The Seattle Community Council Federation is sounding the alarm. The threat?
Over the holidays, the Department of Planning and Development (DPD) quietly issued a Declaration of Non Significance (DNS) on what it bills to the public and Council as a “Multi-Family Update.”
“Multi-Family” means apartment buildings or condos. “Multi-Family” doesn’t not mean single family housing, which makes up three quarters of the residential zoning in the city.
Adrienne Quinn, the City’s Housing Director, perhaps unwittingly, misrepresented the code changes to City Council when she described them as “some proposed changes to the multi-family code, really more clean-up”
Actually this “cleanup” is a total rewrite of all of the development standards for all the multi-family zones, a complete change in the comprehensive plan.
One person’s “clean up” is another’s “earth-shattering bureaucratic change”, so I’ll let this one slide for the moment.
Most important, it destroys the consensus reached after a long process in 1988 and 1989, when the city rewrote the code to deal with ugly, excessively dense conditions created by the city’s 1980’s attempt at an “experimental code.” The 1989 process took over a year and had an enormous amount of citizen input. Now the planning staff proposes to bring back the very problems that caused the 1989 rewrite—and even worse—to break all the promises made to communities who agreed to take Urban Villages.
Holy fucking shit, Batman! A consensus reached in 1989? What was that, like, two decades ago? (I was in second grade, for fuck’s sake!) We have to have the same fucking rules as 1989… after all, it’s not like anything has changed, right? Gas is still eighty cents a gallon? A hundred and eighty thousand bucks will buy you a house in any neighborhood in the city, right? Of course!
What kills me about these NIMBY types is that they fear ALL change. EVERYTHING new is suspect. Condos are evil, apartments are bad, mass transit will bring “undesirables” to the neighborhood, so on and so forth.
I’ve seen these folks in action. They’re the folks who fought the monorail because they didn’t want “those kind of people” (Blacks? Hispanics? Dan Savage?) taking the train to Ballard. Another group is lobbying hard against replacing the 520 bridge because there might be more “traffic” in their neighborhood (even though the neighborhood in question is far, far away from the bridge). In Magnolia, neighbors protested the building of- can you guess? A methadone clinic? A homeless shelter? Neither. The protest was over- get this- cottage housing. Wow.
What’s more, the SCCF have their meetings in a Homeland Security facility. Their meeting site is the NOAA site near Montlake. If you want to get in, you have to call somebody or be on the pre-approved list. It’s almost like they don’t want young kids like me showing up…
It’s a good thing that people in this city are committed to their neighborhoods. I just wish that the neighborhood folks realized that they live in a city. I’d love to one day be able to buy myself a reasonable flat in one of these neighborhood. But if we jihad against this zoning changes, I’ll be left with Mill Creek, Algona, or worse, Bothell. As someone who’d like to stay in the city, the reactionary “Lesser Seattle” folks are making that harder and harder.