Often informal groups of people working together can make a difference in the way their communities are run. If you care about the Roosevelt zoning plan and, like I do, would like to see a plan that would create more than 348 units of housing in the station area, the best thing you can do right now is email your city council member to say “please don’t vote for this!” The next best thing you can do is sign this petition I’ve created.

You may or may not be surprised to know that much of the time the Council members only hear from the NIMBY side of these debates, and not from those who support more transit oriented development. The more they hear from people who support TOD, the more import they’ll attach to the issue, and the more likely they are enact a plan to create more housing. I’ve written an easy way to do contact them right after the jump. Please do also sign the petition.

Position: 1
Jean Godden
Email: jean.godden@seattle.gov

Position: 2
Richard Conlin, Council President
Email: richard.conlin@seattle.gov

Position: 3
Bruce A. Harrell
Email: bruce.harrell@seattle.gov

Position: 4
Sally Bagshaw
Email: sally.bagshaw@seattle.gov

Position: 5
Tom Rasmussen
Email: tom.rasmussen@seattle.gov

Position: 6
Nick Licata
Email: nick.licata@seattle.gov

Position: 7
Tim Burgess
Email: tim.burgess@seattle.gov

Position: 8
Mike O’Brien
Email: mike.obrien@seattle.gov

Position: 9
Sally J. Clark
Email: sally.clark@seattle.gov

Dear City Council Member:

I’m a Seattle resident, and I feel strongly that we need to keep build more housing near transit. The current draft recommendation for Roosevelt does not go far enough toward increasing the supply of housing near transit and letting people get away from the automobile. Transit-oriented development is the future of the region and especially Seattle. I’m sure you agree. TOD is the most sustainable, healthy -and in the city – possible way to grow. The proposed rezone squanders a critical chance to increase the vibrancy and livability of the Roosevelt neighborhood and our city at large.

There will be community members that don’t want change. That always happens, but we are making decisions for generations to come and thousands of unassuming future residents of the Roosevelt neighborhood. As elected officials, you have a responsibility to balance the wants of current residents with those of future residents.

Every Seattle resident helps pay for the light rail system with every purchase they make. We’re building only a few subway stations in the entire city, and a plan that increases the housing supply by only an extra 348 units does not go far enough. We need a more ambitious plan, and I’m looking to you to help us get one. For too long Seattle has been timid, while cities across the region have planned and zoned for their one or two stations areas. Seattle is sorely behind.


– Consistent Voter & Future Campaign Contributor

31 Replies to “To the City Council!”

  1. Here’s an email list you can copy and paste:
    Jean Godden , Richard Conlin , Bruce A. Harrell , Sally Bagshaw , Tom Rasmussen , Nick Licata , Tim Burgess , Mike O’Brien , Sally J. Clark

  2. Trying again:

    Jean Godden <jean.godden@seattle.gov>, Richard Conlin <richard.conlin@seattle.gov>, Bruce A. Harrell <bruce.harrell@seattle.gov>, Sally Bagshaw <sally.bagshaw@seattle.gov>, Tom Rasmussen <tom.rasmussen@seattle.gov>, Nick Licata <nick.licata@seattle.gov>, Tim Burgess <tim.burgess@seattle.gov>, Mike O’Brien <mike.obrien@seattle.gov>, Sally J. Clark <sally.clark@seattle.gov>

  3. And maybe we can convince them to halt the dense development in Ballard until we actually get some mass transit to support it.

      1. RapidRide is a small improvement over what’s there. It may eventually turn into a moderate improvement. Regardless, the Ballard urban village is not going to become so much denser in the next decade that the downtown corridor could not be served with BRT. Contrast that to Northgate or the U-District.

      2. The grueling slog on the 15/18 — soon to be the grueling slog on RapidRide! — begs to differ.

      3. I’m not suggesting it will cease to be a grueling slog, but it will be slightly less so. I don’t suppose its worth me trying to convince you of that, but I liked my ride on RR A, and I think RR D will be an improvement on the 15, and I look forward to its implementation.

    1. Why would you want this? Ballard has shown willingness to upzone, and is scheduled to get better transit. Instead, we should petition the city council to eliminate parking minimums in urban villages like Ballard.

      1. As long as they zone the streets and disallow any buildings with no parking minimum to acquire a zone permit, I, and most of Ballard, would be all for it.

      2. Anon:

        As I’ve actually pointed out to you on MyBallard before, auto-presumptive density actually makes every worse, regardless of where the cars slumber. The streets aren’t getting any more capacity, so encouraging the condo dwellers to come with cars only makes traffic worse. Meanwhile, the garage entrances break up the street frontage, the retail spaces are useless for anything but nail salons and Sprint stores, and only the blockiest and ugliest developments can make the numbers pencil out.

        (Also, the minimum parking requirements exist now, so you’re actually advocating for the status quo, even though the current state of things seems to bother you. Los Angeles is what density + parking minimums looks like, and it’s no one’s idea of an urban paradise.)

        Everyone else:

        See!!?? Ballard has no reason to trust any promises Metro makes about “better transit to come,” and the presumption really is: “I hate using that crap. Why would I believe that upwardly-mobile new residents will use that crap? I know they’re going to drive. So lets demand lots of off-street parking.”

