Here are Seattle Transit Blog’s endorsements for selected suburban races in the general election. As always, our endorsements are meant to focus entirely on their transit and land use positions.
Longtime readers know our core positions well: in favor of transit investment, concentration of resources into high-quality corridors, upzones, and pedestrian and bicycle access improvements. We are also skeptical of taxes on development, parking minimums, and the assumption that all parts of the region must be cheap and easy to access with a car.
Yes on Tacoma Proposition 3 and Proposition A – Much like Move Seattle, Tacoma is going big for infrastructure this November. Propositions 3 and A would fund $500m in improvements over 10 years, funded by a mix of utility taxes, a property levy, and a 0.1% Transportation Benefit District (TBD) sales tax, while also leveraging state and federal grants. Though using sales tax for roads is regrettable, this measure does not exhaust Tacoma’s TBD authority, leaving room for an additional .1% for transit in a future measure. Moreover, Tacoma needs basic road repair and street upgrades, and the city’s complete streets requirements ensure that rebuilt streets will be better for pedestrians, cyclists, and transit riders alike. Indeed, 15% of the package is dedicated to bike infrastructure.
City of Redmond Mayor: John Marchione has smartly managed Redmond’s rapid development since his first election as Mayor in 2007, and sits on the Sound Transit Board. His opponent, Steve Fields, is running as a government effectiveness advocate in a campaign that has focused on traffic concerns and the alleged neglect of neighborhoods outside of the growing centers in Downtown and Overlake. While Marchione’s talents and credentials as an advocate for transit and urban development are clear, Fields’ campaign has been oriented toward those who are most uncomfortable with growth.
County Council Races
King County Council District No. 6: Claudia Balducci has been an impressive advocate for transit as both a Bellevue Council member and Mayor. She’s a member of the Sound Transit Board and chair of the PSRC Transportation Policy Board. Balducci supported East Link to Bellevue and Redmond, has a deep knowledge of Eastside and regional transit issues, and recently has been an effective voice for the Eastside in shaping ST3. Jane Hague remains skeptical of ST3, emphasizing concerns about taxes and neighborhood impacts. Both have positive records on transit-oriented development.
City Council Races
Bellevue Council Position No. 3: John Chelminiak has been a solid advocate for transit and for smart investments in Bellevue’s infrastructure to support the densification of neighborhoods along East Link. His opponent is Don Davidson, a former mayor of Bellevue before his election defeat in 2013. Davidson has continued to oppose East Link, most recently participating in a mischievous challenge to Sound Transit’s permits in the Mercer Slough area.
Bellevue Council Position No. 5: Vandana Slatter sees transportation funding as a city priority and supports improved transportation choices including light rail and rapid bus service. Michelle Hilhorst advocates for more bus service and RapidRide routes in Bellevue. But Hilhorst also positioned herself as a defender of South Bellevue neighborhoods from ‘rail impacts’ during the East Link debate. Perhaps a close call, but we have to endorse Slatter because of lingering concerns over Hilhorst’s anti-East Link advocacy.
Bellevue Council Position No. 7: Jennifer Robertson has a mixed record on transit issues, but nevertheless stands ahead of her opponent in this race. She worked on the Council teams that negotiated the Memorandum of understanding with Sound Transit. She’s recently been supportive of expanded transit, though we were underwhelmed by her support for more park-and-rides in Bellevue. She supports a HOV lane on Bellevue Way, an interesting project that could greatly improve transit reliability in that area. Lyndon Heywood opposes increases in transit funding, has not declared a position on ST3, and supports privatization of Metro.
Burien Council Position 6: Austin Bell has a planning background and better transit is central to his campaign. He has a realistic plan to buy more night bus service with a Transportation Benefit District. He also understands that more housing supply is crucial to preventing displacement.
Kirkland Council Position No. 2: Shelley Kloba is supportive of transit. On land use issues, we noticed she was the only Kirkland Council member to express appropriate skepticism over onerous recent regulations on multifamily parking. Her opponent, Jason Chinchilla, has no observed interest in transit or land use. [Update: Chinchilla is now robo-calling against “Metro Rapid Transit” on the Kirkland Corridor].
