About The Planning Commission

The Planning Commission advises the Mayor, City Council and City departments on broad planning goals, policies and plans for the physical development of the City. Each Commissioner serves a three year term and can only serve two consecutive terms. 

There are 16 seats on the Commission:

  • 7 members appointed by the Mayor
  • 7 members appointed by the City Council
  • 1 member appointed by the Commission
  • 1 Get Engaged Program member, click here to learn more

Commissioners

  Portrait of Xio AlvarezXio Alvarez
  Get Engaged Member
  Housing & Neighborhoods Committee


  Joined Commission: 2023




Xio Alvarez is a resident of White Center/Highland Park (District 1) and a designer at LMN Architects in downtown Seattle, where she works on projects that bridge between planning and architecture. In addition to project work, she co-leads the firm’s resilience research group. She is interested in leveraging quantitative data about climate, geography, and the built environment with qualitative experiences and stories of neighborhoods and places to tell more complicated and nuanced stories about what it means to adapt to change. An innovative and collaborative designer, she is interested in finding resilient and sustainable ways for people to live together. She approaches her projects with an emphasis on engagement and excels at creating accessible spaces for technical and non-technical stakeholders to talk about complex problems. She is particularly passionate about youth involvement in city design processes.

Previously, Xio worked on heat and flood resilience projects with social justice communities in the Boston area, looking at ways that the design process for plans and projects can build coalitions between communities of color, environmental advocates, and government stakeholders. She has a bachelor’s degree in Urban Studies as well as a Master of Architecture and a Master in City Planning. Her joint Masters thesis research studied how people experiencing homelessness adapt the public spaces of the city, and what the design community could learn from these adaptations in designing a more resilient public realm for all residents.

Outside of the office, Xio can be found biking and busing around the city, hanging out along the Duwamish trying to spot new birds, and taking on ambitious cooking projects.  



Portrait of McCaela Daffern  McCaela Daffern

  Commission Co-Chair 

  Joined Commission: 2021              




McCaela is an urban planner whose career has spanned the public, private, and nonprofit sectors with an ever-increasing focus on building thriving and equitable communities through partnership and collaboration. She joined the Commission to work alongside fellow Commissioners to ensure that Seattle remains a vibrant, resilient, and welcoming place for all for years to come.

McCaela has held positions with organizations that finance, build, or support affordable housing for over a decade. She works for King County's Department of Community and HumanServices as lead staff for the King County Affordable Housing Committee, an effort to advance regional solutions to address the housing affordability crisis. She previously worked for Capitol Hill Housing where she staffed the Capitol Hill EcoDistrict, a community-driven effort to promote equity,environmental resilience, and cultural space in the neighborhood. McCaela co-chairs the Seattle Central College Citizens Advisory Committee and mentors emerging planning professionals through the University of Washington's Master of Urban Planning Professionals Council. She holds a Bachelor of Environmental Policy and Planning from Western Washington University and a Master of City and Regional Planning from Rutgers University.

Raised in Tacoma, McCaela is a long-time resident of Capitol Hill. When she's not working, she can be found cooking, enjoying the great outdoors, and exploring the city on foot.    

Andrew Danneberg smiling at the camera in front of a grey background

  Andrew Dannenberg
  Land Use & Transportation Committee

  Joined Commission:
 2023          






Andrew Dannenberg is a physician who holds faculty appointments in urban planning and in public health at the University of Washington where he teaches courses on Public Health and Built Environment and on Health Impact Assessment that regularly attract urban planning students and public health students into the same classroom.  He co-edited a textbook (Making Healthy Places: Designing and Building for Well-being, Equity, and Sustainability, 2022) and has published numerous papers related to public health, community design, equity, housing, transportation, and land use.  He believes policies and programs developed in Seattle to increase affordable housing and transportation and improve social equity could influence planning decisions made throughout the country.  

Prior to moving to Seattle in 2011, Andy served as a medical epidemiologist for 15 years at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta where he developed and led the agency’s Healthy Community Design Initiative. He served on the Seattle Bicycle Advisory Board from 2018 to 2022.  He added an accessory dwelling unit to his house in 2017 in part to add a reasonably priced unit to the area’s housing stock.  He lives in northeast Seattle and uses walking, bicycling, and transit as his primary means of transportation.

Portrait of David Goldberg

  David Goldberg
 
Commission Co-Chair

  Joined Commission: 2017
 




David joined the planning commission to be part of the discussion about how our rapidly growing city can balance the difficult choices in front of us as we try to build on what we love about Seattle while giving people of all incomes a chance to live and thrive here.

