Seattle at night
Seattle at night. Photo by Michael Grigorian.

If you have ever attended a neighborhood or city zoning meeting you probably noticed four main arguments of those opposed to new residents:

  1. Arguments from poverty, usually spoken in terms of gentrification and displacement.
  2. Arguments from wealth, usually coded in comments about renters not “putting down roots” or about the preservation of a neighborhood’s culture.
  3. Arguments for the status quo, usually expressing general support for upzones elsewhere, but with concerns about context and scale in their own area.
  4. Parking, usually anger over the prospect of losing their hitherto exclusive access to public spacein the form of on-street parking.

In Monday’s Seattle Times there was a letter from condo owners in the Escala ($) building, upset that a new tower similar to their own will be built across from them. They like their views and seem to believe that their property deed entitles them to said views in perpetuity, even though they obviously did not also purchase air rights. They want the city to step in and give them the air rights they didn’t pay for by taking it from the people who did pay for them (the owner of the lot). Knowing that this argument will likely not get much play, they looked in the neighborhood exclusionist handbook and latched on to argument number 3:

We support growth and density, but it must be responsible and in proper context to the neighborhood.

That is traditional NIMBY thinking applied to downtown Seattle, or NIMBA-ism (Not in My Back Alley). If 500′ towers aren’t ‘in context’ in downtown Seattle two blocks from Westlake Center, where are they in context?

Though FAR regulations, podium heights, and tower setbacks are all legitimate policy questions, the city cannot legislate by the qualitative aesthetic desires of millionaire condo owners. Appeals to “emotional breathing space”, “loss of privacy and neighborliness”, and “Seattle’s soul” are no substitute for good code and property rights, but are instead the recycled rhetoric coming from the Craftsmans of Crown Heights, this time spoken from the 30th floor of the Escala.

Thanks to the Escala owners for pointing out that no matter the neighborhood, for those with a vested interest in the status quo, growth is always ‘out of context’. Hopefully our city leaders are aware of this and give ‘context’ appeals all the consideration they deserve.

76 Replies to “For Neighborhood Exclusionists, New People are Never in Context”

  1. Good lord. This reminds me of that ludicrous argument someone made in an editorial this year on the Capitol Hill Blog. The guy had bought in a condo in some new building that was on the east side of Cal Anderson Park. He has a lovely view of Seattle from his upper-floor home. Now, a similar building is going to be built on the west side of the park, blocking his view. He was upset about this and couched it in terms of “livability”.

    He also completely declined to mention that the building he bought a condo in? It’s less than ten years old and HIS building blocked the SAME view from ANOTHER building behind HIS.

    I wonder how many people had their views blocked by the Escala building?

    1. The Times also ‘forgot’ to mention that all three letter writers lived in the Escala building. It only took 20 seconds on King County Parcel Viewer to confirm.

    2. My parents *actually own viewshed rights* over the properties below them on the hill they live on.

      If you want ’em you can pay for ’em. They take the form of an easement on the overlooked property.

      No sympathy to someone who thinks they have a right to a view, but hasn’t gone to the effort to buy those viewshed easements.

      1. The neighborhood our family lived in in my teenage years had view rights as a covenant that runs with the land as decreed by the developer.

  2. What is so wrong with policies that encourage population stability in a given locality?

    Why is unbridled growth part of Liberal political doctrine?

    Who is driving the densification since the residents plainly see that they lose from it?

    If you have a cake with eight slices and you invite a ninth person, does that not normally cause issues?

    So why is it that an 8 year old taking percentages in math could plainly see what policy makers choose not to — or intentionally disregard?

    1. Here’s what current residents lose, none of which they have legal claim to:
      * a view
      * increase in property values due to diminished scarcity
      * having slightly fewer people around (in the densest part of the state)

      Here’s what future residents gain:
      * a place to live

      1. I am not saying don’t build new units…this state needs thousands of homes just to accommodate the current citizens who have been waiting 10 years or more for affordable homes.

        However, they don’t have to be right up on top of each other (see my next comment below).

      2. IF they really value the view, they can *pay for it*. You can actually buy viewshed easements. It’ll be expensive! But you can. See above.

    2. To avoid chewing up farmland and forests.

      By “growth” I assume you mean density rather than population increase. If you want to stop the population increase, make some suggestions along those lines. A few to start off with: make people not have babies; short Amazon’s, Boeing’s, and Microsoft’s stock so that they lay off a lot of people and they move away; get Boeing to move its factories out of state (that would also free up some real estate); support carbon-reducing programs so that climate refugees stop coming; get the ports shut down; etc.

