A group of neighborhood activists organizing against taller building appear to have landed a major victory despite a year of rising demand for housing on Capitol Hill — and rising rents.
Following a petition and flyer campaign, Council memberSally Clark has called for the City of Seattle to consider lowering building heights in areas zoned for lowrise townuses and apartments.
The code correction would specifically target Lowrise 3 multi-family zones which includes most of the lowrise areas in Capitol Hill. “There is a sense that these new generation buildings have more height than necessary,” said city planner Geoff Wentlandt.
The Department of Planning and Development will hold a public meeting January 14th at 6:30 PM at Lowell Elementary to get public feedback on lowering the height limits. You can also provide feedback via email.
According to planners, lowering the height limits would mean fewer surprises for neighbors of new developments and would ensure those developments fit with the character of lowrise neighborhoods.
2013 was marked by a continued rise in housing costs on Capitol Hill as rents continued to soar and solutions like rent control became a serious part of political debate in the city. A recent report touted by the Seattle Times predicts that the city’s soaring rents may “stabilize” in the coming year — but even that report indicates a significant improvement in affordability in the area is unlikely.
In the meantime, CHS has noted a “mini-explosion” of townhouse development activity in the neighborhood.
The groundwork for the lowrise conflict was laid in 2010 when Clark spearheaded an update to the multifamily zoning code, including allowances for higher buildings. Now that the first generation of buildings under the new code has been constructed, many neighbors have complained the buildings aren’t keeping in the spirit of lowrise development. Where lowrise development is generally thought of as three to four-story townhouses and apartments, some developers have used incentives to cram five stories into tightly packed apartment andmicrohousing buildings.
A five-story microhousing building at 17th and Olive St., along with a handful of others, have sparked an outpouring of complaints that developers were pushing the height limits in onerous ways. In the meantime, Seattle’s Hearing Examiner will consider an appeal this week of a decision to approve rules to further regulate microhousing developments brought by some of the slow growth groups and Capitol Hill land use activist Dennis Saxman.
For the process to reconsider lowrise zoning, in an October letter (PDF), Council member Clark requested the DPD reconsider the height limits after meeting with some of the activists:
The concern they raised that I find most compelling has to do with ways some developers are combining incentives and the new approach to measuring height. Bottom line – I never envisioned or intended that developers would be able to achieve five stories in LR3 zones. I think five stories is too big a change in height and scale for the LR3 zone.
You can learn more on the city’s Lowrise Multifamily Code Corrections page.
Lowrise Multifamily Code Correction Community Meeting
When Tuesday, January 14, 2014, 6:30 – 8pm
Location Lowell Elementary School
1058 E. Mercer St.
Website Lowrise Multifamily Code Corrections
Event Contact Geoff Wentlandt
Event Contact Email Geoffrey.Wentlandt@seattle.gov
Event Contact Phone (206) 684-3586
We are studying recent buildings constructed in lowrise multifamily zoned areas, particularly the lowrise 3 areas. We will be considering code changes to help ensure the new buildings fit into the neighborhoods. To help guide our clean-up of the Lowrise 3 multi-family zones, we’re reaching out to interested groups. In particular we want to hear from neighborhood residents who live in or near lowrise multi-family zoned areas. We also want to hear directly from builders and designers of housing.
From Capitol Hill EcoDistrict
We are looking for volunteers to count bicycle and pedestrian traffic at key intersections on Capitol Hill on October 1, 2, and 3 in two shifts 7-9am and 4-6pm. This is part of the State Bicycle and Pedestrian Documentation Project.
We are working with Cascade Bicycle Club to coordinate volunteers for Capitol Hill. If you are interested contact abrennan[at]capitolhillhousing.org with you availability. By expanding the counts on Capitol Hill, we will be able to better tracker the walkability and bikability of the neighborhood over time.
Neighborhood Matching Fund awards were announced September 5. Reviewers met in early summer to meet the applicants and to review the projects. Awards were based on the merit of the projects themselves. This year, John Akamatsu was the City Wide Reviewer from the East District.
Mayor Mike McGinn and Seattle City Council today announced $465,000 in awards from the Neighborhood Matching Fund for six community-initiated projects. With awards ranging from $41,250 to $100,000, the matching funds go to neighborhood groups for projects as diverse as building play spaces to creating an agriculture demonstration project for youth.
“The Neighborhood Matching Fund reflects the city’s commitment to providing concrete ways to help community members make Seattle a better place to live,” said Mayor Mike McGinn. “The fund serves as a resource and catalyst for community members to turn their creative ideas and energy into reality.”
