Majority of Seattle Housing Units are Multifamily

2000 and 2010 US Census Housing Statistics for City of Seattle

2000 Count By Units in Structure 2000 Percentage By Unit in Structure 2010 Count By Units in Structure 2010 Percentage By Unit in Structure 2000-2010 Count Change Change in Percentage of Housing Units
  1, detached  132,908 49%  138,309 46%  5,401 -3.4%
  1, attached  5,919 2%  10,972 4%  5,053 1.4%
  2  9,684 4%  9,223 3%  (461) -0.5%
  3 or 4  12,178 5%  12,383 4%  205 -0.4%
  5 to 9  18,935 7%  19,615 6%  680 -0.5%
  10 to 19  23,852 9%  25,485 8%  1,633 -0.4%
  20 to 49  33,991 13%  36,030 12%  2,039 -0.7%
  50 or more  31,708 12%  49,072 16%  17,364 4.5%
Total  269,175  301,089  31,914

A while ago in response a piece that Roger wrote, commenter BGCity wrote this:

“People like the quiet neighborhoods that they live in and the fact is that most of our city consists of, and most people live in these single family zones that resemble the suburbs in oh so many ways. The Urban faction, of which I count myself one, is in the minority…. Can anyone accurately claim that Seattleites want their quiet neighborhoods to be as urban as Belltown?”

Not to pick on BGCity, but I find this a common and inaccurate refrain when talking about density in Seattle. Let me unpack why I disagree.

First, if you actually look at US Census housing statistics for 2000 and 2010 above, a majority of housing units in Seattle are in fact multifamily, not single family*. Housing units don’t directly correlate to residents, as single family houses have higher average household size, but the fact is that Seattle is not dominated by single family housing as many people think. I personally found this data surprising. Just because a majority of the city is zoned for single family housing doesn’t mean that it makes up a majority of housing, which makes sense when you think about what density actually means, more housing in less area.

Second, the housing trends over the last ten years have seen growth in the medium/large multifamily housing (50+ units) and townhouses (1, attached), which make up 4.5% and 1.4% more of the housing stock in 2010 than they did in 2000. This growth in their market share came overwhelmingly at the expense of single family housing (1, detached) representing 3.4% less of the housing stock in 2010 as it did in 2000. More importantly, this trend will never reverse, because Seattle essentially has no new buildable land for single family housing. As the city continues to grow, single family housing will continue to represent a smaller and smaller percentage of the city’s housing stock.

Third, denser housing doesn’t necessarily mean more noise. In most cases increased noise is the direct result of increased commercial activity or more specifically “nightlife” related noise, not residential density. Commercial activity outside of downtown primarily occurs in Neighborhood Commercial (NC) zones and are an explicit goal of creating a vibrant, active, 24-7 city. However, just because some density is noisier doesn’t mean that all density is noisier. Seattle has many examples of dense neighborhood which are peaceful and quiet, mostly located in historically dense neighborhoods such as north Capitol Hill (north of John), First Hill (between Boren, Pike, Broadway and Madison), Lower Queen Anne and areas north of Central Ballard. These areas are zoned for Low-Rise (LR), Mid-Rise (MR) or High-Rise(HR) housing and either don’t allow or limit commercial activity. So no, more density doesn’t equal more noise.

* This data has margins of error since it is based on the American Community Survey and not permit data, so don’t dwell on the specific percentages, just overall trends. For example I don’t think ~5,000 new detached homes were built in the city over the last 10 years. The other data looks generally of the same magnitude with DPD permit data, which shows an addition of rough 36,000 units between 2000 and 2010 in Urban Centers and Villages, most of which would be multifamily.

Comments

  1. graham says

    as far as i understood a “multifamily” structure was defined as 5 distinct units or more (at least, these are the terms in which the utility categorizes properties for participation in curbside composting). by that logic, only 42% of the 301,089 units counted in 2010 qualify as multifamily. a large number, for sure, and more than i expected personally, but definitely not a “majority.” 5 units or less per structure still has that with 57% of the 301,089 units. or is my math wrong? please lemme know. still an interesting article though. thanks!