Kirkland Council Position No. 6: Dave Asher is a longtime Kirkland Council member with a deep knowledge of transit issues, most recently on display testifying before the Sound Transit Board. Asher is Kirkland’s representative to the Eastside Transportation Partnership, and sits on the Sound Cities Association (SCA) Regional Transit Committee. His opponent is perennial candidate Martin Morgan.
Lake Forest Park Council Position No. 4: We recommend Phillippa Kassover, an enthusiastic advocate for transit and the 522 Transit Now! Coalition.
Mercer Island Council Position 1: Incumbent Jane Brahm, while no champion of our issues, is head and shoulder above her opponent Dave Wisinteiner, who seems to be attempting to set a record for dog-whistle hysteria in his “Responsible Growth” issues page.
Mercer Island Council Position 3: Wendy Weiker has a better understanding or local and regional transit issues than her opponent Salim Nice, a strong opponent of development, transit, and density.
Mercer Island Council Position 5: Councilman and current Mayor Bruce Bassett is far preferable to his opponent, Save Our Suburbs founder Thomas Acker.
Seatac Council Position 7: State Representative and current SeaTac Mayor Mia Gregerson is a leader on South King County transit and land use issues, and she wants SeaTac to build walkable communities around the stations at Tukwila Int’l Blvd, SeaTac Airport, and Angle Lake. Her opponent’s platform is “to oppose all tax increases.”
Shoreline Council Position 2: Jessica Cafferty says public transit should be “a top priority”, and favors bike and pedestrian improvements. She also favors a “rich diversity of housing” around Link stations. Her opponent seems focused on making sure that development is “right-sized”, in context clearly meaning not too large.
Shoreline Council Position 6: Jesse Salomon understands the kind of development that will make the most of the city’s two future Link stations. His opponent is running on an explicit anti-density platform.
The STB Editorial Board currently consists of Martin H. Duke, Zach Shaner, Erica C. Barnett, and Dan Ryan. It serves at the pleasure of the Board of Directors.
66 Replies to “STB 2015 General Election Endorsements: Suburban Races”
It is okay to endorse a candidate based on your organizations values. It is NOT okay to grossly misrepresent the non endorsed candidates position as you have with Keith Scully, Ms. Cafferty’s opponent and Lorn Richey, Mr. Salomon’s opponent.
You didn’t say what the misrepresentations are so there’s no way to evaluate whether you’re right or not.
“His opponent is running on an explicit anti-density platform.”
His opponent, Lorn Richey, is running on what might best be described as a “legitimate density, based on actual studies of anticipated demand and best practices” platform.
In other words, the Editorial Board is lying about Lorn Richey’s platform in order to try to denigrate him and convince others not to vote for him. It’s disgusting, shameful and pathetic.
Sorry, but in my experience any canidate saying this is generally giving an anti-density and anti-growth dog whistle. Richey may not be anti-density and anti-growth but he’d be the exception and not the rule.
Chris, I don’t know what your experience is, but there are no dog whistles here. Learn about Lorn Richey and Keith Scully, and you’ll find that they don’t come close to being “anti-density,” but are pro-density in the right place and at the right level, not just density because of density.
From the voter’s guide:
“Shoreline is facing massive over-development because of actions taken by our City Council. City Hall’s radical rezones have spawned citizen lawsuits and threaten to displace thousands of residents…”
“This election is our best chance to stop the radical rezones and respect the wishes of residents and local businesses.”
I can’t conceive of a statement more attuned to the sensibilities of anti-growth voters.
If you had been at the City Council meetings, you would have heard massive support for Chris Roberts’ alternative, which had plenty of upzoning. You would also have heard about another upzoning alternative that I submitted the week before the vote.
Being against the radical rezone did NOT mean being against rezoning. The world is not black and white. It isn’t even shades of gray. It’s a great big rainbow of color.
“His opponent, Lorn Richey, is running on what might best be described as a “legitimate density, based on actual studies of anticipated demand and best practices” platform.”
To evaluate that, we have to know what he considers “legitimate density”, “anticipated demand”, and “best practices”. The concern is that these terms are used by anti-growth activists to freeze everything in single-family amber except whatever has already been built. What was built may have been appropriate in the 1960s when the regional population was half the size (although I believe most postwar construction is fundamentally flawed due to unwalkability), but it’s not appropriate now that Shoreline is no longer a far-out semi-rural backwater and there’s a severe housing shortage. Whether he believes in shutting down growth or not, he’s using language that many voters will assume is anti-growth if he doesn’t clarify it, and that will cause anti-growthers to support him and urbanists like STB to oppose him, again regardless of what his inner beliefs are. We can’t tell what his inner beliefs are unless he tells us, and if all his arguments are the same as those used by the anti-growthers when they don’t want to directly say their position, then it’ll be assumed he’s an anti-growther.
