The City’s Office of Planning and Community Development will present its plan to upzone the U-District at an event:
University District Urban Design Draft Zoning Proposal Open House
Tuesday, May 31, 6:00-8:00 PM
Neptune Theater, 1303 NE 45th St.
There is substantial community opposition to the plan (which in general is already well-understood).
The Seattle Displacement Coalition says:
The City’s plan threatens 1500 affordable housing units and dozens of small businesses. The University District as we know it would be wiped out and replaced with another hub similar to Downtown or South Lake Union.
The group Livable U-District says:
The City of Seattle must put first things first for a livable U District and tackle urgent problems here now – matters already identified and prioritized over years of community planning processes involving hundreds who work and live in our community. Rezoning first will increase problems; layering greater density over existing problems only makes them greater and harder to solve.
to immediately suspend current on-going plans to upzone the University District until the following measures are adopted: requiring developers to pay impact fees, traffic and parking mitigation, anti-displacement strategy that includes one-for-one replacement of low cost housing, increased open space, historic preservation plan, tree protections, and homeless services.
For our part, we refer you to a news release from the year 2003, which shows that the City and the University of Washington have been cooperating (or should we say “conspiring”) to transform the U-District for a very long time. It was the era of Mayor Greg Nickels:
“With the signing of the lease lid legislation, the University is now ready to join forces with the City and local businesses in revitalizing the Ave,” said Nickels. “The major legislative hurdles are now behind us and we can focus on the key remaining component of the revitalization strategy: housing development.”
“The University of Washington is the largest employer in the City and one of the bright spots for the region’s economy,” said Councilmember Jan Drago, who helped steer the legislation through the Council. “We’re not talking about a billion-dollar tax break here, but simply a fresh look at how the City could work with the university to spur economic development and job growth.”
[from the web page for the UW Campus Master Plan]
Now, thirteen years later, we see what “revitalization” and “a fresh look” can lead to. Final word from the Seattle Displacement Coalition:
You’re encouraged to attend [the event May 31] and oppose this plan driven by large property owners and the U of W: a plan to turn the district into a hi-tech ‘incubator’ hub” with zero regard to how it affects the District’s existing diverse and affordable character.