      1. The amount of land devoted to residential use compared to all available land is extremely small.

        You could easily double it in Washington State and create housing for all those who want it but are trapped in expensive apartments with little environmental impact.

        However, you would have to control population growth (like many European nations do…or did until the the recent migrations).

        I would of course enforce borders and laws, but go beyond that to make even inter-state migration difficult. Why not have state boundaries and borders and impose very high penalties on those moving from state to state.

      2. Moving between states is a constitutional right.

        European nations don’t control population growth; they try to stop its decline. The birth rate has gone below 2 per woman in Germany and several other countries, which sets them up for population decline. They combat it with incentives to women to have children by subsidizing childraising costs. The US native-born population is also below replacement; it’s only immigration that has kept it from declining.

        What exactly do you want to build where? More Issaquah Highlands-like developments in greenfields at the edges of suburbia? You’ve said before you don’t want too-large houses or lots and have recommended something like Wallingford. But the trend in the exurbs is to make the houses big because they can, and the zoning often has a minimum lot size of an acre or more. Not a way to make a Wallingford. But Peter Calthorpe’s New Urbanists will happily design you a greenfield Wallingford if you want.

      3. And yet for many of the European countries you cite as models their populations have held steady since 1970 (until the recent unwarranted influx).

        Once again these arguments are so arcane and beyond common sense.

        Of course quality of life goes down when population goes up.

        More people = less stuff per person.

        Only an indoctrinated person would think otherwise!

      4. More people = Less stuff per person. OK. That’s only true for certain types of “stuff”, typically natural resources, where a society can’t get more of it by applying more labor. The equation is typically known as Malthus’ “iron law”, but it turns out to vary a lot based on the resource, the size of the population, and the technology of the society in question.

        Take water for irrigation. Snow falls in the mountains, melts in the spring, and flows down into the valleys; humans have no power to increase the amount. Surely more population means less irrigation water per person. But when population and technology levels are low the civilization cannot possibly use all the water. A growing population allows for more technological development, allowing more of the water flowing by to be used for irrigation, over a greater area. If the water resource isn’t being used very close to its capacity, the technological improvement can increase the amount of water and arable land used by the civilization enough that per-person agricultural output grows, while also allowing more labor differentiation, allowing more technological improvements.

        This is basically why living standards and resource use per-person have generally increased along with population over the millenia.

      5. (Later, at a high enough level of technology and population, you run into the real limit for some resource. Then the civilization develops ways to be more efficient, living better while using less; or it finds some replacement; or sometimes it really does fall into the Iron Law, with shortages and resource conflicts. It’s not a small problem, because human civilizations have proven ingenious enough to grow very large, so that by the time we hit real limits we hit them at a large scale. The water supply is like this is some places today, which is why I used it as an example — it’s a limited resource but it doesn’t always act like one.)

      6. Bailo wrote: “The amount of land devoted to residential use compared to all available land is extremely small.”

        Nope, it’s actually huge compared to all available land. Please take a look at New Jersey some time.

        In Washington State, you do have a lot of open farmland, forests, and wildnernesses. Perhaps you’d like to keep them? Or you could do what New Jersey has done…

    3. I’m sorry but the cake analogy is just juvenile. If you have eight pieces of cake and invite a ninth person you bake another cake. It really should be that simple. Right now we have all the ingredients to build a lot more cakes and the chefs to bake them. The problem comes when the original eight people don’t want any more cakes to be baked.

      What part of liberal political doctrine encourages unbridled growth? This sounds like a strawman to me. Building housing to accommodate a growing population sounds like very sound logic to me. It happens all over the world. It’s what we need to do to BE sustainable.

      Do San Francisco’s $3000 average monthly rents and million dollar average home prices sound sustainable?

      1. Yes, bake another cake.

        Search this blog and look for my name and “make more Seattle”.

        But here you’re eating the existing cake.

        And as Ayn Rand said, you can’t eat your cake and have it too!

    4. Direct experience from having a functional, working, and well-populated duck pond directly under my second story porch, John:

      A couple of months ago, during a summer like the Sun going nova, my complex did some overdue repairs and cleaning on the pond. The floating, feathered residents already had vacation plans in the rest of Thurston county.