    • Adam Parast says

      Multi family means more than one family, ie more than one unit. Townhomes can’t be built in single family zones.

    • Andrew Smith says

      It is possible that a multi-family building (such as a semi-detached townhome) not technically a be “multi-family structure”. You can imagine two houses built right next to each other that are self-supporting structures but just happen to touch, for example. That does not mean it’s not multi-family housing.

    • Andrew Smith says

      Interestingly, you pick up on an interesting point. If you have a house with a mother-in-law apartment over the garage or a cottage house in the back, that still counts as single-family housing, but clearly it’s a multifamily lot.

      • Bernie says

        No, Seattle allows attached mother-in-law apartments as most cities do. Seattle recently enacted a city wide change that allows detached accesory dwelling units that can be rentals subject to lot size and setbacks (which aren’t much).

      • psf says

        In reply to Bernie, our lot is too small, although it has a detached garage that would otherwise be suitable.

        Also, “one off-street parking space is required for the backyard cottage” excludes many Seattle lots.

        Although the idea of a DADU policy sounds inclusive, the specifics all appear to be written to exclude as much SF zoning as possible.

  2. Steve says

    I’m surprised to see that the city added 5,000 units of single family housing between 2000 and 2010. I’m sure some of those were tall and skinny free-standing on subdivided former single-family lots, but there must have been a fair amount of building on vacant land, too, especially since a non-trivial number of SF houses were removed for multifamily construction.

    Also interesting: the loss of duplexes. Some of those were probably in the area around Aurora north of 85th, but I wonder where the others were. Was there a trend of converting duplex rental houses (e.g. in lower Wallingford) back to SFH?

    • Andrew Smith says

      I think you misread that. The city gained 5,401 single family detached houses, and gained 5,053 single family attached (or semi-detached houses), so the gain was 10,454

    • Andrew Smith says

      Also, to answer your question, there was a lot of construction of detached single family housing in places like New Holly, Rainier Vista, High Point, etc where large low-density tracks were developed higher-density while at the same time still including significant numbers of single-family-homes. I bet these don’t add up to 5,000, but you get the idea.

      • Steve says

        I don’t think I misread it — we agree that there were 5,400 net new single family houses. I’m just wondering where they were. There’s some SFH in the New Holly/Rainier Vista/etc., but a lot of it is attached housing. I don’t remember what was there before, either, or whether the old units had been torn down by 2000, but if there were single-family houses, that would also cut into the net gain.

        I know there are a non-trivial number of subdivided formerly larger lots in Beacon Hill, but still, 5,400 units is a lot of single family housing. In 2000, I would have said SFH was basically built out in the city, but somehow developers found land for at least 5,500 new houses, assuming at least 100 were torn down for multifamily. Impressive.

      • Adam Bejan Parast says

        @Steven I think that part of that data is an artifact of the statistical error from the survey.

  3. Charles says

    Can you point to any URL’s for this info? The info I’m looking at is for the Metro area and paints a completely different picture.

    • Adam Parast says

      Yeah when I get to a computer. It comes directly from the census. I removed RVs and Boats.

    • Adam Bejan Parast says

      I’m not talking about the Metro area, that is why I said “City of Seattle”. I can’t link directly to the data but it look for “Units in Structure” and add 2000 and 2010.

  4. matt hays says

    This is great info!

    The definition of multifamily seems to vary depending on whether it’s about building codes, census numbers, the dictionary, etc. This set is as good as any, or better, because it defines things in a clear way (despite some townhouses being gray areas, such as when freestanding houses share a common garage base?).

    The electorate isn’t the same as the unit count. A general rule of thumb is that the average house in Seattle has 2.5 people, while the average multifamily unit has 1.5. Some of that is kids, but a lot of it is adults too. So the electorate is still mostly single-family. Either way, that’s a big change.

