Frederick, Maryland
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Architects and Planners

mercer island, WA

In mid-2014, the City of Mercer Island retained Seth Harry and Associates to review the City’s downtown zoning code, and to make recommendations on how to make it more effective and precise, relative to intent. That assessment identified specific issues relating to the incentives the existing code offered,and presented a number of straightforward suggestions on how those issues might be addressed. Following that, our firm was asked to develop an outline regulatory framework and conceptual code, loosely based on form-based principles, but still working wtihin the City's existing legal and regulatory structure.

After an initial community outreach effort by municipal staff and local firm 3Square Blocks, our firm undertook a three month-long public engagement process, which included a public design workshop and a number of community meetings, in addition to ongoing coordination between several ad-hoc committees and a stakeholder group. Seth Harry and Associates drafted the outline code framework, which provided a set of clearly-defined parameters and associated graphic tools, which directly reflected the community’s input. This work included an innovative update to the existing code's incentive-based approach, as well as several master plan recommendations to provide for certain features and amenities that the community had specifically asked for, but which the existing code had not been providing.

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Mercer Island, Washington Code Update