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What have we learned over the past 4 months?

Although phase two of public engagement is in full-swing with visual preference surveys for parks and a three-day Planning Summit on the horizon, we've been working hard to understand all the feedback gathered during phase one. A complete analysis of public comment, survey responses, engagement gaps, and more is now available in the Phase I Public Engagement Summary Report.

The summary report dives deep into community feedback as it relates to each comprehensive plan element. Here are a few key themes we picked up on in our conversations with residents and visitors:

  • More trails, diversified activities, and a community recreation facility are top desires for parks and recreation. For many, a distinguished parks system could strengthen Sultan's community identity in the future.

  • Congestion and safety are major concerns about Sultan's transportation system. Alternative east-west routes, safety improvements for walking and biking, and expanded transit service are necessary for improvement.

  • Sufficient infrastructure, alternative forms of homeownership, and more diverse housing types are desired attributes of new growth.

  • Restaurants, cafés, daycare, retail offerings, and destinations for kids are among the economic development opportunities sought by residents.

  • Residents see habitat protection and natural hazard mitigation as critical components to Sultan's natural environment.

The findings from the community survey are also compelling and validate much of what we've heard on the ground. A few figures below highlight the future desires of Sultan residents and visitors when it comes to new destinations and modes of mobility.

What new destinations would you like to see in Sultan?
Current mobility (light) vs desired mobility options (dark)

The report also identifies existing engagement gaps (below) and concludes with next steps for how the project team will improve outreach during phase two.

  1. Disproportionate engagement with Sultan’s Hispanic/Latino community

  2. Underrepresentation of youth

  3. Little engagement with residents living in West Sultan and south of US-2

  4. Other missing key stakholder groups from the Public Engagement Plan: Skykomish and Tulalip Tribe members; other Black, Indigenous, and Communities of Color; commercial property owners along US-2; and outdoor enthusiasts.

The following strategy is designed to rectify existing engagement gaps and will ensure events and activities are approachable as possible for the entire Sultan community.

  • Lead every comprehensive planning interaction with education and clear expectations.

  • Listen to all and any feedback, but focus discussions on relevant topics.

  • Continue compensation, strategic activity siting, and other effective approaches from Phase I.

  • Conduct targeted outreach at schools, HOA meetings, community hubs, churches, and unrepresented neighborhoods to amplify the voices of kids, the Hispanic community and other BIPOC residents, tribal members, and other missing stakeholder groups.

  • Diversify communication mediums.

  • Catalogue contact information, reconnect, and encourage a civic culture among residents.

Stay tuned for more details about the Planning Summit and other upcoming engagement opportunities!

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