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Neighborhood Planning Program


Neighborhood Planning Program

In response to a desire for more equitable delivery of services and to provide a grassroots response to neighborhoods' concerns, the Tacoma City Council provided funding for a Pilot Neighborhood Planning Program (NPP) in 2022. Through the 2023-2024 Biennium Budget Adoption, City Council made the Neighborhood Planning Program permanent! The goal of the NPP is to support neighborhood identity and vitality. For the first year, City Council identified McKinley Hill and Proctor as the pilot neighborhoods representing different locations on the spectrum of neighborhood development between growth creation and growth management. 


Click on the below images to access the project pages.

McKinley Ave  Proctor
                    McKinley Hill                                                    Proctor

City Council allocated resources to support the implementation of short-term goals in the selected neighborhoods such as: 

  • Art installations
  • Physical improvements 
  • Cleanup efforts 
  • Community identity/history  
  • Recognition/protection of cultural/historic resources 
  • Sustainability/Health 
  • Some elements of streetscape and public amenities 
  • Determining the use of specific sites or properties 
Why Neighborhood Planning?

This program provides enhanced planning and development support to help communities create strong, vibrant, and diverse neighborhoods. Led by residents from the neighborhood and informed by community engagement processes, the Neighborhood Planning Program will consider immediate ways to make your surroundings more livable. The goal of a neighborhood planning process is not just creating and implementing a plan, the process itself is also a tool to help improve


 communities through building community capacity, constituent energy, relationships/partnerships, and co-creation opportunities for residents to shape their own neighborhoods. 


Begin with what’s in front of you, what’s really there. If there is a there there, that’s where it is.--Ron Silliman. 


How It Works 

Step 1: Internal & External Coordination

Neighborhood planning staff connect and coordinate with external partners (organizations and agencies) and internal Tacoma staff to identify existing programs and available resources to implement projects.


Step 2: Launch Engagement

Neighborhood Planning staff complete extensive community engagement and outreach to collect initial input on key neighborhood issues, form the steering group, and identify interested residents, business and property owners, and other neighborhood stakeholders.


Step 3: Project Idea Generation

Steering group and community events, online survey, and targeted outreach generate broad categories of potential projects and actions. 


Step 4: Project Specific Prioritization

Tacoma staff lead topic-specific community events (online and in person) to prioritize actions based on the initial projects identified by the community. The steering group works to combine community ideas and identify the most important projects and began to form project committees to implement specific actions.


Step 5: Plan Vetting & Adoption

Tacoma staff bring draft plan recommendations back to the community and internal partners to ensure the plan reflected what we heard and included projects that could feasibly be implemented


Staff evaluate existing conditions including: 

  • Historic Resources 
  • Property Inventory 
  • Equity Index 
  • Mapping
  • Infrastructure/Transportation 
  • Land Use/Zoning (in a limited context)
  • Implementation of existing policy frameworks from PSRC: Vision 2050; Tacoma 2025; and the One Tacoma Plan.

Step 6: Implementation

Staff and City Council identify funding and strategies for “quick win” projects and work with community-led project committees to begin implementation. 




For more information about the City’s Long-Term Zoning, Land-Use and Planning strategy, please visit Planning and Development Services.


Become a Neighborhood Planning Partner 

Neighborhood Planning starts with the neighbors. You are the expert on what works, what doesn’t work, what’s missing, and how it could work better in your neighborhood. Your involvement with your neighborhood plan is our main goal. The Stakeholder Focus GroupCommittee--composed of residents (homeowners and renters), students, property owners, business operators and employees, and those who live, work, or spend significant time in the neighborhood--will determine the plan’s priorities and recommendations. You can be involved in the process by:

  • Joining the Stakeholder Committee in your neighborhood
  • Volunteering to assist with surveys, leading outreach, hosting an event, or helping build connections with community members who prefer Spanish, Russian, Khmer, Vietnamese, Korean, Tagalog, ASL or other languages. 
  • Responding to surveys 
  • Helping to create art or greenspaces

Stipends will be provided for contributions. 


Frequently Asked Questions


Who can participate in the Neighborhood Planning Program?

Anyone who lives, works, or spends time in the neighborhood, including: 

  • Business Districts 
  • Neighborhood Councils 
  • Schools/Libraries/Institutions
  • Nonprofits
  • The Puyallup Tribe 
  • Religious/Cultural Institutions  
  • Community Groups/Gardens 
  • Retired Groups 
  • Those experiencing homelessness 

How long will the neighborhood planning process take?

In coordination with other city and local partner organizations, we hope to achieve implementation within 12-18 months. 

How does Neighborhood Planning align with other City efforts and plans?

While larger policy and zoning issues will be determined by longer comprehensive and subarea plans, the goal of the NPP is to implement the neighborhood’s short term goals and vision, while building capacity for larger efforts. The NPP is the realization of One Tacoma and Tacoma 2025. 

How does the City define what a Neighborhood is?

A neighborhood is defined as the mixed-use center/business district and the surrounding residential area.

How does a neighborhood get selected for the planning process?

For 2022, the pilot neighborhoods were identified by City Council. If the program becomes permanent, we use the results of the pilot plans to create an equitable criteria and process for selecting future neighborhoods.


Email your Neighborhood Planner

Lauren Hoogkamer, MSUP/MSHP 
Principal Planner
(253) 591-5254 


Anneka Olson, MA

Senior Planner


(253) 331-3742


Learn More
Join our general distribution list


Join the McKinley Hill NPP distribution list


Join the Proctor NPP distribution list


Read our flyer (TBD)

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