    • Adam Bejan Parast says

      Yeah that specifically said that units doesn’t equal people… but then again units does roughly equal households, and it doesn’t make me less important because I’m not married and have a kid. Single aren’t going to live with a random family so I think looking at units is a very fare way of looking at housing.

  5. Bruce Nourish says

    I would quibble a bit with the description of First Hill. First Hill is actually zoned (and mostly built) high-rise in the area you describe, although I’d personally describe it as “dead” rather than quiet (although that might just be me). This is probably because of the large institutions that impinge on the street grid and street life, and perhaps because these older buildings might been built at a time when street-level retail or commercial was not required by DPD.

    The northwest corner of Belltown is actually pretty quiet, too, even though it’s built up much higher and more densely than Lower Queen Anne. The exuberance for which Belltown is famous (or infamous) mostly occurs on 1st and 2nd Ave. Again, this reinforces your point.

    • Charles says

      I found west First Hill to be oppressively noisy (freeway) and windswept which discouraged strolling around the neighborhood and creating a desire to get inside as soon as possible. Not a hood I’d want to live in

      • Bruce Nourish says

        Agreed, the part of First Hill by I-5 suffers horribly from it, although Adam qualified his definition of of First Hill to only include the northwest part, which isn’t impacted too badly by the freeway.

    • Adam Bejan Parast says

      You’re right, most of first hill is HR zoning, I though it was MR. I stand corrected. As for you’re second point here certainly are *parts* of First Hill that are dead outside of certain hours, but that isn’t the area I specifically called out.

      I certainly think your comment partly get to a point I didn’t address specifically but I wanted to… primarily that we shouldn’t require or expect all dense housing to have commercial on the first floor. If you look at many cities this is the case. Commercial is located around “main streets” but off those streets its relatively quiet or dead depending on what you want to use… but the end result is the same, a more pleasant place to live as long as you are reasonably close to things you need.

  6. says

    According to the ACS, Roger is correct:
    (http://factfinder2.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=ACS_10_1YR_B25033&prodType=table

    You are presenting the wrong variable. You are presenting the number of “housing units”. Roger said a majority of the “population”; he didn’t say the majority of housing units. According to the ACS from the Census Bureau, 62% of Seattle residents live in single family units in 2010. Roger is not inaccurate.

    Keep in mind that the Census Bureau definition has to be standardized across the country. The “attached” versus “detached” definition simply means the houses abut. There are plenty of attached houses in areas like San Francisco or in the row houses in East Coast cities. Also, it’s a self-defined definition by the respondent, not a Census Bureau employee, so respondents can respond a number of ways. People who move from other areas may interpret a fee-simple abutting townhouse as either a multi-unit building or an attached single-unit building. Regardless, the Census Bureau, who must define and aggregate statistics for their existence, groups attached and detached together for a reason.

    Anyway, I hope you’re enough of a gentleman to admit your made a mistake.

    • Andrew Smith says

      Did you read the post even?

      Housing units don’t directly correlate to residents, as single family houses have higher average household size, but the fact is that Seattle is not dominated by single family housing as many people think.

    • joshuadf says

      That link only works for Seattle if you set it as your default geography. Also note it’s the high-error-margin 1-yr ACS data.

      B25033
      TOTAL POPULATION IN OCCUPIED HOUSING UNITS BY TENURE BY UNITS IN STRUCTURE
      2010 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates

      But it’s interesting data, if you combine the owner and renter columns it look like this:

      Estimate Total population in occupied housing units in Seattle city, Washington

      62.8% 1 detached or attached
      6.2% 2 to 4
      30.3% 5 or more
      0.7% Mobile home

      • Adam Bejan Parast says

        I made sure to caveat all the data because of the high error rate but I couldn’t find better data from the DPD.

        I also think looking at population, when it comes to housing skews the data to favor of families. Myself, as a single person, am not going to live with a family, I need my own housing unit, so to somehow say my house needs are less of a quantifiable need doesn’t make sense.