      Those of us who daily face discrimination because we can’t fly, float, or quack, had to stay while our pond got more stable by the day, as the neighborhood in the yard stabilized into four feet of green goo and duck droppings with a unique piquant fragrance only fully describable in Cajun Creole.

      The population reached a nicely balanced density, as the ducks, frogs, and turtles, were replaced by more enterprising insects, who had no problems attaining the views they were paying for.

      Strangely, though, when the pond was clean and patched, and a more fluid economy returned, the property hit the trifecta. The water flowed at residentially friendly pace, some frogs and turtles and at least three dozen ambitious and capable mallards again took possession, satisfied with the repairs.

      So we now nave an active, dene, property-value friendly neighborhood, whose longest-standing residents believe in creating and maintaining their own scenic views rather than go crying, or quacking, to the zoning commission.

      However, I don’t think either the most repressive Liberal or KCM Water Quality would fight you if you demand to be left alone with the water turned off and the drains left to generate profitable organic fertilizer.

      Based on history, though, watch out for JZ Knight. When Metro did this wrong, Ramtha took his saber and added KC to the front end of our transit system. Though findings indicate that ancient Mesopotamia had a moderately savage torturing tyrannical government. Win to an infinite exponent.



    5. “Who is driving the densification since the residents plainly see that they lose from it?”

      People that gain from it? Developers operating as a part of the free market? You sound fiscally conservative, so how about this: why do residents of nearby buildings get to dictate what private developers will build on land that THEY own?

      1. “The residents” aren’t monolithic. I’m a resident and I want more things within walking distance of each other, and more and larger urban villages. If we have only kept building in the pre-1945 patterns then all would be well and we wouldn’t have this conflict, because the status quo would be like Vancouver (not just midrise West End and skytrain stations but also lowrise Broadway/Kitsilano) and people would realize it’s OK and not the end of the world.

      2. They don’t, but people should impose costs so that development can occur in a spread out fashion.

        That which exists today is Governmental, not free market, policy to encourage density (forced urbanization).

      3. Wait a minute… the primary regulatory tool governments use to shape development patterns is zoning. The primary effect of today’s zoning on big-picture patterns is to limit urban density. The primary effect of today’s zoning on small-picture patterns is to force urban development to occur near the biggest highways and interchanges. Check a zoning map and a density map. This is “forced urbanization”? Far from it.

        And to “impose costs” encouraging spread-out development would have anything to do with the free market? Far from it.

        Zoning and development policy has changed fairly little from its early-auto-age genesis, intended to spread out traffic and separate residential areas from industrial impacts, through the high auto age when cul-de-sac subdivisions and isolated office parks were preferred, and into today’s limited urban revival. Many smaller cities have struggled in this age, whether they’re sprawling or walkable. This has been driven largely by market forces (there’s not much government policy affecting it either way). Whether policy action to reverse this would be effective or advisable is at least an interesting question.

      4. Read the zoning code, Bailo. It PROHIBITS dense urban construction. Remove those oppressive government regulations… and you’ll find that a lot of rowhouses and 4-story buildings get built, plus a few 7-story buildings. Like happened in the times B. Z. (Before Zoning).

    6. If you “encourage” population stability, then you ignore the interests of all those who want to move to the area. I am willing to accept that “residents” have more voice, but those who want to move to an area, but cannot afford it, should have a say too.

      In practice, we do not give people different number of votes, but decide such questions by a higher level government (city, county, state, federal…).

      1. If you only allow development and for jobs into one “area” then of course people will want to cram in there.

        Spread the development, including amenities, across the whole state, and people will settle elsewhere.

      2. Nothing is limiting development and jobs in south King and Pierce Counties except the cities’ own zoning laws and the companies’ desires. Amazon didn’t move to downtown Seattle because the government forced it to.

      3. If companies and their employees don’t want to locate in Puyallup even though they could, what’s the chance that they’d want to be in Arlington or Kelso or Moses Lake?

      4. Step right up, ladies and gentlemen! I have for you this day only! an amazing sale on the new epicenter of Washington State development, Hatton, WASHingtonnn and its thriving Port!

      5. I’ve been to Bailo’s utopia. It’s called Atlanta, and it has some of the most hellish commute times in the entire world.

    7. In New Jersey and Massachusetts, 20% of *all land* is devoted to residential lawn turf (i.e. front and back yards)

  3. “Seattle’s soul”

    That’s one of those things that if you ask ten people you get ten different answers.

