Planning Awards 2002

2002 Planning Awards Program Recognizes Outstanding Work

Outstanding planning efforts in Washington are recognized at the annual Awards Program for Excellence in Planning, sponsored jointly by the American Planning Association - Washington Chapter, and the Planning Association of Washington. For the 2002 Program, the Awards Committee recognized projects from both sides of the Cascades; in small towns and large cities; and by local governments, private consultants and planning students. The winners for 2002 are as follows:

Rural Planning

Honor Award: Walla Walla County Rural Farm Worker Communities

Development Standards and Design Guidelines
The Awards Program introduced Rural Planning as a new category in 2002, specifically to recognize planning activities in the rural parts of our state. The first winner in this category is Walla Walla County, for its program to assure decent, affordable housing for migrant and resident agricultural workers. The judges recognized the importance of this politically difficult issue, and the clear code provisions developed by the County to assure quick permit approvals for farmworker housing designed to be consistent with the development standards. This award goes to Walla Walla County and its staff, along with consultant Berryman and Henigar.

Natural Resource Plans

Honor Award: Thurston County

Land Covering Map of Thurston County
Thurston Regional Planning Council has created a digital land cover data layer for the county. The Council used satellite data to develop a G.I.S. layer that allows county planners to monitor the cumulative effect on critical areas from development policies and resultant development patterns. The product will allow the County to project the effect of polices at full build-out. As the Puget Sound region begins to focus more on actually tracking the effectiveness of its growth control and critical area policies, the Awards Committee found TRPC's approach to be an appropriate use of technology, and very usable for the job it was developed for. The award goes to the Thurston Regional Planning Council.

Research and Implementation

Honor Award: City of SeaTac

Ordinance Regarding Electronic Signs
The City of SeaTac has responded to a challenge literally popping up around the state - the new generation of moving graphic/video signs. This unique contribution presents a regulatory model that incorporates standard industry terms and the safety considerations inherent in a driver's inclination to finish reading an electronic message he begins. A "best available science" ordinance for signs, as it were. The jury appreciated the imbedded video clips too. The award is presented to this year's host city, SeaTac's Department of Planning and Community Development and its Legal Department.

Honorable Mention: Thurston County Regional Council

Tracking Developments on Streams and Wetlands
Thurston Regional Planning Council evaluated over 100 development sites along streams and wetlands to assess how current regulations have worked to protect these resources. The results revealed valuable information for all planners across the State about what approaches are working and which may need to be re-evaluated. This project is a good example of the effort needed to implement a "monitoring" program prior to making adjustments that make critical area regulations more effective. The award goes to the Thurston Regional Planning Council.

Student Project

Honor Award: Western Washington University

Lummi Island Rural Character Study
This work is an excellent example of a student exercise that rises to the level of making a real contribution to local planning. The study uses visual preference surveys, physical inventories, and community involvement activities to assist the residents of Lummi Island to identify - and protect - the local characteristics most dear to them. The award goes to the students of Professor Nick Zaferatos's Spring 2002 Planning Studio at Western's Planning and Environmental Policy Program in the Huxley College of Environmental Studies.

Citizen Involvement

Honor Award: City of Mount Vernon

Town Meeting
You have a new Director of Development Services who needs to be briefed on what is happening in the city. Why not make it an "event" open to all the community? That's what the City of Mount Vernon decided to do. This project reminds us all that we don't need to wait for a controversial new plan-adoption process to involve and inform citizens. Over sixty people attended thecity-sponsored town meeting at the Lincoln Theater, and countless others watched on local access TV. The award goes to Mayor Skye Richendorfer and to staff members from several departments at the City of Mount Vernon.

Honorable Mention: City of Richland

Downtown Revitalization Partnership Project
The City of Richland returns this year with another award for its ongoing downtown revitalization program. A follow-up to last years award-winning Downtown Enhancement Action Plan, this year's winner is an excellent example of how to work with affected businesses as major infrastructure and streetscape projects unfold in a downtown area. The jury was impressed by the City's early, constant, creative, and personalized efforts. The award goes to the team at the City of Richland.

Transportation Plans

Honor Award: City of Seattle

University Area Transportation Study
This analysis of the causes of and responsibility for increasing congestion in the U District area helps decision-makers allocate costs and mitigation fairly for different participants. The project also developed the most cost-effective solutions. It was recognized as a thorough analysis of a very complex set of issues. The results may surprise some, and will surely enable limited dollars to be spent wisely. This award goes to the City of Seattle; Murai Associates; KPG; Henderson Young and Company; OTAK; and Robert Bernstein, Inc.

Physical Plans

Honor Award: South Renton Neighborhood Plan

In planning for a stagnant area near downtown, the City of Renton employed a holistic approach combining old and new techniques. Steps ranged from revising development standards to respond to a market analysis, to providing economically feasible building prototypes. The project has resulted in an application for the first new construction in the area in decades. Judges were impressed by the thorough integration of land use regulation, cost/market research, and detailed designs for private and public improvements. This sub-area plan is a real economic development tool. The award goes to the City of Renton and its partners, Mithun Architects, the Berg Partnership, Marcia Gamble-Hadley, and Real Vision.

Honorable Mention: San Juan Valley Heritage Plan

Faced with the task of balancing community desires for visual and open space conservation, property owner expectations, and GMA compliance, San Juan County and its consultant responded with a plan that is a textbook application of planning principles - including the use of land trusts, conservation easements, and density bonuses to protect a valued area. The award goes to The San Juan Valley Steering Committee, the San Juan County Board of County Commissioners, the San Juan County Planning Commission, and M.R. Stearns Planning + Design.


Honor Award: Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge Master Plan

In order to quickly craft a plan to update facilities and to address environmental and cultural preservation issues at an important national wildlife refuge and historic site, EDAW, Inc. assembled a unique team. This project combined the efforts of the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the community of Ridgefield, the local tribe, and a team of students from across the country. The result was a community-supported plan to add a welcome center, cultural interpretive features, new programs and other facilities. The award for partnering goes to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and EDAW, Inc.

Honorable Mention: Yakima County

Critical Areas Revision Pilot Study
While also recognizing its value as an application of best available science and solid methodology, the Awards Committee felt that this project should be recognized as an even more outstanding example of partnering. Yakima County is commended for assembling and managing an excellent peer review team, and for conducting faultless public involvement, as they developed this basis for a critical areas ordinance update. The honorable mention award for partnering goes to the Yakima County Planning Department, Land Profile, Inc. and the members of the Critical Areas Atlas Peer Review Group.

The 2002 Awards Program was co-chaired by Lloyd Skinner of APA and Paul Rogerson of PAW. The Awards Committee this year consisted of Amy Tousley, Kurt Danison, Chris Branch, Shirley Aird, Kent Anderson , and Rich Carson. Committee members were selected on the basis of their professional reputations, contributions to the profession, and their diverse and seasoned perspectives.