      • joshuadf says

        Very true, and of course the under-18s can’t vote. It’s too bad the census data is fairly awkward to work with, otherwise I’d bang out a table showing the 18+ breakdown.

        (Full disclosure, I should also point out my family of 4 lives in a 5+unit building; there are a good number of people with kids who do live in apartments. Another tidbit to think about, for our daughter’s first two years we lived in an unregistered 3-unit “single family house” in the U-District. Those not-really-single-unit houses are common in many places around Seattle.)

      • Steve says

        joshuadf – out of curiosity, what do you mean by unregistered? That property tax records record it as one unit? It seems conceivable the census would be relying on interview data rather than property tax records, but I don’t know.

      • joshuadf says

        good point steve, the ACS respondents would presumably self-report apartments in buildings that aren’t technically apartments to the tax man.

    • Adam Bejan Parast says

      @Al S. It’s obvious you didn’t actually read any of my post. BGCity said “…live in and the fact is that most of our city consists of…” which refers to the built environment, not number of people.

  7. Dave0 says

    I would argue that a single-family, attached, housing unit is not multifamily. In my mind a single-family attached unit is a townhome in layman’s terms, compared to a 2 unit household which is a duplex in layman’s terms. A Townhome has it’s own fenced off yard, it’s own parcel of land, garage, etc. Those are characteristics of a single-family housing unit. A duplex, in comparison, is two units on one parcel, with less defined separation of property, which is characteristic of multifamily.

    Thus, based on the stats above, the city has a 50/50 split between single-family multifamily units. It is also likely, given the huge number of condos and apartments built in the last decade, that multifamily housing generally has higher vacancy rates than single-family housing, which would point towards more people living in single-family housing.

    • RossB says

      I agree. Realty websites (like Zillow) often don’t make a distinction between town homes and “regular” houses. Condos, on the other hand (whether part of a duplex, etc.) are put into a different category.

    • Adam Bejan Parast says

      Correct me if I’m wrong but most townhouses have HOAs and in my opinion anything that has an HOA is a multifamily unit.

      I can tell you that the apartment market, especially in areas where a lot of condos were built, is at historically low vacancy rates, that is why you’re seeing so many new apartment buildings going up. I would bet that most condos, if they aren’t occupied by the owners are currently being rented, after all you won’t just have it sitting there.

      • Lack Thereof says

        Townhomes do not include an HSA. That is what differentiates them from condos. In a townhome, every homeowner handles their own maint & repair needs. If some complex-wide repair needs to be done (reroofing, etc), the unit owners have to work it out amongst themselves.

      • Adam Bejan Parast says

        Okay well my friends who live in a townhouse have one. Regardless townhouses can’t be built in single family zones, so I don’t view them as single family housing. The buck stops with what the zoning is.

      • Bernie says

        I believe the difference is in ownership of the land. In a townhome you own the lot. In a condo everyone owns the “common space” be that parking or green belt. It’s not uncommon for developments of single family detached homes to have a HOA. Most of the fancy developments that were built out along Avondale as “Street of Dreams” have an HOA that enforces covenants such as no fences between lots, no cars left parked outside, the colors of paint you must use, etc.

      • Mike Orr says

        That’s the difference between houses before the 1970s and houses after. Before it was common for people to build individual houses and there were no restrictions on what it could be like, and that right was passed to subsequent owners. But nowadays most houses are part of large developments with neighborhood covenants and homeowners’ associations designed to make all houses look the same, especially to prohibit “undesirable” things like TV antennas or unusual colors or trailers in the yard. This has really homogenized the housing market into a bland least-common-denominator.

  8. Ben T-S says

    “Third, denser housing doesn’t necessarily mean more noise. In most cases increased noise is the direct result of increased commercial activity or more specifically “nightlife” related noise, not residential density.”