From the late 1990s on, David played a key role in developing the national movements for smart growth and transportation reform. He helped launch both Smart Growth America - as communications lead and then vice president for external affairs and strategy - and Transportation for America, where he led communications strategy. David, who coined the term "complete streets", has a passion for walkable neighborhoods and safe streets that work everyone who uses them, whether on foot, bike, bus or in cars. He has worked extensively on issues related to innovation in transportation, urban design and planning since the early 1990's, when he was a reporter and editorial writer focused on those topics.

In 2002-03 he was honored as a Loeb Fellow at Harvard University's Graduate School of Design. He has served on the Seattle Pedestrian Advisory board, advisory board of WalkScore.com and the Planning Commission of the City of Decatur, GA.

Portrait of Matt Hutchins  Matt Hutchins
 
Housing & Neighborhoods Committee Co-Chair

  Joined Commission: 2021

           



As a founding Principal of CAST architecture, Matt Hutchins has spent more than twenty years working to increase the vitality of the city and protect the environment. Through his award winning design and policy work, Matt is an advocate for better abundant housing options, vibrant urban places, open space, and sustainable building. In his practice, he is centered on infill housing such as small apartment buildings and backyard cottages. He is involved in co-housing, affordable and rural workforce housing for community land trusts and urban agriculture. As an advocate, he has given numerous seminars about zoning and climate change and works with policy makers to illustrate the impacts and benefits of proposed land use code.  He has worked with BuiltGreen, Living Building Challenge, LEED and Passivhaus sustainable building standards and is a proponent of mass timber building systems. 
He serves on AIA Seattle's Housing Task Force and the Public Policy Board. He served on the board of Groundswell NW to create new urban parks, on the Southwest Design Review Board from 2018-2021. In 2017, he co-founded the community group, MOAR (More Options for Accessory Residences) to support zoning reform for accessory dwellings in Seattle.  Matt is a proud West Seattleite, and loves to explore the big, wide world with his wife and daughter.



Portrait of Rose Lew Tsai-Le Whitson  Rose Lew Tsai-Le Whitson 
  Land Use & Transportation Committee Co-Chair

  Joined Commission: 2021

         



A relatively new Seattle resident of about 7 years, Rose is excited to give back to our community and to collaborate on our collective vision for an equitable, inclusive, and eco-conscious Seattle. Rose nurtures a wellspring of passion for doing right by both people and the environment, shaped by their heritage as the mixed Chinese-Caucasian child of an immigrant; lived experience as a "third culture kid" and environmentalist activist blossoming into an equity-focused and intersectional environmentalist; and learned knowledge of Seattle and the contemporary and historical land use issues affecting our Indigenous, Black, and other minority communities. They also bring professional knowledge of land use policy as a biologist at Jacobs Engineering, with 9 years of environmental investigation and permitting experience for projects ranging from small residential improvements to public transit expansions, and most recently, large bridge replacement and fish passage barrier correction projects. Always learning, always growing, and not afraid to admit when they are wrong, Rose's approach is to listen first, digest by contemplating and asking clarifying questions, and then collaborate on solutions.  A personal note: District 5 residents, please do not hesitate to reach out! I will do my best to bring the North Seattle perspective to our reviews and to support inclusive policies for Seattle as a whole.



Portrait of Rick Mohler

  Rick Mohler
  Land Use and Transportation Committee

  Joined Commission: 2018
  



Rick Mohler is Professor and Chair of the Department of Architecture at the University of Washington's College of Built Environments. He has over thirty years of experience in professional architectural practice at multiple scales. He leverages his teaching, research, practice, and advocacy to address challenges at the nexus of land use, transportation, and housing affordability while strengthening connections between the profession, academy, government, and community. 

He is a past co-chair of the AIA Seattle Public Policy Board, an Affiliate Fellow of the UW Runstad Center for Real Estate Studies, an Urban@UW Fellow and a founding member of Sound Communities, a volunteer group of civic leaders focused on leveraging the region's $60B transit investment to build complete neighborhoods with an abundance of market rate and affordable housing at light rail and bus rapid transit hubs.

Rick lives in the northern part of Wallingford known as Tangletown in a house and ADU of his own design with his wife, son and tenants.  He has lived largely car-free since 2007 when his 1991 Honda Civic wagon was stolen in front of his house and it took him four days to notice it was missing.



