Politics Not In Nickels’s Backyard
posted by October 19 at 12:33 PMon
Mayor Nickels, who is pushing for zoning changes to accommodate density, is actually against easing zoning restrictions when it would affect City Hall.
County Exec Ron Sims wants to replace the ugly 9-story County administration building that’s directly across the street from City Hall, just south at 4th and James, with a 40 plus-story building. Nine floors would be owned by the County and the rest would be apartments or condos and retail.
The County says it needs to go beyond the current 34-story limit there to make the project pencil out for developers… that is… to keep the taxpayers off the hook.
The building falls just one block outside zone 1—where 60-story buildings are now allowed, thanks, actually, to Nickels’s recent push to build taller downtown.
In fact, the county jail, across the street to the east, falls within the new taller zone district. So, Sims had a proposal: Since the County’s not going to revamp the jail, let the County transfer the right to build higher just across the street.
But Team Nickels—which likes to talk about the benefits of density by tweaking zoning citywide—has found its inner-NIMBY when it comes to Sims’s plan to increase desnity next door to City Hall. Indeed, Deputy Mayor Ceis hauled out the stalest Seattle argument in the book: It’ll cast shadows.
The Seattle Times reports:
The county plan “would have a shading effect on City Hall for sure, and the council has been very protective of the civic campus,” Ceis said.
Way to set an example, Ceis. You’re asking neighborhoods all over the city to accept zoning changes. Now, when they bitch about “shadows,” they’ll just be following your dumb example.
Ceis officially objected yesterday when Sims first announced his plan.
And today, in a rare instance, Council Member Peter Steinbrueck agreed with Ceis.
NIMBYism makes strange bed fellows.