We have the PSRC and the Sound Transit study to give us the best idea of what demand will be there. We can also fashion a plan that is flexible enough to expand (or contract) if actual demand over time proves significantly different from expected demand.
These ideas were presented to the Council, some in specific forms, but the Council ignored or rejected them by a 4-3 vote. Lorn Richey is seeking to replace one of the four (the only one up for reelection this year). With a masters in public administration and an emphasis on urban planning, he has done this and knows what he’s talking about.
You do realize we can click through to Richey’s site and actually see how explicitly anti-density he is, don’t you? I don’t know how you think your misinformation strategy is going to work.
From Richey’s website: “Large apartment buildings should be placed for close access to transit with the least possible impact to existing homes.” Also, “Note how incumbent infers that housing up to a mile away from lightrail is ‘near’ the station.”
It is clear from that statement alone that he favors “large apartment buildings … close … to transit.” Furthermore, at public forums and speaking with voters one-on-one, he has repeatedly made the case for high-density zoning within 1/4 mile of the light rail station, with a step-down going farther out.
Many of us are opposed to the insane, inexplicable and inexcusable action taken by a slim majority in the Council. We favor high-density zoning where it is proper — close to the light rail station. But we also oppose massive upzoning extending over a mile away from the station, which will spread out growth and lead to more car traffic and no walkable community.
Get the facts!
No one believes you, Dan. You just want people anywhere but Your Backyard. Too bad there isn’t a snappy term for it.
Zach, [ad hom]. I’m well outside the rezone area, and consequently perfectly safe. Furthermore, I’ve lived most of my life in apartment buildings, and like them — but there is a major difference between the middle of a really, really large city and a suburb like Shoreline.
From Keith Scully’s website:
“Keith agrees with the majority of residents living in the light rail station planning areas–we only get one chance to do this, and we should do it right. We need to make sure we have enough land available to accommodate future housing needs — and, where possible, that land should be adjacent to high-capacity transit. But we can do that without adversely affecting neighborhoods by proceeding slowly and cautiously. Keith has worked to ensure that any upzones are reasonably sized and to make sure that they respect neighborhood character.
Keith is committed to making sure that any upzones include affordable housing protections, safeguard our environment, and, most importantly, are right-sized for Shoreline and protect our neighborhoods.”
It appears the Board’s only crime here was plagiarism from the candidates’ websites (which is not a crime).
I gather that the slate of challengers Dan is pushing so hard are all opposed to new apartments on Aurora. Correct me if I misunderstood that salient point.
I don’t think any of the candidates are opposed to new apartments on Aurora, if developers want to build them. That doesn’t really have anything to do with the rezone. The contentious rezone changes the zoning of neighborhoods that are presently SFH to 6-story apartments, without a plan for providing quality city services for the buildings and residents. I bet the feeling of residents would be a lot different if the city had a plan to make these new neighborhoods awesome.
Sarah, I don’t know where some people get their notions. NOWHERE is there ANY EVIDENCE to back up your insipid notion regarding apartments on Aurora. Stop making stupid claims!
… are you being sarcastic? I honestly can’t tell. I live in Shoreline (and am a homeowner), attend city council meetings and debates, discuss with my neighbors, and have followed the issues closely.
Sarah, you made the claim that some candidates are against apartments on Aurora. OF COURSE you’re going to be attacked on that, because your claim has NO MERIT.
Are you confusing me with another commenter? I never claimed that some of the candidates are against apartments on Aurora.
Endorsing candidates based on trasportation issues alone is reckless at best. Burien voters please fully research Austin Bell. He does not have the best interests in mind for your city.
