Mercer Island has historically served as a residential community, and the majority of the Island’s land use is single family dwellings on relatively large lots. Mercer Island residents strongly value their community for its quality family neighborhoods and accessible local services. The Island is served by Mercer Island’s Town Center, which allows for diverse commercial and non-commercial land uses, and two smaller commercial areas. These commercial areas focus on the needs of the local population.
There are three general types of residential areas in Mercer Island: Single family residential neighborhoods, which is the Island’s predominate land use; Town Center multifamily residential and mixed use development; and multifamily areas surrounding the Town Center.
The Housing Element is coordinated with the Land Use element and land use map, recognizing the City’s original growth target of 2,000 new housing units (2006- 2031) set by the Growth Management Planning Council. Because the Growth Management Act requires jurisdictions to plan for 20 years of growth, the planning horizon and the growth target was extended to 2035 with the units to accommodate increasing to 2,320.
Planning to accommodate the City’s growth target of 2,320 units by 2035 through growth in the community’s housing stock is consistent with regional land use and transportation plans.
Between 2006 and 2012, 698 new housing units were constructed, counting against the growth target of 2,320 and resulting in 1,622 units that the City must plan to accommodate through 2035.
The 2014 Buildable Lands Report identifies capacity for 2,004 new housing units on Mercer Island, which is sufficient to meet the City’s household growth target. Current zoning will accommodate 614 single family units (30.6% of total capacity), 143 multifamily units (7.1% of total capacity), and 1,247 units (62.3% of total capacity) in mixed-use and multifamily developments in the Town Center.