        I know transit improvement/transit demand is chicken and egg. But if the eggs are all rancid, no chickens will ever hatch.

    2. Actually building dense now will ensure that it gets good transit in the future, beyond just rapidride.

      1. Precisely. We’re starting to pick up momentum in Ballard again; why drop the ball now, sending a terrible signal that maybe Ballard isn’t ready for the big leagues after all?

      2. I’m going to set aside my snark just long enough to wholeheartedly agree with Adam on this truism.

        (Although market forces alone clearly do not produce adequate transit in Seattleland.)

  4. Nice work on leading the charge Andrew. E-mails sent and petition signed. May want to correct the spelling on “responsibilty” and “accross”, although maybe you were going for a more “real” feeling email.

  5. Any e-mail you send shouldn’t be too long either. Council members are humans, and most humans dislike long e-mails. Just spell it out for them– this pathetic little rezone isn’t worth it.

  6. It’s about time you guys get a little more activist on here…

    You should also work to elect better Council members. ;-)

    1. I couldn’t agree more. Some of them are good on some things though. They just need the *fear of god* placed over their heads by us when they don’t do right.

  7. Your comment that the proposed plan would “create” only 348 units of housing in the Roosevelt district is way misleading. First, the 348 units represents the capacity of the proposed increased density — which is on top of the hundreds of units that could be built today under existing zoning.

    Second, rezones do not “create” new development; at best they simply enable it. Market conditions must exist, property owners must be willing to sell or partner, developers must be engaged, and financiers must put up the $$$. Try as we might, we can’t just wish new development into existence based on our exuberance and the coming of rail transit.

    That said, there appear to be a number of flaws in the report. I haven’t read all 89 pages of it, but some things are just incongruous. If you want to engage in some useful criticism of these recommendations, don’t just rant like your letter does. Get down in the weeds with this. And let’s engage with some of the neighbors in Roosevelt; this thing didn’t just arise out of City Hall by itself.

    Remember, back in 2005 or so the Roosevelt neighbors undertook their successful YIMBY campaign — Yes In My Back Yard — to get Sound Transit to put the station over in the center of their community, instead of the cheaper location along the edge of the freeway. Do your homework; you can’t diss on these folks as just more NIMBYS.

    1. This location will be highly desirable, by virtue of its connectivity to downtown and the rest of the city; There will be no shortage of people looking to scoop up property and develop it. People are putting in TOD around Othello, and that’s FAR less desirable land, while we’re in the doldrums of a housing bust. What we zone now in Roosevelt is what developers will build in the next decade, and once those lots are built, they’ll be there for at least another decade; there is a limited window to get this upzone right.

      Station area upzones should begin with the presumption of no parking minimums and 65′ height limits. The fact that there is any SF zoning even left in this designated urban village indicates the unseriousness of this proposal. This is a recipe for a handful of very expensive low-rise apartments and fabulously expensive 5000-sq-ft houses. It’s exactly like Adam said in his earlier post on the topic: Seattle zoning itself to death.

      1. Nearly all of the single-family zoning remaining in the Roosevelt Urban Village is on the fringe of the district in blocks that are stable and well-maintained by homeowners — the very last places that would or should be redeveloped. Your invoking “fabulously expensive 5000-sq-ft houses” in this neighborhood reveals your ignorance. Please, go acquaint yourself with the neighborhood.

        Yes, you can make a case that even higher densities are warranted, but we don’t need to declare war on single-family homeowners. Please, look at the zoning map. Print it out at 11×17″ like I did and see what’s being proposed. If there’s not enough ultimate density allowed, then increase it nearer the center. Most of the SF zones are just fine.

      2. I should have been more clear. Under this proposed upzone, there will still be lots zoned for SF-5000, and that is what I meant by 5000 sq-ft houses.

        Those houses may not be fabulously expensive now, but they will be when North Link is built out. The whole point of transit as a development tool is that it raises the value of patches of land and simultaneously provides a high-quality car alternative. I have nothing against single-family homes in general, but it is insane to zone for single-family (large-lot single family, at that) within close walking distance of a station, and the stability and well-maintainedness of the neighborhood does not alter that.

      3. I should add, also, that the question is not whether this station area will get redeveloped, but into what and by whom. Homeowners in SF zones will eventually be bought out by wealthy individuals who might decide the existing house isn’t to their taste and build a new one. If those areas are zoned for multifamily, the same will happen but with apartments and developers; it just might happen sooner.

        Under any scenario, the people who live their now are eventually going to cash out. The only question is whether we end up with a small number of very expensive houses or a larger number of more reasonably-priced apartments or townhomes.

      4. SF-5000 is the minimum size of lot per detached residence, not the potential SF of the structure itself. I believe it’s the smallest minimum single-family lot zoned by the city (there are also SF-7200 and SF-9600 areas, IIRC).

      5. SF-5000 is a zoning classification, and indicates that new lots platted in that zone should be a minimum of 5,000 square feet each. But much of Seattle was platted and developed with smaller lot sizes (4,000 being most common). Result being SF-5000 designation often covers lots much smaller than 5,000SF. I haven’t had time to investigate the Roosevelt district, but I’d be very surprised if all or even most SF lots are 5,000SF or more.

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