Burien Washington

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Comprehensive Plan
Burien's first Comprehensive Plan was adopted in November 1997 following months of town meetings, workshops and public hearings. The plan has been amended several times since then, most recently in April 2013.

The plan is based on the Burien Vision, an expression by the community of what the community should be in 20 years. The plan also reflects the goals and guidelines of Washington's 1990 Growth Management Act.

GMA Mandatory Updates

The City of Burien is updating the Comprehensive Plan to be consistent with state, regional and countywide laws and policies.  This periodic update is required by Washington State’s Growth Management Act (GMA). 

The Comprehensive Plan expresses a community’s vision of itself, the community it would like to become, its hopes and dreams, and the philosophical underpinning for any planning activity. It is a key element in the land use planning process and an expression of the “public interest,” in the sense of exercising the public authority of a municipality. Since the GMA was enacted, the Comprehensive Plan has become an enforceable blueprint or framework for all subsequent land use regulation activity.

The Comprehensive Plan update is split into multiple phases. Phase 1 was completed at the end of 2011 and Phase 2 was completed in April 2013. The City is continuing to review and update its Comprehensive Plan and development regulations to ensure consistency with the Growth Management Act. To receive E-mail or text message notification of Comprehensive Plan update activities, please subscribe on the Notify Me page.

North Burien Land Use / Zoning Changes
One of the primary items in the 2012-13 cycle of Comprehensive Plan updates was the inclusion of North Burien into the plan. This involved updating both plan policies and maps to include the area annexed in 2010. The City determined future land use designations for North Burien. These future land use designations show "the future distribution, extent and location of generalized land uses within Burien." Both the Comprehensive Plan Land Use map and the Zoning map were amended as a part of this process.

A component of the update process was an outreach effort in the North Burien area, including two open houses. The purpose of the first open house was to introduce the residents, property and business owners to the City of Burien and gather input and understanding of land uses in North Burien. The information obtained at the open house was used to assist the Planning Commission and the City in updating the Comprehensive Plan and associated land use maps, including comprehensive land use and zoning designations. Approximately 65 attendees participated in group discussions designed to gain insight into the following topical areas: single-family residential areas, the Ambaum Boulevard Southwest corridor, the 1st Avenue South corridor, the Boulevard Park business area, and Healthy Eating Active Living.

The City received valuable input on land use-related issues and captured many other comments regarding streets, sidewalks, parks and code enforcement.

Following the community open house, the Planning Commission explored three varied land use alternatives generally reflecting low, medium and high growth patterns. In January 2012, the commission agreed upon a preliminary land use alternative to be used as a basis for an open house and public hearing.

The City Council reviewed the recommendation and made a final decision in April 2013, along with other unrelated Comprehensive Plan amendments.

Plan Concepts
The plan has several major concepts, summarized as follows:
  • Creation of a sustainable community (a community that is socially, economically, and environmentally healthy)
  • Reinforcing Burien's small-town character and sustaining the character of existing neighborhoods.
  • Creating a thriving, yet pedestrian friendly downtown.
  • Using design guidelines to create a unifying visual environment throughout Burien.
  • Accommodating Burien's share of expected countywide growth (both in new housing units and job creation).
  • Providing public facilities and services within the City's financial resources.

Annual Amendment Request Process
Burien amends its Comprehensive Plan annually. Requests for amendments must be submitted to the Community Development Department by March 1. The list of amendments that will be considered is established by the City Council in April following a recommendation from the Planning Commission.

400 SW 152nd St, Suite 300  /  Burien, WA 98166  /  Ph: (206) 241-4647  /  Fax: (206) 248-5539
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