It’s the only thing a transit blog can credibly do. If they endorse on everything else, it’s outside their area of expertise, it creates unnecessary divisions within the staff and readership, and it risks diluting and losing the transit issues. But you are free to say what’s wrong with Bell and why it’s more critical than his transit positions. Just saying he’s vaguely bad for the city sounds like a weak argument. What do you think is bad, and why should other people be concerned about it?
well… and land use :)
I’m assuming it’s inseperable from transit. :) :) Land use directly affects ridership, the people’s ability to get around (i.e., mobility), and how often they have to travel beyond walking distance.
And that brings up another topic — the parking garage. Sound Transit is planning a 500-space garage right across the freeway from the station. If new density is concentrated within 1/4 mile (for the highest density) to 1/2 mile (for slightly lower density), then just about all the new people will walk to the station. If, however, they construct new apartment buildings 3/4 of a mile to over a mile from the station, a lot of those people are driving, and clogging up the access road (i.e. 185th St.) that others will use to drive to the station.
If, however, they construct new apartment buildings 3/4 of a mile to over a mile from the station, a lot of those people are driving
And if they don’t construct those apartment buildings where are they going to go? Not closer to the station! They’ll be deep in the sprawl, driving a very long distance to the station or all the way into Seattle.
and clogging up the access road (i.e. 185th St.) that others will use to drive to the station.
The argument here, I think, is that the housing is bad because too many people will be trying to use the station.
The parking garage will never be big enough and there will be rationing by time of arrival or by price. With decent incentives, a lot of 3/4 to 1 mile-out residents will walk, bike, or take transit, especially if Shoreline does a halfway decent job of providing safe bike access and transit priority. Which our endorsees will help ensure.
Sadly, you mistake responsibility for anti-transit positions.
Regarding the Shoreline races, Jessica Cafferty and Jesse Salomon (your endorsed candidates) haven’t the faintest clue what Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) is. The former candidate supports, and the latter candidate voted for, a rezone that destroys any hope of true TOD, because it extends upzoning far from the light rail station (over a mile away at one point).
TOD is a proven method of city planning whereby the walkable area around a transit hub (basically 1/4 to, at most, 1/2 mile walking distance) is zoned for high density, with lower density in the immediate area around it. But the rezone passed by the Shoreline City Council extends high density zoning to more than 3/4 of a mile from the station.
Furthermore, the only study done, for Sound Transit, noted that demand for new housing in the area will total about 700 new housing units over the next 20 years, but the rezone provides for over 10,000 — which the study itself warned would lead to land-banking and blight.
It all adds up to a massively flawed plan that will result in more cars and less mass transit use. Yet you support the candidates who support that plan. You need to learn more about what’s really going on in Shoreline.
By contrast, both Keith Scully and Lorn Richey are calling for a scaled-down rezone, focusing on the immediate area around the light rail station. They support reasonable, responsible, rational growth — not the irrational nonsense passed by the City Council.
700 new housing units over twenty years?! You can’t possibly believe that nonsense. In fact, the report projects that nearly 5,000 units will be added over that time period. And if zoning allowed it, more is certainly possible. Your analysis also posits that no one could possibly travel by any other mode than walking or driving – the 15 minute bikeshed for the station covers damn near half of shoreline. And eliminating the downtown portion of shorelines bus routes allows service hours to be redeployed to excellent east west service on shorelines grid.
In short, what you believe to be rationality sounds an awful lot like NIMBYism.
The report I refer to was created by nationally-renown company BAE Urban Economics, and is available on the Shoreline City website at http://shorelinewa.gov/home/showdocument?id=15888 — read it yourself.
Have you tried riding a bicycle around Shoreline? You have to be in pretty good shape. And where, exactly would you put that bike once you get on (and off!) the light rail?
As for blight, look at the areas of Briarcrest where houses are boarded up after being bought by foreign entities. Look at the houses where Arabella II was planned almost a decade ago and still not built.
You pro-construction people can yap all you want, but you don’t have the facts to back up your irrational comments.
One more thing — I’ve lived in apartments for most of my life, and almost all of my adult life. I’ve loved it. But Shoreline is not a place for that, because the roads aren’t big enough to handle car traffic, and the bus system isn’t going to come close to being able to keep cars off the roads.
I hate to break it to you but Shoreline already has quite a few apartments including some large complexes. There is lots of capacity for more especially around the light rail stations (3/4 mile is not a big stretch from 1/2), along Greenwood, Aurora, 15th, Bothell Way, 145th, 185th, and 205th.