    Amen. I lived in New York City for 13 years, and one of the most profound ironies of that town is that, for its reputation for constant noise and grit, its most dense neighborhood (the Upper East Side) is arguably one of the quietest in the entire city. Meanwhile, very few people live in the blocks surrounding Times Square, and I think we all know what the noise levels are like there.

    • the358 says

      I had a similar experience in college in DC. My senior year, I lived off campus in Foggy Bottom in an 8-story condo building (I was renting a condo), and it was pretty quiet on our street, despite the fact that the building had a LOT of college students living in it. A few blocks away, there were bars and restaurants and it was much more lively at night.

    • matt hays says

      High density can actually be a lot quieter. As a Belltown resident, I know with great certainty that no dog will bark all night outside my window.

  9. RossB says

    I disagree with BGCity for a different reason (not to pick on him either). I have trouble with the “these single family zones that resemble the suburbs in oh so many ways” part of his comment. Many suburbs contain very big apartment buildings, along with a lot of old houses, on big lots. As a result, they have density approaching many Seattle neighborhoods.

    But they are really ugly. On the other hand, row houses (often attached to other houses) in San Fransisco and other cities manage to create dense, very walkable neighborhoods. To a certain extent Amsterdam is like this. The key is to have very small lots, and allow home owners to use all of the lot. It also helps if you allow people to have shops on the bottom floor and live on top. Not only does this type of design create enjoyable, dense neighborhoods, but it keeps the price of housing really low (based on a study done by the Nixon administration that I recall, but can never find). This is not to suggest that apartment building aren’t appropriate, but that there is a really big difference between neighborhoods, even if both neighborhoods contain mostly houses. It also suggests that density can increase in areas that contain only houses.

  10. says

    I often wonder if there is an awareness of our cultural bias in the American housing form. I have had colleagues from other countries complain that the idea of an extended family housing situation is preferred in those countries, and that they feel very limited by housing choices here.

    Our densification focus has usually resulted in smaller housing units, that usually mean single person or two person households. It thus can become possible to increase housing unit density, but decrease population density in existing residential areas. We haven’t really figured out a way to regulate our housing to be more flexible for extended families but — given the expected surge in number of retirees — maybe we should.

    Since the 1920’s, American zoning seems to be obsessed with the meaning of “units” rather than the meaning of square feet when it comes to residential density. I’ll be happy when we reform our housing regulation to be less obsessed with the number of kitchens (used as the de facto way to define a “unit”) in a building, and more focused on the building’s living area size, FAR, or perhaps the number of bedrooms, as the criterion of density.

    • JohnS says

      The associated problem with this is the lack of availability of multi-bedroom units in much of the newer housing stock, making it more difficult for families to live in them. Cities need all sorts of people, young and old alike, to work. When the available family-friendly housing is primarily expensive single family homes, you drive families out to the burbs. We’ve been fortunate that enough higher-income folks have been able to afford single family homes in Seattle for their families, so that we’re avoiding being San Francisco, but to get back to Al’s original point, defining density by number of bedrooms would get to the root of the issue.

    • Adam Bejan Parast says

      American zoning seems to be obsessed with the meaning of “units” rather than the meaning of square feet when it comes to residential density.

      The problem is that the area in which a typical household lives in has dramatically increased, while household size has decreased. Just because a old house used to be 1,500 sq ft and have 5 people in a household and a new house is 4,000 sq ft and has 2 people doesn’t mean that the need it is meeting a different need, its still housing a single household. The reasons units is the right measure is because households are desecrate units, and a single unit can only reasonably house a single household of a certain size. If the unit is too large, the extra space will likely not be used for a second household, it will just go to waste.

      • says

        It may be unfathomable to some of you, but there are extended family households in India and Mexico and other places in large compounds that have 8,000 or 10,000 square feet, with 12 or 20 family members living in them. On a square foot basis, it is much more “dense” than 8 or 10 single people each having a 1,000 square foot condo each. The way we’re de facto achieving higher density is to allow height and higher FARs, yet we keep presenting things in unit density as success. My point is that it is a cultural bias on what is appropriate housing, and that the TOD advocates need to recognize that primarily focusing on units and not height or FAR is being at the very least culturally small-minded — and I would even suggest that it is ethnic bigotry.