Portrait of Radhika Nair  Radhika Nair
  Housing & Neighborhoods Committee Co-Chair

  Joined Commission: 2021
  




Radhika Nair is an urban planner with more than 15 years of experience in the Puget Sound region. She has a multidisciplinary background in land use planning, policy research and analysis, and community engagement. As founder and principal planner at Seva Workshop, Radhika leads a variety of people-centered planning and policy projects including community and subarea plans, housing studies, economic development plans, and park system plans; she also implements culturally relevant engagement and collaborative community partnerships with diverse communities. Radhika's focus, and what she enjoys most about her job, has been her work to integrate equity and social justice into decision- and policymaking to effect change that benefits communities of color, impoverished communities, immigrant or minority communities, and other groups. Prior to founding Seva, Radhika worked for the long-range planning departments of Seattle and Bellevue. Radhika holds a Master of Urban Planning from Harvard University and a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Kerala. A 2017 graduate of Leadership Tomorrow, Radhika has lived in Seattle since 2007. She currently lives in the Wedgwood neighborhood with her family. 

Portrait of Dhyana Quintanar Solares  Dhyana Quintanar Solares
  Land Use & Transportation Committee

  Joined Commission: 2021

       




Dhyana Quintanar Solares is WSP's Strategic Solutions Leader and Senior Project Manager. She brings 16 years of experience to the Seattle Planning Commission in infrastructure, public space, land use and environmental planning and project management in the public, non-profit and private sectors. Dhyana relocated to Seattle in 2019 to join WSP, where she brings social impact ideas to deliver complex urban projects that can maximize public benefit. She is passionate about social justice and believes systemic challenges can only be met through collective efforts and cross-collaboration of leaders working to elevate and co-power communities.

Prior to joining WSP she led the Authority of Public Space of Mexico City, where she was responsible for the transformation of 125 acres into more livable, equitable, safe and iconic places. Other previous roles in Mexico City included leading the City's Transportation Planning and Roads office and serving as Mexico City's first bicycle coordinator where she implemented ECOBICI, the first automated public bikeshare system in the Americas. She holds a Master of Environmental Management degree with a focus in transportation and urban development from the Yale School of the Environment.



Portrait of Julio Sánchez  Julio Sánchez
  Housing & Neighborhoods Committee

  Joined Commission: 2016
  



Since moving to Seattle 20 years ago, Julio has developed a strong and varied volunteer life focused on community centered organizations and environmental justice issues. His professional life has included media, communications, fundraising, training and facilitation work.

Julio worked with Puget Sound Clean Air Agency until 2020. At present he is pursuing a special certificate in Energy and Capitalism in Contemporary Society from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. After more than 15 years living in the Central District, Julio now lives in a communal house in Capitol Hill. The property is part of the Evergreen Land Trust, the oldest land trust in Washington State.

Portrait of Monika Sharma smiling at the camera  Monika Sharma
  Land Use & Transportation Committee

  Joined Commission: 2023



Since moving to Seattle early pandemic, Monika has worked with a number of community embedded service providers. Monika works for the King County Play Equity Coalition, KCPEC is dedicated to challenging and changing systems, shifting power to community organizations, and centering physical activity as a key part of health and youth development. Monika facilitates cross-sector action groups aimed at improving access to facilities, collaborative racial equity learning, and improving access to outdoor recreation. Prior to her time with KCPEC, Monika worked in hands-on education with youth through Bike Works Seattle, teaching safe city riding, mechanics training, and socio-emotional learning. Monika has a background in affordable housing, having worked for Rebuilding Together Seattle to support aging in place for aging homeowners and other repairs for homeowners of color. Monika has a Master’s degree in planning with a focus on racial injustice in crisis response, framed by patterns of institutional racialized violence. She also spent years working for Pioneer Valley Habitat for Humanity throughout her undergraduate and graduate careers while studying affordable housing and community development. Monika’s years in construction and hands-on education have inspired her to work towards broader impact through systems change. Monika is passionate about elevating youth voice and centering equity in all of her work. She continues to build bikes, bikepack, and mentor youth in her free time. 


 
Portrait of Lauren Squires  Lauren Squires
  Housing & Neighborhoods Committee

  Joined Commission: 2016
  


Prior to her current term, Lauren served the Commission as a Get Engaged member from 2014 - 2015. Lauren is a multimodal transportation planner at Nelson\Nygaard, with an emphasis on active transportation, health, and social equity. She works alongside engineers and designers bringing concepts to reality. Lauren works on projects ranging from citywide policy to complete streetscape concepts to community planning projects and facilitation. A Rainier Valley resident and safe streets advocate, Lauren actively supports safe and healthy transportation in communities experiencing historic disinvestment.