28% of Shoreline’s residential units are apartments. Does that mean we should double that figure? Get a clue.
And there is an enormous difference between 1/2 mile and 3/4 mile when it comes to walkability. Experts have worked on this question for decades, and have found that 1/4 mile is the limit for a sizable percentage of people and 1/2 mile is the limit for the vast majority of people. That 1/2 mile number has become the city planning standard for a reason.
Remember, too, that the 1/2 limit is not “as the crow flies” but as a person walks, so those fun concentric circles we see on many maps are meaningless.
And where, exactly would you put that bike once you get on (and off!) the light rail?
Perhaps you’ve encountered bike racks and bike cages?
the bus system isn’t going to come close to being able to keep cars off the roads.
That’s an awfully deterministic statement. Perhaps it’s why we’ve endorsed candidates that are going to make improving bus connections a priority.
If you build the housing they will come. I would consider moving to Shoreline if there’s a unit within walking distance of the station in a walkable neighborhood. Every day you hear about people who can’t find a unit in Seattle that’s convenient to a good transit line or can’t afford Seattle’s prices. Some of them would consider Shoreline if it weren’t so low density and hard to get to things. (Although of course it’s easier in Shoreline than in Kent or Lynnwood or Issaquah.) Maybe not all 10,000 would rented/sold right away but a good half of them would.
As for blight, are you serious? In Shoreline? Like Rainier Valley was in the 1980s? I don’t think so. The idea that apartments lower property values and run down the neighborhood has been completely discredited. What’s deteriorating the neighborhood in Roosevelt? Not the new apartments. It’s the lots with a notable lack of new apartments; i.e., the Sisleyville Slums.
Who will come? Shoreline’s own survey shows that people will move here for single-family housing, duplexes, or (at most) town houses — but nowhere in that survey do they show any serious demand for six-story apartment buildings. (http://cosweb.ci.shoreline.wa.us/uploads/attachments/cck/council/staffreports/2015/staffreport082415-8a.pdf)
Riiiight…. like the blight of having to dodge rats on at least five occasions during afternoon rush hour on my bicycle commute from 15th NE down 180th. There’s plenty of affordable apartment options in Shoreline right now, with vacancies even, withing walking distance to Aurora rapid transit, or the numerous park n rides, or other buses that serve the area. What are you waiting for?
“If you build the housing they will come. ”
So, are you suggesting that by “building it”, ghosts from the past will magically appear from the cornfields to reside in such structures? Magical thinking has no place in planning and community dev.
Look at all the people appearing from all over the world to live in Lynnwood, Montlake Terrace, and Everett. Shoreline will definitely attract people if they just build for them.
Of course there’s a ceiling in housing demand, but it will only reverse if the tech companies and Boeing start massive layoffs and people move away, as happened in 2008. That’s not likely in the foreseeable future, although there are outlines of how it might happen. (An unfixable computer-security crack that turns people against the Internet, a meltdown in the federal government’s operation due to political polarization, climate/oil/war problems that halt intercontinental shipping, recessions in the rest of the world, etc.) But it’s not something we can base our designs on now.
The market for six-story apartments depends on how convenient they are to the Link stations and RapidRide stations, and whether there’s a full range of businesses/facilities meeting daily needs around them. There’s a huge pent-up demand for TOD or at least semi-TOD, much more than we’ve been building. According to Christopher Leinberger in 2000 (so a little dated), 33% of Americans want to live in walkable density (like the U-District or Greenwood, not necessarily like downtown), 33% want to live in low density (like this part of Shoreline), and 33% are satisfied either way. But our built environment is 80% low density and car-dependent. That means 13% of people are forced to live in low density against their desire, and 33% would be content with medium density if it were built. Since 2000 the housing supply has become more balanced but it’s still heavily skewed toward low-density car-dependence so there’s a long way to go. Where can you live conveniently without a car, 15-minute transit full time, and a full range of services within walking distance? A few Seattle neighborhoods, right in downtown Bellevue, Redmond, and Kirkland, and a few units near Aurora in Shoreline. Not even in dowtown Lynnwood, although at least 200th St SW is not horribly inconvenient like most of the county is.
“The former candidate supports, and the latter candidate voted for, a rezone that destroys any hope of true TOD, because it extends upzoning far from the light rail station (over a mile away at one point).”
