Seattle residents should seize the opportunity to tell city planners how to accommodate 120,000 more people in the next 20 years.

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THREE big numbers emerge when Seattle city planners envision the next two decades: 120,000 new residents, 115,000 new jobs and 70,000 new housing units. That means that by 2035, Seattle’s population is expected to increase by15 percent to almost 750,000 people.

When it comes to new development, many residents wait to raise concerns until a project is under way. In other words: too late. Residents should step up now to share concerns and ideas about how Seattle should grow.

The city’s Department of Planning and Development recently kicked off an update to its general plan known as Seattle 2035. The first step involves gathering public comments on the draft of an environmental-impact statement (EIS), which reviews the possible outcomes of various policies. Among them are where to put new housing, where to encourage taller buildings or greater density, where to place open space and parks, and where to improve transportation or pedestrian access.

Weigh in on Seattle’s future

Residents can review plan alternatives and submit comments on the plan’s website until June 18.

A public forum is scheduled at 6 p.m. on May 27 in City Hall.

The planning department wants to hear from residents, especially younger people who will grow old with these policy decisions.

The draft EIS lists four alternative strategies: continuing with policies as-is, concentrating growth in urban villages, guiding development near light rail or near transit. City planners will use public feedback to come up with a preferred strategy for future development.

The last comprehensive plan update in 1995 established the urban-village model of concentrating homes, buildings, public spaces and transit in certain neighborhoods or intersections.

The city has changed since then, adding 95,000 people to reach an estimated 625,000 in 2013, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Twenty years ago, people weren’t talking as much about today’s hot topics, such as affordable housing and transit options, said Patrice Carroll, senior planner and project manager for Seattle 2035.

Growth is coming. Everyone stands to benefit from a city with a well-thought-out, strategic and inclusive vision for the future.