The weather is supposed to be exceptional Thursday, but this is important enough to spend a couple of hours indoors, even if it’s nice outside:
The City Council’s Planning, Land Use and Sustainability Committee is holding a public hearing to take comments on our revised zoning proposal. The meeting is on May 1, 2014 at 6:00 p.m., in the 2100 Building, located at 2100 24th Ave. South. Please check the Committee agenda a few days before the meeting for more information.
For density opponents, it’s never the right time to allow for growth, and they’ve successfully delayed this action several times while the Rainier Valley suffers. The North Rainier neighborhood is currently a car sewer sitting atop one of the biggest transit hubs in King County, but could become a place to go rather than a place to get through.
Opponents from the adjacent, affluent, single-family Mt. Baker neighborhood (not actually a subject of the rezone) trot out the usual meaningless objections to “scale” and “character,” as well as the “but where will they park?” question straight out of 1965. If density and transit can’t work here, with Link, three (7, 48, 8/106) frequent bus lines (even after coming Metro cuts), transit-dependent populations, and two other bus lines providing 360 degree transit mobility, then it can’t work anywhere.
Dense development near the station will bring jobs to the most economically challenged sector of Seattle, jobs that don’t require a graduate degree. It will provide more accessible housing and retail for the transit dependent. It will also increase transit usage in the city by focusing people and attractions in one of the few places where our transit system will remain robust, come what may. Furthermore, there would be more housing in a part of the city where rents and house prices are relatively affordable.
Here is a useful presentation on the proposed rezone. It is not nearly enough — in ever-livable Vancouver at least double the heights proposed here would go without saying — but would be a huge step forward for the neighborhood, the city, and the region. My report on the most recent of these hearings includes an embed of the (often quite reprehensible) testimony.
We lose these battles when the young people most accepting of density and with the most future at stake decide to blow it off because they think they have better things to do. Don’t let it happen again.