I wish Seattle had that problem. We’ve been doing the opposite, cutting off upzones just a block or two from light rail stations (Mt Baker, Roosevelt, Beacon Hill). Not off completely, it tapers down, but at 60′ or 40′ which leaves significant capacity off the table. (And would lessen demand for housing in Shoreline.)
If a mile-wide upzone is really beyond the 10-year demand, developers will focus on the parcels closest to the station where people most want to live and which can command the highest price. But it will dependent on which parcels have owners willing to sell or develop, which may not fit the closeness ideal 100%. But I doubt you’ll see several tall buildings at the edge of the zone and a big gap between them and the station. Demand doesn’t work like that. It can for one or two buildings, but not several. If the demand is not there, most current owners will probably keep their houses rather than selling them to land-bankers, because they still want to live there, right? In any case, Shoreline is so desirable and has such good schools that even if land-blankers buy up a block or more, they’ll easily find middle-class tenants willing to keep the houses full and maintained.
You raise several good points. I’d like to answer a couple of them.
First, right now 28% of housing units in Shoreline are apartments. The city’s own study showed that the demand for more apartments in Shoreline is almost nonexistent, which is why (and get ready to have your head spin!) the city is seriously talking about spending our tax money to advertise the new apartments. That’s right — developers build and take their profits at our expense!
Secondly, with the enormous, radical rezone we already have speculators sniffing around, buying up properties not only in the rezone area but also in places you wouldn’t expect. I’ve even seen signs in Richmond Highlands!
Density is a good thing even if the transit isn’t there to support it. I’m for as broad of an upzoned area as possible.
If the demand isn’t there, then after a few projects fail there won’t by any more development — there’s no harm in lifting the regulatory restriction.
Meanwhile, since Seattle is doing such a pathetic job of absorbing housing demand, it’s actually quite likely that housing within easy bike or bus distance of a Link Station providing huge time savings over driving will be in high demand.
Here’s what I find confusing about arguments like this: If the demand isn’t there for the capacity the rezone generates, what’s the problem. Developers (and the people who loan them money) aren’t idiots; if the demand isn’t there they simply won’t invest in development there. In the unlikely event that housing is built without demand, eventually the prices will have to drop, which might make the developers and investors unhappy but is hardly a bad thing in given the affordability crisis one city over. Also, while I find the suggestion there will only be demand for 700 units in 20 years wildly implausible, if you believe it I don’t know why you’d bother talking about “true” TOD at all, since there’s evidently not enough demand for much of any of it to make sense.
Excellent question! There does, at first, appear to be an anomaly here.
The problem is that when the demand isn’t there you get a lot of speculators. They actually had their signs up all over the city within a week of the Council vote. Speculators, unlike developers, are high-risk, high-gain types (developers prefer low-risk, high-gain).
Speculators will buy the cheapest properties they can get, then rent them out for several years, and then board them up and watch property values fall. (It has been happening in Briarcrest already.) Then they pick up neighboring properties, and eventually sell blocks of 3, 4, or more properties to a developer.
The developer gets the land in a block, so they don’t need to worry about having enough space to build an entire apartment complex. In addition, because property prices have been falling lately (by the time they come in), there will be government money available for “urban renewal” projects. Meanwhile, people have been essentially forced out of their homes and neighborhoods by planned blight.
This process is called land banking. You can look it up.
But if there’s no demand, there are no developers, so those speculators will lose money if they allow property values to deteriorate.
And the flip side of falling property values is affordable housing. Bad for those homeowners, good for poor people, and hardly a public policy emergency.
@ Ron Swanson
Where, specifically, in the report are you getting your ‘5,000 units’ from?
Got anything better than immature NIMBY name-calling?
Dude, it’s on page 21. 4,657 housing units projected growth for shoreline 2010-2025. I rounded up a bit. Those are PSRC numbers, notoriously overestimated for deep suburban locations, but underestimated for urban locales. See, for instance, many Seattle neighborhoods that have hit multiples of their long term growth projections already. Shoreline will be comparable in travel time to the CBD, Cap Hill, and the UW to those neighborhoods when link opens. If multifamily is built, demand will follow.