Portrait of Jamie Stroble

  Jamie Stroble
  Housing and Neighborhoods Committee

  Joined Commission: 2016 
  



A passionate community development professional, Jamie joined the Planning Commission to support equity and resilience in Seattle, ensuring livability and increasing community accessibility to city planning and policymaking, particularly for immigrants, refugees, communities of color and low-income communities. She has been active in environmental justice and equitable development, and brings a strong knowledge of environmental health, air quality, sustainability issues and social justice, and background in culturally-relevant community outreach and engagement, particularly with youth and limited English speaking populations.

Jamie Stroble works for King County's Climate Action Team as the lead on climate community engagement and collaborative partnership efforts, and the integration of equity and social justice into regional climate resiliency decision and policy-making. Previously, Jamie worked for a non-profit in the Chinatown/International District of Seattle, empowering Asian Pacific Islander (API) youth and elders around environmental justice and community development. She is actively involved in community work, serving on the boards of the non-profits Asian Pacific Islander Community Leadership Foundation (ACLF) and APICAT for Healthy Communities, on the Climate Justice Committee of Got Green, was a former Community Partner Steering Committee member of the City of Seattle's Environment & Equity Initiative. Originally from Hawai'i, Jamie is a University of Washington graduate and has been a Seattle resident for over fourteen years. She currently lives in the 130th station area.


Portrait of Kelabe Tewolde  Kelabe Tewolde
  Land Use and Transportation Committee Co-Chair

  Joined Commission: 2022  
  



Prior to his current term, Kelabe Tewolde served the Commission as a Get Engaged member from 2020 - 2021. Kelabe was born and raised in Seattle. He attended Colgate University in upstate New York where he earned a B.A. in Political Science. Currently he is the Leadership Development Coordinator at Rainier Scholars, where he works with 6th-12th grade students. The mission of Rainier Scholars is to cultivate the academic potential and leadership skills of hardworking, underrepresented students of color. By creating access to transformative educational and career opportunities and providing comprehensive support to scholars and families, they increase college graduation rates and empower new generations of leaders. His job is to focus on facilitating Leadership Development workshops to scholars and families during their middle school and high school years. Ensuring they are prepared to be ethical leaders and community members on their path towards college graduation and beyond.

Kelabe lives in Columbia City. In his free time, he enjoys film photography, plays soccer regularly, and loves a good road trip. On weekends he enjoys eating take-out from his favorite local restaurants when he isn’t cooking for friends and family.

Portrait of Nicholas Whipple
  Nicholas Whipple
  Housing & Neighborhoods Committee

  Joined Commission: 2023







Nick Whipple has worked as a public sector urban planner in the Puget Sound region for over a decade, gaining invaluable experience navigating complex urban issues. As a planner in Bellevue, his work includes engaging with a diverse community of stakeholders, advising elected and appointed officials on land use and housing policy, and overseeing a team of planners responsible for developing land use and zoning regulations to advance the implementation of the City’s Comprehensive Plan, Affordable Housing Strategy, and other planning initiatives. During the yearly state legislative session, he has served as a liaison for his department, which involved collaborating on various housing, land use, and transportation bills.

Looking to the planning commission, Nick is excited to utilize his expertise and help shape a future for Seattle that reflects the needs and aspirations of our diverse and growing population. He believes in broadening pathways to our region’s prosperity, centering underrepresented communities in planning, and striving towards a city where all residents can experience a diverse and healthy neighborhood and actively participate in charting their future.

Nick is a proud resident of North Delridge, where he lives with his wife and daughter. He enjoys cycling to Bellevue for work and exploring Seattle’s neighborhoods with his toddler by bus, light rail, streetcar, and water taxi.  




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Seattle Planning Commission

Vanessa Murdock, Executive Director
Address: 600 4th Ave, 5th floor, Seattle, WA, 98124-4019
Mailing Address: PO Box 94788, Seattle, WA, 98124-7088
Phone: (206) 684-8694
Fax: (206) 233-0085
robin.magonegil@seattle.gov

The Seattle Planning Commission advises the Mayor, City Council and City departments on broad planning goals, policies and plans for the physical development of the City.