  4. I tried to buy a condo in lower Queen Anne, but was unsuccessful in winning a short sale with a water view. I then turned my sights towards Ballard, figuring that no one will have a water view in five years from the central areas. Now, if they only build that light rail stop…..

  5. We really need an organization to mobilize people against bad land-use outcomes. What can we do to stop the Escala fiasco from occurring, Matt?

    1. Well Zach, great question. The city is looking at the design review process now, but that won’t be settled (and it will be a fight) until well into 2016. If you want to help bring levity to that conversation, now, I’m working with one of the projects and frankly we could use your help. 372-6504.


  6. Seriously, though, remembering Ballard from the days when it was an example of a stable, attractive, healthy and self-supporting place to live, I think that this discussion needs another perspective.

    Stagnation doesn’t have to be squishy and smelly. It can also have marble counter-tops, fireplaces, and weight rooms in the basement. With atmosphere filters out the vitality so unsettling to a population who all share the outlook generated by the breathtaking unblockable vista of an income stretching to the horizon.

    However, I’m hoping that instead of fighting the above over the same speculative real-estate, young artists and small business people, and especially craftsmen and machinists, will do as they’ve always done:

    Move into neighborhoods where only they and their compatriots can see any profit other than what their work can generate. Thereby restarting the decades long process which will provide the character-soaked brick walls that the one-word-named restaurants of 2115 AD will sand-blast.

    After long intervening decades of a way of a life whose daily working economy supports itself, and possibly the rest of the world. Whose chief product is is essentially huge, Rustproof Belts.

    Mark Dublin

    1. So Ballard grew its own food, found a job in the ‘hood for everyone, etc.?

      I don’t think that’s been the case since we joined the Salish here.

      Speaking of, do you think their preferred version of Ballard matches yours? How about the folks living in the apartments at Market and 15th? Why is your version (if different) “better”?

    1. This has been uttered in the CD as well, with neighborhood groups opposing a talker Swedish Cherry Hill campus in part because it will block their view of iconic James Tower.

      1. See, this just flabbergasts me. Swedish, arguably, can’t build on its own property because people around one piece of its property would be denied a view of another part of Swedish’s property.

        And worse, because our policymakers are human, far more weight is given to people who can show up at community meetings and yell (bonus points for being “in the know” and even hearing about these meetings) versus those of us who also live in the area and would really like the expanded growth.

  7. This is one of my biggest annoyances with how land use discussions go in this town. According to the deed I have on my desk right now, I purchased “all of lot number X in block number Y, lying within the [some name] plat, the dimensions being given as thus: from the point of beginning…” and so on. It mentions nothing about “oh, and also you can tell the person who owns the adjoining lots within 100′ of any direction what he or she may or may not build on said lots.” I have no doubt that the cost of acquiring this deed would have been much, much higher were that the case.

    What makes it even more obnoxious is when someone is able to move into a space because of a particular type of zoning and then turns around and objects to that same zoning being used next to them. I have a tiny (and diminishing) bit of sympathy for someone who buys a single-family-style house in a row of houses sitting on land that was zoned years ago for multi-family–a situation that is not uncommon in places like the Central Area–and then an apartment building goes up next door. But I still can’t get behind any of the objections: the land use is legal, the public right-of-way street parking is not exclusively owned by anyone, and the people buying or renting there have just as much right to do so as anyone else.

    (Oh, and don’t get me started on the hue and cry over losing “valuable street parking.” Funny how several streets in the Central Area have disallowed parking for decades and no one cares, but Flying Spaghetti Monster help us all should some spaces be removed for a higher and better use in many other parts of the city. Clean out your garage and use it.)

    1. As I mentioned above, my parents actually DO have a deed which gives them the right to prohibit people in lots below them from building buildings which block their view.

      So I have no sympathy for people who believe they have the right to a view… unless they actually paid for it!

  8. You can’t have a discussion about density without a discussion about aesthetics.

    One issue that I see in Seattle is that we have a “box” in our zoning codes. That encourages developers to build boxes to lot lines! They are often monotonous, ugly and built within a few feet of adjacent properties. They create wind tunnels for pedestrians in front of them They put neighbors staring at each other from 10 or 20 feet away. They ultimately create “canyons” of tinted glass.

    In fact, I suspect that the opposition to higher densities in Seattle is as much an indictment to our drab, utilitarian design as it is to any sort of NIMBY factors.

