Go, Peter, Go!
Peter Steinbrueck’s amendments to the mayor’s downtown height and density increases passed 5-0 (with Jan Drago abstaining) in the council’s urban planning committee today with minimal alterations - a victory for affordable housing supporters and Belltown residents who didn’t want large parking garages at street level in their neighborhood.
In addition to upzoning most of downtown by about a third, Steinbrueck’s legislation:
• Requires developers to pay between $17 and $19 a square foot, on average, into a fund that would build affordable housing downtown (the exact amount will be determined between now and Monday);
• Prohibits new parking garages downtown except on small (30,000 square feet or smaller) lots, where developers who build parking above ground would be required to build an equivalent amount of parking below the surface; and
• Requires new parking garages to include storefronts at sidewalk level, to “create some activity” on the street.
Two amendments by Jan Drago failed 5-2 (Nick Licata left before the end of the meeting): One would have upzoned a small plot of land in Pioneer Square whose owner wants to build a residential tower; the other would have reduced the average housing bonus in Steinbrueck’s plan to less than $16 a square foot. The mayor wanted the bonus to be just $10 a foot, making the legislation the council passed this afternoon a huge victory for Steinbrueck, who had pushed for $20.