The Mayor traveled to the U-District today to officially announce the City’s plans for massive redevelopment of the neighborhood. He was met by a crowd of some 36 protesters wearing green scarves and holding signs demanding the preservation of affordable housing, small businesses, and open space.
The boom in the tech industry is forcing rapid growth in Seattle, pitting the agents of corporate exploitation against the people's desire for a livable city.
Mayor Ed Murray is appearing today, Sept. 12, at 12:15 PM at University Heights Plaza (50th & University Way) to announce the City’s plan for growth in the U-District (a.k.a. “the upzones”). Community activists will be there to meet him. Here is a statement from John Fox of the Seattle Displacement Coalition.
The U District Community Council, Livable UDistrict, Interfaith Task Force on Homelessness, Seattle Displacement Coalition, homeowners, tenants, low income people, small businesses, seniors, and the homeless OPPOSE THIS UPZONE.
The Mayor has come to the UDistrict to sell his plan to upzone nearly 2/3rds of the University District for highrise office and residential towers. Areas now zoned for lower density buildings of no more than 45’ to 65’, would be rezoned for 240’-320’ towers – rivaling or exceeding densities in South Lake Union. This would set in motion redevelopment on a scale that would destroy the current unique diverse social, physical and affordable character of the neighborhood, forcing demolition of many existing buildings. Longtime small businesses, many first generation immigrant and minority owned, and 1200-1500 existing units of lower density affordable rental housing, all are threatened.
Stranger journalist Heidi Groover tweeted this sneer earlier today:
Today in Seattle's growth fights, this guy just called single family zones the "prime asset of Seattle" pic.twitter.com/WGluK26KxW
— Heidi Groover (@heidigroover) September 9, 2016
If she cared to know, Groover could easily discover that “this guy” is Donn Cave, who is proposing a series of amendments to retain provisions of the Comp Plan – provisions which have been in the plan for the past 20 years – that define and protect single-family zones. Those provisions were deleted by the Mayor precisely because single-family zones are a “prime asset,” which urbanists and developers can’t wait to get their hands on. Read Donn’s proposed amendments, and read his previous post on our site.
The author of the definitive study of Seattle’s Urban Village strategy says HALA undermines that strategy by splashing upzones across the city.
Peter Steinbreuck authored the “Seattle Sustainable Neighborhoods Assessment Project” (SSNAP) in 2014 under a contract from the City of Seattle. The study was commissioned to provide baseline data for the consideration of the Seattle 2035 Comprehensive Plan. Steinbreuck concluded in his report that the Urban Village strategy (established by the 1994 Comp Plan) is working and viable. (See: a short Power Point or the complete report at Steinbreuck’s website.)
The critical tactics of the Urban Village strategy are to concentrate growth – job growth and population growth – in designated areas, and to support that growth with high-capacity transit services. In parallel, four core values are to be preserved: community, environmental stewardship, economic opportunity, and social equity.