    The architectural community needs to come to terms with their mediocrity and question the quality of our higher-density architecture they are building. Right now, many architects are merely obeying developers by designing unimaginative, drab boxes to maximize residential square footage — and calling it “modern” while smugly delighting in their creations. The number of drab, mid-rise residential buildings that have opened in the past year is astonishing. !2th Avenue on Capitol Hill is now a street lined with some of the ugliest residential buildings I have ever seen in an American city; they will look even more awful in 25 years. In contrast, look at how Paris architecture has such timeless beauty with mansard roofs, or New York has identity with the wedding cake building design (which is now threatened — and New Yorkers are up in arms about it)!

    Sure, NIMBY people are part of the problem — but they are always going to be there. Still, there are plenty of less–opinionated residents who would be more supportive of higher densities if the buildings that are being created were are least more beautiful and accommodated privacy issues better. The developer/architect culture is part of the problem in Seattle — and could be part of the solution if they had the ability to be more introspective about their creations.

    1. That’s a problem that can be part of a reasonable debate about the zoning codes. There is a new building at N. 40th and Aurora that bulk all the way up to the sidewalk. What it does is make it very difficult for cars coming up that street to see the 40 mph traffic on Aurora without blocking the sidewalk. By essentially requiring developers to cover every inch of the buildable lot with building, and having no means of stopping that from occurring, you end up with situations where unsafe traffic conditions can occur. That’s a broader question than “can someone build an apartment building of X height” or “can someone block my view?”

      I’m one of those guys whose next door neighbor became a three-story apartment building. In almost 18 years in this house, I don’t recall a single time when that was an issue. It would be nice to have a view from the back bedrooms, but instead we have trees between us and them. BFD.

    2. We need that gallery of good lowrise/midrise development. I would put it together but I don’t know where all the photogenic lots are or where to find all the pictures. There’s nothing wrong with building to the lot line; that’s how row houses came to be. Excessive modernism is a scorage throughout architecture, not just residential buildings. The architects love straight lines and pure geometric formations, Many problems could be solved by simply designing things in a narrow vertical orientation: make a boxy building look like several narrow buildings with vertical lines or columns of windows. Even if it’s not enough to “really look like” multiple buildings, it still comforts the eye by connoting a traditional dwelling. Then add some moldings and curved decorations, a row of small things rather than one geometric large thing.

      Large things came out of the move from pedestrian-scale to automobile-scale design: from art deco to googie and the international style. The design was no longer based on what a pedestrian saw from twelve inches away, but on what people saw from a car on the street or highway. At that scale things have to be large and simple to be visible, especially because it’s in view for only a second. That also allowed developers to spend less because large simple designs are cheaper, and from that distance people can’t see small imperfections. So large-scale design became adopted by big-box stores and strip malls, and also influenced in-city apartment buildings. That’s the ugliness that people complain about. Architects say it’s too expensive to build like the old styles now and clients won’t pay for it, (partly because they’re often short-term institutional investors), but I believe they just haven’t been creative enough. The Suzzalo library was ornate; the 1960s extension is butt-ugly; but the 1990s Allen extension is halfway decent, an attempt to invoke the spirit of the original building without spending as much money. Some aesthetic features are free, such as vertical orientation; they don’t cost more than a modernist facade, the developer just has to prioritize those kinds of aesthetics.

    3. This is what FORM BASED ZONING is supposed to mean.

      There is not ONE city in the whole of the US which has implemented form-based zoning, to my knowledge.

      Form-based zoning might say “Every building must be Queen Anne Style”. But they could be residential single-family, multi-family, commercial, industrial, whatever.

      We have no form-based codes in the US to my knowledge. It would be a nice idea.

  9. Nice column. Well stated, succinct take down on NIMBA.

    It’s also happening, in spades in the downtown high-rises of Bellevue, from which there are some of the best views of fall colors each year.

    Life’s tough if you live off an elevator.

  10. Normally, if one builds a new house and blocks your view, this will be compensated by a corresponding wonderful view from the new building. The residents of the existing building are the losers, and those who move to the new building winners (or the corresponding landlords if the rents are adjusted accordingly.) From the wider perspective we have a big win–small lose situation: we still have the view (although in another building), and more people can move to the place where they want to live. This fact–more people can move where they want to live–makes more construction socially desirable.

    However, it may not always be true, for instance if the new building obstructs the “old” view but does not offer a corresponding view itself.