Besides, this is another example confusing the *ability* to build larger with the *requirement*, much like the HALA opponents do – jackbooted thugs with Agenda 21 marching orders to drive out single family homeowners seen to rule the imaginations of many a NIMBY. If the demand isn’t there, as you posit, then lenders are not going to finance the projects, and existing owners won’t get offers to buy and nothing will happen.
“Dude,” that’s the entire city! We’re talking about a small portion of the city. Get a clue!
And get your head out of your butt on “Agenda 21.” That nutjob conspiracy notion has been around for years, and is full of crap.
Wow… that escalated quickly! NIMBY to Agenda 21 in mere seconds. Funny how quickly the pejoratives and accusations of conspiracy theories get thrown out to avoid discussing actual issue in a fact-based manner.
Ah, so we are talking about a “small portion” of the city being rezoned then, and not the “massive rezone” being demonized above? Intellectual consistency!
That said, the PSRC figure for the whole city is the only empirical number in that document. The 700 unit number is based on vague handwaving about only the district site being suitable for development, and assumes status quo policy on the part of the city elsewhere. Obviously, policy has not been status quo since the 2013 date of this report, hence the NIMBY backlash.
You’re wrong again.
The rezone is “massive” when compared with what is needed in the area. It is “small” with regard to the percentage of the entire city that was rezoned. No inconsistency at all.
I was inspired by a recent visit to the bay area, where anti growth NIMBYs have festooned the landscape with anti agenda 21 billboards to the point the local planning agency felt the need to distribute a fact sheet on the subject:
You may be a perfectly rational ‘smart growth’ advocate, but look to the left and right of you at the public comment meetings – there’s plenty of true believers on your side.
And I am looking at plenty of facts along with my humorous invective, like the actual upzone:
Looks to me like the demonized “mile away from the station” rezone area is actually at 185th and Aurora, a major transit corridor in its own right!
That rezone area looks about right. Looking at the area and relative heights rather than the absolute heights, it puts the highest level through five blocks of the station on three sides, and ten blocks on the north side. Five blocks is a quarter mile, ten blocks is a half mile, so there’s your 5-minute and 10-minute walk circles. It might be argued that 195th is at the far fringe, but it’s the side of the road the station is on, and Shoreline may have other reasons for building up north of the community center and toward Aurora Village.
The dogleg in the southeast corner is a little surprising since that’s beyond a half mile, but it could be an independent upzone for 15th NE, which is the third-largest north-south street, and I don’t know what the red “CB” zone there means.
The penninsula on the west, looking to all the world like Golden Gate Park, does indeed go to Aurora, the site of other urban villages around RapidRide stations. It also runs along 185th, which is exactly where the higher density should be, between Auora and the station. I was hoping Shoreline would upzone that corridor and not squander the opportunity.
As for absolute heights, the highest is 70′ (7 stories), then 45′ (4 stories), then 35′ (3 stories). That’s less than my ideal but it’s pretty good for a suburb with a higher SF/NIMBY percentage than the city. Mt Baker is around 85′ highest and 40′ second, so almost the same, and Mt Baker has less excuse than Shoreline does for being hesitant to build up.
@Ron Swanson – Throw me a reach-around and at least have the courtesy to post a link to page 21, brah!
I don’t mean to get into particulars, but do you really trust the mf’ing PSRC’s data and market studies? Did they not publish a report months ago about Ballard and Issaquah being ‘regional job centers’? Ridiculous! Where are the jobs? At Trader Joe’s? Conveyor belt sushi place? Check in gal at the 24 hour fitness?
Bellevue #5 really isn’t a close call– Hilhorst may be no Kevin Wallace but she has played to East Link opponents and earned a hefty contribution from Kemper Freeman (at least last election cycle, she did). Her reputation as a neighborhood leader in Newport Hills is also prone to put her at odds against Bellevue’s need to absorb a serious amount of growth in the near future. Slatter isn’t a staunch transit advocate, by any means, but she’s expressed a much more positive openness to growth and East Link.
I also wished there would be a non-endorsement for #7. Long-time readers will remember she was part of the council caucus opposing the Bellevue Way/112th alignment for Link. She may have credibility on paper (she’ll constantly cite her involvement on Bellevue’s “East Link Best Practices Commitee”) but it’s largely in the form of “protecting neighborhoods from transit” rather than making transit useful to neighborhoods.
