Andrew already wrote about the City Council’s decision not to extract more taxes, but instead to simply ban outright construction above 160′ along Lake Union. The Times had a breakdown of who stood where:
Joining Bagshaw in supporting 160-foot limits were Sally Clark, Jean Godden, Bruce Harrell, Nick Licata and Tom Rasmussen. Richard Conlin said “240 feet makes a whole lot of sense” but added he was prepared to support 160 feet…
Councilmembers Tim Burgess and Mike O’Brien said Monday they favored the concept of 24-story towers in exchange for extraordinary public benefits. Although they had balked at the mayor’s proposal for so-called Block 59, they said other options might have made added height more appealing.
I think reasonable density advocates can disagree about the extent that various development taxes deter developers from building as many units as they otherwise might. I therefore at least understand the views of Burgess and O’Brien. And Mr. Conlin is clearly taking the most density he can get. In an email exchange with me he confirmed he was “fine with 240 feet” and spoke well the “compromise” that gets “as much residential as possible.” As far as I’m concerned he’s the hero of this sorry episode.
But the six councilmembers that pushed a strict height limit were clearly pursuing a different objective altogether. Curious as to what considerations overcame the enormous moral imperative for as much density as possible, I emailed all six of the 160′ faction. Responses are below the jump.
A Licata staffer pointed me to his blog entry on the subject, where he argues for “greater public views of Lake Union and less shadowing on Lake Union Park,” as well that the shorter buildings “will be more in scale.”
Rasmussen also cited the shadowing effect, and that he wants relatively short buildings along all our waterfronts. He also said he supported higher density than the draft plan suggests in the Cascade neighborhood and in the “panhandle” along Westlake west of Lake Union Park. (If the unit counts are indeed the same, this would be exactly what I asked height skeptics to do.)
A Godden staffer also mentioned shadows and gently declining heights toward the waterline.
Bagshaw, Clark, and Harrell did not respond.