Recipients of the Neighborhood Matching Fund match their awards through a combination of cash, donated materials and expertise, and volunteer labor. This round of Large Projects Fund projects is matching the city’s $465,000 contribution with resources valued at $936,000.
“Community volunteers make these projects happen. They raise the money, donate their time, and reach out to neighbors over the span of several years all in an effort to make improvements to their neighborhood and community,” said Councilmember Sally Bagshaw, chair of the Parks and Neighborhoods Committee. “They truly are committed to fostering and building a better Seattle, and we are richer for it.”
The Neighborhood Matching Fund Large Projects Fund applications are reviewed by the Citywide Review Team (CRT) which recommends the projects to the Mayor and City Council. Made up of volunteers from each of the 13 neighborhood districts, plus four at-large community members, the CRT reviews applications, interviews applicants, and makes funding recommendations. The applications are also reviewed by members from District Councils.
Created to promote and support community-based, self-help projects, the Neighborhood Matching Fund is managed by Seattle Department of Neighborhoods. Celebrating its 25th anniversary, the Fund has awarded approximately $50 million with a community match of more than $71 million. The next opportunity to apply to the Neighborhood Matching Fund is through its Small and Simple Projects Fund. The deadline for applications is October 7. To learn more, visit www.seattle.gov/neighborhoods/nmf/.
2013 Large Projects Fund Awarded Organizations and Projects:
Central Area Urban Gardeners for the Central Area Urban Gardeners Project
Awarded $67,330; Community match $71,138
Equipment purchase and installation to support a new agricultural demonstration project designed to grow healthy, safe, affordable, organic vegetables indoors. It will involve year-round training and education in food production for youth in the community.
Madison Valley Community Council for the Madison Valley Neighborhood Landmark Construction
Awarded $41,250; Community match $100,000
Construction of a neighborhood landmark sign located at East Madison St and 28th Ave East, the heart of the district. Plans include landscaping, a means to advertise seasonal events, and possible redesign of the intersection crosswalks.
View Ridge Elementary PTA for the View Ridge Playground Project
Awarded $100,000; Community match $130,455
Design and installation of a play/sport court and related amenities, such as seating, natural elements, and drainage improvements to increase the availability of useable and safe play and gathering spaces.
Historic Seattle for the Get Lifted: an Elevator for Washington Hall
Awarded $100,000; Community match $504,900
Outreach, fund raising, and construction of an elevator and tower for this historic landmark to make Washington Hall accessible to the community.
Friends of Lower Kinnear Park for the North Trail Pre-design Work
Awarded $57,500; Community match $29,500
As the second phase of the North Trail project, completion of a Slope Stabilization Study that includes a survey, geotechnical evaluation, and a stormwater and drainage report.
Montlake Family Fitness for the Montlake Family Fitness Project
Awarded $99,290; Community match $100,348
Construction of a 65’ x 80’ (approximate) sport court next to the Montlake Community Center playground and placement of four to five pieces of adult fitness equipment.
– See more at: http://frontporch.seattle.gov/2013/09/05/city-of-seattle-awards-465000-in-matching-funds-to-support-community-initiated-projects/#sthash.m48fzmx0.dpuf
Attached is the agenda for the General Meeting August 15, 2013.
This is a reminder about the Public Hearing on Monday evening- 5:30pm at the Miller Community Center- 330 19th Ave East.
The City of Seattle Planning, Land Use and Sustainability Committee will be taking comment on the proposed Development Agreement and Site Specific guidelines for the Broadway Light Rail Station Development. This includes the community requests for a farmer’s market home and more affordable housing. Links to documents on DPD’s website here.
Written comments may be submitted before noon on Monday July 15th to email@example.com .
The Capitol Hill Champion has put together a list of talking points based on these community requests: 13-0713-Champion Talking Points Public Hearing Final 2013_0715.
The Champion members have requested that you listen to comments, and instead of repeating the same comments, use the opportunity to elaborate as well as to remain supportive of the community engagement process.
Questions? Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
From our “neighbors” of Cal Anderson park”
I Need A Hero! Outdoor Movies At Cal Anderson Park
Look, up in the sky! It’s a small army of super iconic characters, swinging into action and coming to save your summer with FREE outdoor movies! Three Dollar Bill Outdoor Cinema returns to Capitol Hill’s Cal Anderson Park with “I NEED A HERO” — four nights of action-packed fun!
