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Mayor Harrell Signs Legislation to Strengthen Protections for Maritime and Industrial Lands, Creating New Housing and Job Opportunities 

Seattle – Today, Mayor Harrell joined City, Port, labor, housing partners and maritime and industrial business representatives to sign the Maritime and Industrial Strategy into law following its unanimous passage by the City Council last week. The package of legislation represents the first major update to the industrial land use policy in decades. 

“Our maritime and industrial lands are a unique, vital, and historic asset that strengthen Seattle’s economy and provide pathways to thousands of living-wage union jobs in our city,” said Mayor Bruce Harrell. “To protect and grow this critical economic cornerstone of our city, it is clear we need a One Seattle approach to strengthen land protections and take advantage of new opportunities for housing and jobs in the evolving industrial, manufacturing, and maritime sectors. The policy leads with our values of inclusivity, equity, and innovation and sets the groundwork for the Seattle we want to see: a thriving city with diverse employment opportunities and vibrant, affordable places to live, work, and play.” 

WATCH: Mayor signs legislation strengthening maritime and industrial protections

The legislation will update the City’s land use code to strengthen protections for existing industries, allow for the flexibility for future growth near planned Sound Transit light rail stations, and create healthier transitions from industrial to non-industrial areas. The updates are estimated to create 35,000 new jobs and 3,000 new homes over the next 20 years. 

The industrial lands policy and zoning package was proposed by Mayor Harrell in April following extensive engagement by the Office of Planning and Community Development (OPCD) with over 60 stakeholders from traditional and emerging industrial and maritime businesses, labor, housing developers, workforce development professionals, and community representatives from impacted neighborhoods.  

The legislation creates three new industrial zones: 

Maritime, Manufacturing, and Logistics: This zone will enhance protections for both core and legacy industrial or maritime areas and help prevent big box retailers or mini-storage facilities from being built in these zones. This is particularly important for areas on or near the shoreline, as well as for locations near port and rail infrastructure.   

Industry and Innovation: This zone would encourage new development in multi-story buildings that accommodate industrial businesses mixed with other dense employment uses such as research, design, offices, and technology through a system of density bonuses. Modern industrial development would support high-density employment near Sound Transit light rail stations and commercial areas.  

Urban Industrial: This zone would aim to increase employment and entrepreneurship opportunities with a vibrant mix of affordable, small-scale places for light industry, makers, and creative arts, as well as industry-supporting ancillary retail or housing spaces to create better, integrated, and healthier transitions along the edges between industrial areas and neighboring urban villages, residential, and mixed-use areas in Georgetown, South Park, and Ballard.  

Efforts continue to implement additional strategies to support Seattle’s industrial maritime economy. Ongoing work includes:   

  • Collaboration with stakeholders to identify freight transportation improvements.   
  • Establishing a new citywide industrial and maritime business advocacy and stewardship organization.   
  • Adopting new subarea plans for the Ballard-Interbay-Northend and Greater Duwamish Maritime Industrial Centers.    
Mayor Harrell, Councilmember Strauss, and Commissioner Hasegawa.


Councilmember Dan Strauss, District 6 

“The Maritime and Industrial Strategy has been deliberated for many years, creating consensus within a group of stakeholders who often hold opposite opinions. Mayor Harrell and his team crafted a balanced proposal that protects both our maritime and industrial lands while supporting the flexibility needed to keep up with emerging industrial needs. Our maritime and industrial businesses buoy our economy in downturns and remain a vital part of our city’s fabric. When looking at Fisherman’s Terminal, every fishing vessel you see is a small business directly employing hundreds of people., and indirectly thousands in our community. I am thankful for the additional protections this bill provides to the lands that support these workers and many other family-wage industries.” 

Port of Seattle Commission Vice President Toshiko Hasegawa 

“We have a green light for economic development and jobs. We appreciate Mayor Bruce Harrell’s careful work brokering a compromise with stakeholders from around the state and Councilmember Dan Strauss leadership at the Seattle City Council.  The compromise legislation advances our economy by protecting the city’s highly productive industrial zones, but also benefits community by preventing any new conflicts between our most active industrial zones and residential areas.  This is a win for economic diversity, resiliency, and Seattle’s future.”  

Rico Quirindongo, Director, Office of Planning and Community Development 

“I am grateful for the last two years of collaboration with Labor, the Port of Seattle, and the Advisory Committee representing over 60 stakeholder organizations in this process. This work allows us to provide greater protections for our maritime and industrial lands that represent critical infrastructure for and vitality of our local and regional economy. It allows us to pave the way for expansion of existing maritime and industrial businesses and jobs. With new Sound Transit light rail stations planned in SODO, Ballard, and Interbay, this legislation will support the continued growth of maritime and industrial commerce in concert with the maturation of the City. It is a huge accomplishment to ensure the continued thriving of our diverse communities across the City.” 

Rhae Adams, Chief Growth & Sustainability Officer, First Mode 

“Under Mayor Harrell’s leadership, Seattle is positioning itself as an innovation center for clean energy technologies and the green economy, with First Mode committed to being a force in this transformative journey. The protected industrial spaces from the new zoning laws will play a crucial role in our city’s ability to manufacture tools for reducing global carbon emissions, fostering innovation and attracting companies like First Mode. By embracing clean technology manufacturing and promoting the green economy, we create living wage jobs and strengthen Seattle’s economic resiliency, with the vision of becoming an exporter of clean technology.”