 and responded to advocacy and direction from faith-based and housing stakeholders, including historically Black churches in Seattle’s Central Area where residents face displacement. Long-term affordable rental and ownership are primary goals for this process. All housing developed using the bonus must be affordable to eligible residents for at least 50 years.

SMART CLIMATE STRATEGIES AWARD – for plans, policies, programs and/or actions addressing community climate impacts.

Lakewood – 2021 Comprehensive Plan, Energy and Climate Change Chapter. In 2020, Lakewood began proactively developing climate change policies, incentives and voluntary actions, and potential regulations ahead of state or regional mandates. Leading the way, city staff prepared the document over 12 months using data on city-specific greenhouse gas (GHG) sources and anticipated climate change effects as it plans for thousands of new residents by 2050. Most new residents will be able to locate in planned new missing middle and higher density housing in the Downtown and Lakewood Station District subareas. Planning also accounts for thousands of new retail, commercial and industrial jobs.

JUDGES MERIT AWARD – recognizing success in more than one judged category.

The 2022 Judges Merit Award goes to the city of Lakewood for their Lakewood Station District Subarea Plan, Code and Planned Action (LSDS Package). Adoption of the LSDS Package is the realization of a community vision included in the Lakewood Comprehensive Plan for the subarea since incorporation, as well as the city council’s strategic plan. Prepared between November 2019 and May 2021, it serves as an outstanding example of smart visioning, housing, and equity strategies that other jurisdictions can follow.

The Station District is a racially and ethnically concentrated area of poverty, and a high percentage of households that are cost-burdened. The LSDS package addresses these issues by supporting more options for low and moderate income housing, a variety of housing types, and aims to prevent economic displacement for existing residents. Since the vision and concept for the Lakewood Station District had been a longstanding part of Lakewood’s Comprehensive Plan, the city sought updates from the community through multiple formats and in-person meetings. In addition to being an area of risk for economic displacement, the launch of this project coincided with the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. Knowing this, the city used remote outreach engagement options to solicit and collect community input. Bilingual social media messages encouraged survey participation as well as a self-guided walk-shop exercise that asked participants, including children, to walk the subarea and record their impressions. The sheer scope of work and Lakewood’s efforts to engage their community, even amidst a global pandemic, earned the judge’s praise.

Learn more about all of the 2022 Smart Communities Award Winners.

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