37 Replies to “Support the SLU Rezone”

  1. Allow me to insert a disclaimer that this video was made by Vulcan. This company already owns a significant portion of SLU land. That being said, the rezone is in most aspects a good idea. I do fear the gentrification will drive out those businesses who established themselves in that neighborhood before it was cool. I’d love to see some property tax freezes for established homes and small businesses established before, say, 2005.

    1. I agree with you on this one, but you might want to phrase it in a way other than “before it was cool”. I think a lot of people think it makes $en$e to preserve some of the neighborhoods cultural capital, but that line sounds pretty sentimental.

    2. I don’t think any kind of property tax freeze is warranted in this case. The neighborhood is changing and moving to a much higher density which is appropriate for how close it is to Downtown. Most of the property owners are making out like bandits and the smaller businesses will either move to cheaper space or enjoy the added business from the folks moving in to work or live in the area. There are also a lot of new small businesses that are coming into the neighborhood.

    3. I’d love to see some property tax freezes for established homes and small businesses established before, say, 2005

      Already part of the law. Property tax bills are extremely limited in the amount they can climb year-to-year, regardless of the change in assessed value. The exact percentage of the cap has slipped my mind, but current owners will not experience any kind of sudden spike in their tax bills.

      However, if ownership of the property changes hands, the tax bill will reset based on the new assessed value. The new owner will then be protected from any further tax spikes if the value suddenly increases further (so buy land now, before the upzone and value spike, and enjoy the current tax levels forever!)

      1. As someone who has been paying property tax in the State for decades I can assure you that’s absolute bunk. The total the county can collect on their general assessment is capped and they took the max every year even when it exceeded property values. Individual property assessments and therefore the taxes owe jump around wildly from year to year without any decent reason. If you look at Parcel Viewer you can see it for yourself. What happens is the County shifts the burden of the property tax to residential owners by grossly under assessing commercial property (like 50% undervalued) and won’t even adjust when there’s a sale.

        2007 to 2008 my property assessment went up 11%. From 2008 to 2012, you know, when real estate prices dropped 20-25%, my assessment has gone up 2%. So when times are good they stick it to you but when values go down taxes stay high. They just keep tacking on that maximum increase… because they can. And these increases don’t even touch all the other fees, levies and charges that keep getting added.

      2. I was actually thinking of Referendum 47, which had a “value averaging” clause to limit tax burden in the case of sudden property value spikes. But after doing some digging, it looks like that particular clause was struck down by the supreme court. I know I found something else on this back when we were talking about the Roosevelt upzone, but this time my Google-fu is coming up with nothing.

        In any case, our state’s tax system is horribly broken, and needs to be rewritten from the ground up.

      3. The King County property tax “limit” is nothing like Prop 13 in CA. It’s a total scam disguised as a cap that for years was used as an automatic increase. Politicians buy votes and to fund that they have to increase taxes revenue. The fact is the Washington State legislature has increased spending every year for the last forever. “Cuts” are smaller increases than what they had projected/hoped for.

      4. King County tax records are back up online so I checked my actual tax bills which they’ll show back to 2010. From 2010 to 2012 the actual amount due with no significant change in voter approved levies increased 23%. That’s when home values have been at best flat. If that doesn’t qualify as a spike I don’t know what does. But as far as developers in SLU, yeah they’ll be fine since the County keeps assessments on commercial property nice and low.

    1. Smart people can also reach a decision as to how to proceed which is what is happening with the rezone. I am in favor of the taller towers closer to the Lake.

    2. Their site doesn’t really make it clear what their actual agenda is. They are clear that they oppose the currently proposed heights, but not totally clear about what they do want. They say they are in favor of growth, but it’s not clear how much.

  2. Yesterday, STB came to me, in the form of their annual reader survey, and asked me how I thought they could improve their blog. This is a good example of how they can improve. Instead of presenting just one side of an issue, present both.

    1. That’s false equivalence. We don’t have to debate whether density in the center of the city is good or not every time we talk about it. It’s good. We need it to prevent sprawl and climate change, to give people choices.

  3. This is also an issue that speaks to who knows what’s best for a neighborhood; the people who actually live in the neighborhood, or advocates who live dozens of miles away?

      1. Neither. When I saw this post, it made me wonder if there was some other group or argument against the rezone that wasn’t being presented here. I did a quick search, and found a group that’s against the rezone, and posted a link. STB wants to improve? This is one way they can. Presenting both for and against on issues, then letting the reader decide.

      2. Blogs are not objective journalism and the expectation they should be is irrational. If there are folks reading the blog who are opposed to the rezone I’d be happy to hear from them about why they favor that position. I think having an opportunity for higher rise development that won’t shade an adjacent park is a great chance to increase density.

    1. Of course, the people who work, play, own property, and otherwise spend time in the neighborhood don’t matter at all, because they don’t have beds there.

    1. So tell us why Vulcan is wrong, rather than just carping about STB posting a video from Vulcan when STB happens to agree with it.

      1. Because corporations are evil, and a company like Vulcan trying to make more money is bad. /sarcasm

        I dont see why some people are against others making money. Especially in this case, when they are making massive improvements to a neglected neigborhood. Sure they are making money off of it, but at the same time they are making it better, and promoting transit (somthing this blog agrees with).

  4. Not to be a negative nancy, but that blog supposedly representing a group of stakeholders we are supposedly ignoring has a total of 3! comments since April. Since April. While those stakeholders might exist, that blog is not a representation of any interest group, and STB is not at fault for failing to link to its representation of this issue.
    Plus, SLU used to be a sh*thole. In the city core. Now its not. Lets have more of that!

  5. Sam my parents live in the neighborhood. They and a strong majority of the neighbors they have spoken with support the changes. Yes my parents will probably lose their view, but they realize that the changes coming to the neighborhood are more valuable than a view. Also many of the business owners they’ve spoken with (even the ones that were there before 2005) speak favorably of the changes. I’ll give you one thing if the neighborhood doesn’t want these changes than yes it is wrong for these outsiders to step in and yell build taller. From what I’ve seen the neighborhood supports it so it’s just as wrong for you and people from Queen Anne hill to step in and say you can’t do that, it’ll ruin our view!! But hey suburbia’s been telling the city “you can’t do that!” For forty years that’s why we have huge wide streets and pathetic transit in downtown.

    1. It’s great, except for the assumption that you have to “pull in” the buildings to make space for people. If you want to make space for people, make space for people. We don’t need to make our streets even WIDER to do that.

      1. I generally agree. Many narrow streets can be beautiful places for people.

        I found the parts about the need for authentic variety in the public streetscape to be the most compelling.

      2. The woman who advocated for “pulling in” the buildings did also advocate “stretching them out”, while making a vertical motion with her hands.

        In other words, she seemed to be advocating for a more appropriate scale of sidewalk width to surrounding vertical height.

        I find that streets like Terry Ave, with narrow sidewalks and tall buildings, tend to feel like alleyways, whereas narrow sidewalks in front of 4-story turn-of-the-century apartments work just fine in most parts of Capitol Hill.

    2. Pike and Pine in downtown have wide sidewalks at the cost of a narrower car part. Just replicate that. It’s awesome.

  6. Has anyone seen any proposals from Vulcan for what they want to do with the blocks bounded by 9th, Mercer, Fairview and Valley? These 4-ish blocks are in a prime location next to the lake. I can only imagine that Vulcan would want to build as high as possible to maximize the high end office,apts and condos there…

  7. Friday Evening Count: Still holding at 800-900 ballots to reject the measure. That hasn’t moved much in two days. Still too close to call.

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