        Our obsession with units as the primary measure also creates major problems such as code enforcement. Code enforcement officers could identify thousands of “illegal” units around Seattle. It’s not hard to install an portable oven and a sink and a microwave and hot place, and put some locks on a portion of a house and create a second unit. Many of these are inhospitable to almost inhumane because the owners install these things without reporting them. If we regulated housing on an FAR and height basis, local governments would have more flexibility in making sure residential buildings are built correctly and safely, as well as offer extended families some options on remodeling as their housing needs change. We regulate non-residential land use through FAR and height already so the concept is not foreign; it just takes some re-examining of our objectives of how we measure density.

      • Adam Bejan Parast says

        It’s not unfathomable to me, I’m half Iranian, I know about large households. But the fact is that isn’t how people in the US live.

        I would also point out this data is “self-reported” not what tax records or permit data says, so in some regards the data is more reflective of how buildings are *actually* used. So if a multid-generational family does live in a single 10k sqft unit they may report it has a multi-unit building.

    • Mike Orr says

      It’s true that housing for extended families is hard to find. But it’s simulataneously true that American households have shrunk. The standard SFH is built for two parents and some number of kids, and assumes a very close integration of all members; i.e., those in the master bedroom supervise those in the other bedrooms which are adjacent. The houses aren’t designed for different generations to have their own more separated/autonomous area. At the same time, the houses are too big for a childless single or couple. And roommates generally prefer the separatedness/autonomousness that extended families prefer, but again the houses aren’t designed for them. The houses are designed for Leave It to Beaver when Leave It to Beaver has become a small minority of households.

    • the358 says

      I was just watching some news program (for the life of me I can’t remember which one!) where they did a story on the increasing percentage of Americans who live in a home with 3 or more generations living together. I want to say it was 20% of households? But I honestly can’t remember…

      • Mike Orr says

        There was a significant upswing in kids living at home after the 2008 crash. That’s not quite the same as an extended family because it’s expected to be temporary for a few years, not a long-term living arrangement. Still, people have started to break into smaller households again, as Seattle’s vacancy rate shows: it was high in early 2009 but is back down to normal. But the percentage of multigenerational households may remain higher than it was before the crash.

  11. James says

    Out of curiosity, would rowhouses count as 1, attached? Also, after all the hoopla about rowhouses finally being allowed under a certain zoning (I forgot which one) last year, have there been any rowhouse developments in Seattle?

    I’ve ready for Seattle’s urban landscape to begin looking more like San Francisco and Boston ;)

    • Adam Bejan Parast says

      Rowhouses are just a design variation of townhouses and would count under the (1, attached) category.

    • Doug in sf says

      A little off-topic, but to clarify re: row houses— When you think of San Francisco and its Victorian and Edwardardian homes famously squeezed up next to each other, those are mostly SFH and generally few inches apart, on separate lots, and even those that rest against each other are still not “attached” to one another.

      Baltimore, now those are row houses.

  12. Mike Orr says

    So are Seattle townhouses the same thing as east coast row houses, or are there essential differences? One difference is that Seattle townhouses are built on individual lots while east coast townhouses are built on entire blocks. But Seattle townhouses could be built on entire blocks too, and part of NewHolly probably qualifies. So is that what we’d need to do if we want row houses? Parking is awkward in some townhouse complexes, but again this could be fixed. So what other essential differences remain?

  13. David Miller says

    According to SPC data.

    50% of Seattle housing units are SF
    8% has 2-4 units
    6% has 5-19 units
    27% has 20+ units

    They do not explain why the numbers don’t add up to 100% (missing 9%).

    50% of units in Seattle are owned, 50% are occupied.
    41% of our housing is in urban centers and villages.