There is a big legislative race for 30th LD representative this Fall between incumbent Carol Gregory and challenger Teri Hickel.
STB should consider making an endorsement in this race as what the legislature does can have a profound affect on transportation and land use issues.
What about proposition 1 in Snohomish county for Community Transit?
LOL at the idea of Keith Scully being an anti-transit candidate. He used to be legal director for Futurewise.
The bright side of the opposing comments’ claims is, if STB misinterpreted some opponents as more anti-urban and anti-transit than they are, it means that both candidates are better than they appeared, and the district will be in good hands (or at least OK hands) no matter which of them wins.
There were some strident statements above regarding the Shoreline council races above, but I this blog is doing a disservice to its readers by making endorsements in races it knows little about. Everybody I’ve spoken to in Shoreline is very pro-transit, and by extension pro-density to various degrees, but the current city council really blew it and demonstrated a lack of competency at governance when it came to the rezone of 185th and the surrounding neighborhoods. There is a much bigger issue facing Shoreline soon — how to handle the 145th transit corridor and pay for all the required improvements — and I don’t plan on voting for an incumbent who doesn’t have a strong grasp on the issues at hand.
The text of the endorsements makes absolutely no reference to the transit positions of the people we didn’t endorse. No one is hurling accusations of being ‘anti-transit’.
It may be that people are pro-density “to various degrees” — that’s true of everyone, I suppose — but no one has successfully argued that the candidates we endorsed are in favor of less density than their opponents. In that light, if you don’t understand STB’s endorsements then you really don’t understand what its values are.
I can’t think of a better way to pay for the improvements on 145th than increasing the tax base through the maximum amount of development possible.
Martin, you need to take into account that not all “development” is created equal. Commercial properties are valued more highly than residential properties. That’s true even for multi-story buildings — a four-story office building on top of one (ground floor) retail story will have a higher assessed value than a five-story apartment complex on top of that same retail floor.
While Washington is one of only nine states in the country that does not have a higher property tax rate for commercial property than it does for residential, the higher assessed valuation will still result in higher property tax revenues.
Furthermore, office buildings use far less water and create far less sewage than apartments. (Very few people take a shower or do their laundry at the office.) As a result, that type of development requires far less infrastructure. It also requires less police protection. So office space not only brings in a lot more tax revenue, it also costs the city government and local public utilities a lot less.
In general, residential properties do not raise enough tax revenue to pay for the additional costs. So a massive apartment construction spree will only result in larger budget deficits, and therefore higher taxes.
By contrast, multistory commercial development brings in far more tax revenue than it costs. If Shoreline were to reverse its hostility to business (city government officials won’t even answer questions about building office space, and the staff drives new businesses, such as the Dick’s restaurant that eventually went to Edmonds, away), then we could have decent development and lower taxes.
But the majority on the Council either doesn’t understand this or refuses to acknowledge it.
I agree that the density of 145th needs to be drastically increased. However, the scope/scale of improvements required is such that it probably can’t be paid for simply by levying fees on developers. It also mostly doesn’t belong to the city of Shoreline, and it’s not a priority for Seattle or King County. Which isn’t to say that nothing should be done about it – but it’s going to take a highly competent city council working with the city staff to make it happen.
In the Cafferty v. Scully race, I think they are not that different in their beliefs about the necessity of density and transit. My perception is that Scully is being a little disingenuous in order to gain votes. However, given his prior roles with Futurewise and the planning commission, he strikes me as the more experienced candidate (when taking a transit viewpoint). In the Salomon v. Richey race, I have greater confidence in Richey’s ability to represent the people of Shoreline and cope with the burden of governance. I do not have the same confidence in Salomon. He seems overwhelmed and not particularly interested in being less overwhelmed. I am sure he is a nice person who wants the best for the region as a whole, but I don’t think he has a strong idea of what to do locally to make transit better.
Regarding Kloba vs. Chinchilla for Kirkland, Pos #2. I just recently moved and registered to vote in Kirkland in the last few weeks and today received a robocall from the Chinchilla campaign opposing installing BRT on the cross-Kirkland corridor. There’s your answer to his position, you may want to revise your endorsement notes to note his opposition or contact his campaign for clarification as to the extent of his opposition.
Thanks for the heads-up. We’ve made the update. Obviously, this won’t affect our endorsement.
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