Jan 27, 2008

More DPD stuff: Multifamily Zoning Changes

The Seattle Community Council Federation (SCCF) is a long-established umbrella organization for neighborhood groups in Seattle. (The City Neighborhood Council [CNC] was established by the City, allegedly to dilute the SCCF's influence). Both groups have, in my experience, great knowledge and experience in City affairs, and are well worth paying attention to, even if their meetings seem at time interminable and sometimes abrasive!

The SCCF has just posted a call to arms about the City's efforts to stealthily rewrite the building code for multifamily housing. I urge you to read the SCCF concerns and act individually (or as part of the the Capitol Hill Community Council, or the CNC Neighborhood Planning Committee).

City Council Planning & Land Use Committee:

Here's the DPD webpage on the multifamily zoning update process: lots there to keep you busy.

Here's the Environmental Determination for the updates.

The Squire Park neighborhood to our south has summarized these concerns about the zoning updates, and will be taking about it on Feb. 5th. Here's their summary:
The City of Seattle, Department of Planning and Development (DPD) has proposed changes in the Land Use Coder for all areas in the city zoned for multifamily developments. This includes much of the Central Area.

Some residents of the Central Area have met to work on a response to the DPD proposal. We believe that the Land Use Code can do more to preserve and promote the vitality of our neighborhood in several key ways.

If you are interested in the future development of your neighborhood and have ideas for how it could be better, please help present a case to the City Council which will soon be considering the proposed changes. We'll be meeting on February 5 at 5:30 P.M. (location to be determined --- contact Bill Zosel or Ann Schuessler). Needed are your ideas and help to educate City Council members about our concerns.

To read about the DPD proposal see:
http://www.seattle.gov/DPD/Planning/Multifamily_Code_Update/EnvironmentalDeterminiationSEPA/default.asp

For a summary of the SPCC position on key points for our neighborhood see www.squirepark.org (See the item under "Help Advocate for Improved Development Rules".) This is not an exhaustive list of all the changes that might be considered. We've tried to focus on a few issues that are of broad concern and to suggest possible strategies for improvement.

Bill Zosel wmzosel@aol.com
Ann Schuessler aschuessler@rafn.com
Again, something that will affect us profoundly, and probably best addressed by a neighborhood group (the Capitol Hill Community Council, or the CNC Neighborhood Planning Committee would be places to start).

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

NIMBYs against density and change. No surprise there. But within city limits? When there hundreds of thousands on the way (our kids + people moving here for jobs / school) where is that growth supposed to go? The Cascade foothills? NIMBYs lost this battle with passage of the Growth Management Act in 1990. If you don't like density or more people, you may not want to be located in the largest city in the Pacific Northwest.

Anonymous said...

I felt the same at first - that this is just a bunch of NIMBY knee jerk stuff. But I kept on reading.
We all agreed and understood that higher density neighborhoods was the goal years ago and a plan was put into place. We were enthused because we all made this concious choice, together. We like more people, we like transit, we made our choices to be here in this largest city with our eyes wide open. But the current mayoral regieme has another agenda and is changing things, and hoping that we don't notice. We have room for growth, sustainable growth. We hope that the developers, the investors, the deal makers also share with we, the people.

Anonymous said...

The multi-family code re-write has been in process for three long years, and there have been ample opportunities for public input at every stage of the game. There's no "stealth" here. The current multi-family code is badly broken and needs to be fixed. Everybody who deals with it on any level knows this: DPD, property owners, architects, etc. The proposed changes are mostly for the better, and some of them specifically address major problems with the existing code. Could it have been done better? Sure. But not within a reasonable time frame. And while the code remains unfixed, we keep getting crap buildings in multi-family zones.

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