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The Growth Management Act, Vision 2020, Destination 2030 and related policies have ushered in a wide range of new planning options, challenges and opportunities. Like other jurisdictions throughout the region, Mercer Island must periodically engage in a comprehensive review of its policies and their relationship to state and regional planning mandates. This process provides the opportunity to identify and reaffirm the community’s long held values. It also offers a forum for policies to be updated and assimilated to function as a whole.

A Vision Statement is an essential ingredient in successful comprehensive community policy planning. Essentially, the statement should reaffirm time-tested policies or values that are generally held as positive “community trademarks” and identify others deemed relevant. Moreover, a Vision Statement should be a reflection of community aspirations. Through periodic review and refinement, it is intended to set parameters for future community activities.

The following Vision Statement is essentially the compilation of several long standing policies embodied in several existing planning documents including the Land Use Plan, Town Center Plan, Park and Open Space Plan, and the Arts and Culture Plan. Reexamining these policies implies a reexamination of the City’s overall policy base.

This Vision Statement should satisfy (at least) the following three purposes: 1) City Boards, Commissions and Staff will use the Council’s explicit guidance in determining the priority and degree of evaluation of existing elements in the City’s Growth Management Act Policy & Planning Work Plan; 2) City employees will be guided in the provision of quality municipal services; 3) Most importantly, the Council, its advisory bodies and the community-as-a-whole will proceed with a common understanding of the quality of life values or themes that will shape our community for years to come.

“Islands can seem rather special, but then so can islanders...most people who remove themselves to islands regard themselves as having entered paradise.... Classically, a person goes to an island in much the same spirit as a person heads into exile--seeking simplicity, glorying in a world that is still incomplete and therefore full of possibilities.”

Paul Theroux