– See more at: https://www.threedollarbillcinema.org/calendar/i-need-a-hero#sthash.2TpuDxCN.dpuf
July 19 – HAIRSPRAY (1988)
Hair hoppin’, booty shakin’ Tracy Turnblad (Rikki Lake) is breaking all the rules for the better and making heroic strides for civil rights in this bouncy & beloved John Waters classic starring Divine and celebrating its 25th anniversary!
Aug 2 – GALAXY QUEST (1999)
In this hilarious sci-fi comedy, aliens in peril beam up the crew of a ‘Star Trek’–type TV show, not realizing their supposed saviors are only actors. With Sigourney Weaver among them, they’ve at least got a fighting chance.
Aug 9 – BATMAN: THE MOVIE (1966)
Holy tights! The original dynamic duo (Adam West, Burt Ward) take on an all-star cast of comic book baddies in this movie version of the hit TV show from the 1960s.
Aug 16 – CONAN THE DESTROYER (1984)
Arnold Schwarzenegger and his bulging muscles are the stars – but Grace Jones steals the show – in this campy swords & sandals fantasy-adventure.
– See more at: https://www.threedollarbillcinema.org/calendar/i-need-a-hero
Given I participated in this process over the past year, I wanted to provide the Capitol Hill community with this message regarding where the process stands with the city.
Thanks, Lisa Kothari
Thank you for participating in the Safe Communities Initiative as part of SPD: 20/20 with the goal of meaningfully engaging our community in reducing crime and creating the safest possible neighborhoods. You were one of the 1,000 participants at least one of our 101 community meetings.
Since we wrapped up Phase III, we received 320 separate recommendations for the city to do to improve safety in our neighborhoods. Many of these recommendations are similar across all 5 precincts, while some are precinct specific.
As part of the Safe Communities report back, Mayor McGinn started a tour of each SPD precinct and updating the public on public safety and the Safe Communities Initiative in the East Precinct. In the next few weeks, Mayor McGinn will go on tours of the Southwest, West, North, South precincts and will briefed on what progress has been made.
To learn more about the East Precinct Tour that Mayor McGinn recently went on you can click here. You can also view the Precinct Reports as they become available after each Precinct Tour at www.seattle.gov/safe.
If you have additional questions about the Safe Communities Initiative, feel free to visit www.seattle.gov/safe or contact Heidi Park at email@example.com. Thank you again for taking the time to be involved with our Safe Communities Initiative. We will continue to keep you posted as with news relevant to your concerns.
Tuesday August 6th, the City of Seattle will be celebrating the 29th Annual Night Out Against Crime. Last year, 1,366 events were registered to participate. To register your own event that night or to find an event close to you, click here.
NIGHT OUT IS A NATIONAL EVENT
“Night Out” is a national Crime Prevention event. It is designed to heighten crime prevention awareness, increase neighborhood support in anti-crime efforts, and unite our communities. It is a great chance to learn about crime prevention, while also celebrating your community and spending time with your neighbors.
Seattle has had a long history of supporting Night Out. The program has been growing every year, with over 1,200 neighborhoods participating in 2010. This type of community participation is what makes Seattle a great place to live.
The event is a unique opportunity to bring your neighbors together, welcome new neighbors, talk about crime prevention and Block Watch efforts, and mainly just have a great time with food, music, games – whatever you want. The creativity we’ve seen of what neighborhoods come up with is amazing. Some gatherings are just a few households; others expand into large block parties.
This year the theme is “Celebrating Crime Free Neighborhoods.” If you have a neighborhood that has seen a decrease in crime, it is a time to celebrate your achievements. If you have ongoing crime problems you are working on, it is a chance to renew your focus, start a Block Watch if you haven’t already, and take a public stand against crime in your neighborhood.
Night Out Against Crime is an opportunity for individual neighborhoods to renew their commitment to the following:
- Heighten crime and drug prevention awareness
- Generate support for, and participation in, local anti-crime programs
- Strengthen neighborhood spirit and police-community partnerships
- Send a message to criminals that neighborhoods are organized and fighting back.
Due to anticipated time constraints at the 2/21 meeting, the Seattle Police will make its presentation on safety in Spring.
According to the CHS blog: “Though it would have been the cheapest alternative, Seattle City Light has dropped an unpopular alternative route that would have required 100-foot towers across Capitol Hill and the Central District for its planned 115-kilovolt transmission line connecting the coming Denny Substation with the city’s grid.”
Read more here
Thanks to Cathy who brought this to our attention, and to Kristina for her considerable input on drafting the letter to Seattle City Light.