The Capitol Hill Blog has done a great job covering these proposals which could become law after the PLUS meeting on Wednesday morning in the Council Chamber.
As many of us know who have been following the story there are several big changes proposed. The elimination of parking requirements has been a big concern and was covered by the Seattle Times with most of the comments against the changes. Relaxing of SEPA requirements for developers which has the potential of eliminating public input on saving historic buildings in our neighborhood is a huge concern. There are also proposed changes to the height and allowance of ADU’s (accessory dwelling units) on certain properties.
The biggest concern for me and a large group of neighbors is the proposal to allow commercial businesses in our (currently) residential zones. As a homeowner in the target area I feel this is a VERY bad idea. Others in our group have been concerned about noise, traffic, smells, giant lighted signs etc etc.
I am also a real estate agent who works largely in this neighborhood. The other day I decided to call my mortgage guy and ask him what he thought the affect on the neighborhood property owners would be. Not surprisingly his first concern was diminished property values as a result of mixing in commercial uses. I also asked about getting mortgages on properties after the change has taken place and was told that banks will then view our neighborhood as “transitional” meaning that there would be reluctance on the part of banks to offer mortgages on properties in the now transitional zone. And for those that get mortgages they could be more expensive. As far as I have heard this concern has yet to be addressed and isn’t mentioned in the Reform package. No study has been provided regarding the potential negative effects of these changes on property values or the availibility and costs involved with getting a residential mortgage in the (now commercial) zone.
Mr. Conlin paints a picture of happy residents skipping from bodega to coffee shop and back again but I doubt that those are the kinds of businesses we would be surrounded by. Bolagna factory anyone? How about a mortuary next door to you? A methadone clinic could really add to the charm of your neighborhood. No? Perhaps Mr. Conlin would like to try out the changes on his street first to see how it goes?
I would encourage property owners in our neigborhood to pose the same question to their lenders and to write the Council, Mayor and PLUS Committee asking them to eliminate this part of the proposed changes. Better yet show up on Weds and sign up to speak regarding your concerns. It seems to me that our City government is in the process of “selling us out” to the developers and as residents we need to speak up!
And please spare me the NIMBY comments. Our neighborhood is an incredibly diverse one and includes homes for the elderly and mentally ill, low income housing towers, Group Health Hospital, Sound Mental Health, tent city encampments, students and ordinary working folks like me.
We all manage to get along just fine together. And everything we need is within a short walk of where we live…………………………………