    There are over 103,000 lots in Seattle eligible for DADU. The parking requirement noted above can be waived given DPD’s “flexible” judgment of what constitutes “sufficient” on-street parking.

    (A minimum of two (2) off-street parking spaces shall be provided, which spaces may be in tandem. The Director may waive the requirement for one (1) or both of the spaces if topography or existing structures makes provision of one (1) or both of the parking spaces unduly burdensome and adequate parking capacity exists. [Sec. 23.44.025(A)(7), Seattle Municipal Code])

    • Adam Bejan Parast says

      SPC? Could you provide a link. I looked for data from DPD but couldn’t find anything comparable.

      • Adam Bejan Parast says

        Thanks. The report has information about units in structure on page 13 but the data doesn’t add up to 100% so I don’t know how to interpret that. The ACS data in my table added up to 99% because of my rounding. The report data shows that 50% is single unit but I don’t know if that includes townhouse units, which I don’t group into single family because it can’t occur in SF zones. I also wonder if the data source is permit data or the same ACS survey data, because that difference would likely affect the results.

      • Adam Bejan Parast says

        Oh yeah you already pointed that out. Didn’t go back and re-read your original comment.

        I looked at the report and it used the 2006-2008 ACS, which would have a higher statistical accuracy due to the larger sample size, but also averages the data over those years, which saw significant growth in the 50+ and townhouse categories.

  14. Matthew 'Anc' Johnson says

    Good breakdown, glad to see things moving in the right direction.

    I think we will continue to expand our multifamily housing (although not fast enough), but there is a chance for growth in single family, especially if White Center is annexed.

    • Bernie says

      I was speaking with relatives this weekend that live in the still unincorporated area down there. Virtually all the residents want to be annexed by Burien and not Seattle. Part of the reason is Seattle’s high taxes but it’s more the feeling that they will be a forgotten population if absorbed by a giant city. Right now there is a measure in the State legislature that will make it much less desirable for cities to annex unincorporated areas. It would slash the Annexation Sales Tax Credit (ASTC).

      • Mike Orr says

        And I heard Burien would rescind the offer if that passed, because otherwise it would have to absorb the transition costs which the city can’t afford. I don’t know whether that makes a Seattle annexation more likely or not. But they can’t remain unincorporated forever. The county is threatening to drastically lower services in unincorprated urban areas, and has used park closures to “encourage” areas to join cities who would maintain the parks.

      • Mike Orr says

        One trivial issue is that if Seattle annexes White Center, you could no longer count on the fact that south Seattle has named streets and outside Seattle has numbered streets, because an arbitrary section of numbered streets would be brought in.

  15. says

    A question might be how many of those in “multifamily housing” (code word for cheap cramped apartments) would prefer to be living in a SFH if they could afford it.

    • Adam Bejan Parast says

      You’re living in a fantasy land if you ignore whether or not people can afford something.

  16. Art Marriott says

    Regarding noise…automobile traffic has to be by far the greatest source of noise pollution, particularly as the industry persists in pandering to adolescent male fantasies by offering big pickup trucks, “sporty cars” and motorcycles with exhaust systems carefully designed to skate along the brink of typical noise ordinances. That’s just another part of the unsustainability of the suburban fantasy–if you want to hear some serious decibels, just hang out near any freeway entrance in Redmond or Shoreline during rush hour–or even at other times.

    • Adam Bejan Parast says

      As someone who lived in a unit overlooking I-5 and lived right next to Aurora I would say it depends. The worst noise from my experience was when I lived next to I-5 and traffic volumes would be low late at night and then a semi would loudly drive by. At least for me, a constant low mummer isn’t nearly as bad as short but loud noises.

  17. tom lattimore says

    A friend of mine suggested I check out this website. I’m not sure unless he wanted me to witness in writing the thoughts of an ant colony. Wow, are ants not only boring, they are not very smart beyond creating a self absorbed kind of density.

