City Just in Time for the Development Bust
posted by June 26 at 15:50 PMon
Seattle is mulling over big plans for bigger buildings.
Under a supplemental budget passed June 5, the city has agreed to dish out $50,000 to a half-time staffer who will conduct a zoning analysis of the Roosevelt neighborhood. Residents of the area submitted a neighborhood “urban village” plan that would allow taller buildings and a dense core, which will be the basis for the city’s analysis, back in July 2006.
The Roosevelt Neighborhood Group, which drafted the proposal, and the area’s most controversial landlord agree that the rezoning is overdue. “Everyone is eager to get on this—as would Hugh [Sisley]—to start building,” says Jim O’Halloran, a member of the neighborhood group. Sisley has plans to redevelop his 43 properties; however, it’s unlikely that the city will endorse the 12-story buildings Sisley wants. “Clearly we don’t agree, that’s why we want zoning analysis to take place,” says O’Halloran. “65 feet is maximum. Six stories we can live with.”
O’Halloran is eager to implement the new zoning rules, in part, because he’s concerned that a patchwork of zoning passed in the meantime may not fit the neighborhood plan. This week, the city council rezoned a half block on Northeast 66th Street and 12th Avenue Northeast, to allow a 65-foot residential building (which does fit with the neighborhood’s vision) above the future site of the Roosevelt light rail station.
Meanwhile, rezoning may be delayed in Interbay, which has been the subject of upzoning plans since 2005. “The mayor is going to hold back legislation until structure of incentive-zoning policies is determined,” says Jim Holmes, a senior planner for the Department of Planning ad Development. That incentive-zoning proposal, which would let developers build taller near large arterial streets around the city if they provide affordable housing, is currently before the council.
Lastly, Holmes says the mayor will be briefed on an upzoning proposal for South Lake Union later this month. Meetings to consider those changes to the neighborhood plan began in 2004.