An effort to push back on Seattle City Council legislation to upgrade the city’s zoning laws has again found root on Capitol Hill. A flyering effort has posted notice of Monday night’s Council land use committee hearing on utility poles across the Hill — and in other parts of the city. But someone from the group also chose CHS to create a community post about the proposed changes and extension of the Living Building Program. Details on the post — and a counter argument in favor of the program — below.
Seattle’s Living Building Pilot Program is detailed here:
The Living Building Challenge requires buildings to meet a series of prerequisites relating to site, energy, materials, water, indoor quality, and beauty and inspiration. The purpose of the Pilot Program is to allow additional flexibility in the application of development standards in the Land Use Code (Title 23) through the design review process in order to accommodate innovative technologies or design approaches that might otherwise be discouraged or prohibited.
Included in this are incentives that allow buildings that are part of the program to potentially exceed the existing size limits of zoning in their areas. E Madison’s under-construction Bullitt Center is the highest profile effort in the program. This Capitol Hill cohousing project is another — it’s at the heart of the argument agains the program posted to CHS. We’ll follow up with the “Monster Buildings” poster to find out more about who they are and why they oppose the Living Building program and incentives.
The City Council committee meeting is set for 5:30p (Monday, July 9th) at City Hall.
The City of Seattle has crafted a “loosely based” version of the Living Building Challenge that will delight developers. Lots of extra height, well beyond the zoned height limits for making an attempt to be green. The program will probably be extended after the July 9th meeting of Seattle’s PLUS Committee at Seattle City Hall , 600-4th Ave, 2nd floor. The Committee is hearing public comment on these monster buildings, the extended deadline and amendments that make life easier for the developer. You might want to consider responding because if you don’t, you might never want to use your backyard, patio, deck or vegetable garden, again. You might never have the awesome sight of mountains and water from your neighborhood, again. Letters, calls and emails to Council Members are also encouraged. Contact information is listed below.
Monster buildings cast monster shadows. The one proposed at 1720-12th Avenue is estimated to cast a shadow over 400 feet long in the winter time. That building will be approximately 78 feet high in a 40 foot zone. Wallingford is getting an 82 foot high building in a 45 foot zone. More info: firstname.lastname@example.org. With the extended deadline, these buildings will be sprouting up all over Seattle so you might want to pass this information along to the rest of Seattle. Hope they are listening.
As one neighbor put it, “What they are doing is not human. They are selling sunlight. There isn’t enough sunlight here, already.” More…
Simply put, an incentive zoning program would give developers a chance to increase return on their investment and reduce costs in exchange for providing some public benefit the City is unable or unwilling to provide. The City’s Living Building Program is essentially just that, allowing departures from zoning limits in exchange for producing buildings that meet a high standard for lowering energy use and creating fewer environmental impacts.
On Monday, the Seattle City Council is considering amendments that would extend the life of the program and allow for more flexibility in meeting the requirements of the program. The changes would allow the Stone34 project to move ahead, building a project in Fremont that would be a showpiece of green building. The Council should move forward on this without any hesitation. The program is limited (only 12 projects can be built) and departures have to be approved by through the design review process.
This is pretty simple. More…