    • Adam Bejan Parast says

      Tom a comment like yours only lessens your reputation. If you’re going to criticize lets keep it on issues.

      I don’t know what you mean by “self absorbed density”, but in relation to this post I think this information is very critical in informing out land use discussion in the city.

      • tom lattimore says

        Adam, you write things like:

        “Third, denser housing doesn’t necessarily mean more noise. In most cases increased noise is the direct result of increased commercial activity or more specifically “nightlife” related noise, not residential density.”

        I have no problem with you and other density aficionado’s having this opinion. What I do find peculiar is that you state this opinion as a fact and not one person called you on it. This lessens your reputation and gives a casual observer the impression that lock step thinking (thus the ant colony reference) is the norm here.

      • Zed says

        A statement prefaced with “doesn’t necessarily mean” is hardly an unequivocal statement of fact.

      • Adam Bejan Parast says

        Tom, anyone who has actually lived in a dense neighborhood knows this is a good rule of thumb. Make statements like that, with caveats, is a whole different ballgame than you’re personal attack, belittling me and our readers.

      • tom lattimore says

        Adam, you declare that anyone who has lived in a dense neighborhood knows this is a good rule of thumb. You make either the previous discussed rhetorical statement that rendered what follows as meaningless or this sweeping generalization that may be your opinion but is not based on any objective verifiable facts.

        I am someone who has lived in dense urban neighborhoods and my experience doesn’t match yours. For example I have lived residential portions of the U-Dist that are much noisier on a regular basis than commercial zones. The Roosevelt neighborhood commercial district that you’all love to hate has both dense housing and at least 15 restaurant taverns and is quieter than other residential areas I’ve lived in.

        The only fact I discern in my short and soon to end foray to this blog is that virtually everyone who participates in the blog apparently accepts your and other bloggers opinion statements at fact because it seems from perusing this and other posts, density and all things dense are worshiped here uncritically.

        Anyone who continues to read this blog

    • Zed says

      It’s also a pity that you would use your first comment on the blog to be a dick, instead of adding something useful. I would have expected more from you.

      • tom lattimore says

        Zed, using the statement “doesn’t necessarily mean” is semantics and pure bullshit. Pointing out that this appears to be an echo chamber is useful to others who might otherwise think there was some level of critical thought going on here. As for your disappointment, so be it. I on the other hand have no expectations of you because I don’t know you as you don’t even use your name.

      • Zed says

        Your comment was useful to your own ego, and that’s about it. If you actually cared about this not being an “echo chamber”, you would have tried to debate some of the points.

      • Adam Bejan Parast says

        I think in light of the obviousness of this statement the benefit of the doubt is on you to produced statistics/studies that prove otherwise.

        And +1 Zed. Tom you obviously don’t understand that comments like yours, dismissive and not based on the issues at hand, aren’t what we “ants” accept as discussion on this blog.

      • tom lattimore says

        “I think in light of the obviousness of this statement the benefit of the doubt is on you to produced statistics/studies that prove otherwise.”

        Adam the use of the rhetorical flourish “doesn’t necessarily mean” is your cheesy way to avoid backing up the declarative statements you follow the statement with. I don’t need to provide data to call this your opinion. You need to provide data to move your opinion into the realm of fact. That’s how it works outside of an echo chamber.

  18. tom lattimore says

    Well, Zed , I did at your & Adam’s request try to debate the point that the blog contained some rhetorical, meaningless bullshit that really wouldn’t pass muster in a reputable blog.

    Being overly sensitive about the echo chamber comment only tells me that you’re the one with the ego problem. Seriously, you should be able to recognize bullshit and call someone on it even when it agrees with your own bias. Your failure to do so and to make attacks, using a pseudonym, on someone who does call bullshit does not reflect well on your integrity.

      • tom lattimore says

        Are you trying to get biblical on me because you still can’t defend the meaningless rhetoric or your being ok with it cause it matches your personal bias.
        No more need for your foolishness. Buh bye Zero

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