    Damned, Matt, I read about neighborhoods and think about countries and international migration ;-)

  11. It is possible to preserve some sight lines from high rise buildings, but you need to be really conscientious about placement as Vancouver has done. They have a forest of skyrises, but it’s a “thinned” forest so everyone can see several slices of distant vistas among the other trees in the forest.

    It takes work and planning to do it, and downtown Seattle is narrow and so more difficult. But it’s possible to do.

      1. Yes, it’s another good example. The buildings are spaced out a bit so everyone, at least those six or stories and up, has a view of something in some direction. It’s nice.

    1. What’s wrong with that?

      Is it really denser than downtown, or just a different kind of windows that make the number of stories more prominent?

      Small windows are more typical of residential buildings, while office buildings are more steel-and-glass. Seattle’s downtown is both more steel-and-glass and office-oriented. If these are indeed mostly residential buildings, would that many residential buildings be bad for Seattle? Why?

      Notice that they said “downtown Seattle”, not “all of Seattle”. Does that make you feel better?

      1. I would rather having something that is more Vancouver than Hong Kong. I got a bet that I might know one of the people but I would be speculating who it is.

        Vancouver has made a residential and appealing downtown while having large skyscrapers that aren’t as packed in as NYC and allow quite a bit of light onto the main streets. View corridors are preserved and basically mixes many different elements of urban design into what I consider a fair compromise.

    2. From what I often overhear, I suspect that ‘urbanist’ is on its way to become more of a derogatory term, as the word ‘papist’ once did.

    3. Hong Kong is an island. Nobody will EVER build like that on something which isn’t an island. Just doesn’t happen.

      1. Basically, there’s a natural sweet spot in height for development. (There are actually a couple of sweet spots). Those Hong Kong buildings are so tall that they are poor returns on investment. But there’s nowhere else to build: Hong Kong *can’t* sprawl much more than it has, thanks to water, mountains, nature preserves, etc.

    1. I think JB is mostly earnest. He seems to enjoy posting in forums where he disagrees with people, which is a common characteristic of trolls, but he’s very consistent in promoting his ideas, rather than just trying to catch people he disagrees with in contradictions.

      AFAICT JB earnestly believes that massive decentralization of our population, not so much into urban sprawl but into a network of small, detached cities connected by fast roads and trains (the “state-city”, or “build more Seattle”), would result in a vast improvement in quality of life and sustainability. He believes in the hydrogen economy and in the promise of hydrogen cars. And he believes in building fast trains blurring inter-city and urban service on cheap rights-of-way, covering distance fast and spurring new, compact land use near stations, over expensive projects to serve existing urban/suburban density (something he’ll often call “medium-speed rail”). I (like a majority of posters here) disagree with him on a wide variety of things. His argumentation is often flawed (though who here could claim theirs is pristine?). But Bailo is ultimately a vital part of the STB commentariat because he lives in Kent and loves Kent. When he posts from his own experience (and sometimes when he posts from his opinions) he brings a perspective that otherwise would be missed here.

      1. Bailo is very *fixed* in his beliefs. Not influenced by evidence. (We’ve shown him that the “hydrogen economy” is BS. He won’t listen.) That’s an ideologue, not a troll.

      2. So Ballard grew its own food, found a job in the ‘hood for everyone, etc.?

        I don’t think that’s been the case since we joined the Salish here.

        Speaking of, do you think their preferred version of Ballard matches yours? How about the folks living in the apartments at Market and 15th? Why is your version (if different) “better”?

      3. You don’t seem to notice that first he’ll argue one way, such as against centralized, “big-government”, solutions that are “causing all the trouble” or whatever, and next he’ll argue the exact opposite with “we should mandate that all growth should be evenly spread out through a region”, a policy that would be “bigger-government” than any of the wildest fantasies of those he rails against.

        If someone taking such tacks in an argument is marginally intelligent and isn’t a troll, then their level of confusion is pathology, not disagreement.

  12. To be fair to condo owners, the view is a big part of the value of the condo. This isn’t just abstract value either. To give you an example, BC Assessment, the crown corporation in BC that does all property value assessments in the province has been working out just how much some of those views are worth. And this is why Vancouver has zoned, protected view corridors.

    1. Unless the condo owners have a recorded deed guaranteeing their right to a view, they don’t have a leg to stand on.

  13. when you buy an expensive condo overlooking an alley you should envision another building 15 feet away. Or buy the air rights.

    1. Developers are perfectly capable of buying view rights from the downhill lot owners and vesting them in the condo association. It would be a selling point.

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