Monster Buildings in My Backyard!

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: ourwallingford@gmail.com.   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.”

The developer picks the “petals” of the program they think they might reach.  They don’t need to reach all of the petals just some of them.  Some are easy like “Beauty” since it can’t be measured.  Others “petals” are based on percentages of comparable buildings.  We all know how wide-ranging comparables can be with utility usage, don’t we?  Some petals are just a pledge to buy your materials locally (Materials Petal).  Basically, with this law you get extra height for having windows that open (Health Petal).  And the proposed amendment makes the program even easier for developers.

The genuine Living Building Challenge won’t let you take solar rights away from others or erect buildings taller than their surroundings.  Seattle didn’t adopt that part of the genuine Living Building Challenge, however.  

The penalty for not reaching this version of the Challenge?  According to the City’s brochure, “Projects failing to meet these standards may be subject to monetary penalties up to 5% of construction value, based on extent of compliance.”  Note the word “may” here.  Probably no penalty is more likely.

And the building gets to keep its height no matter what-even if it doesn’t meet the Challenge! 

If you work all the exceptions, called “departures,” you can almost double the height in your zoned area.  Of course, it helps if you can clothe your project with other words to delight the city like “co-housing,” “no parking provided,” etc.  Everything is an excuse for getting more height and ignoring the neighborhood’s carefully planned height limit zones.  

A tall building in a low-rise neighborhood is the way to destroy a neighborhood in a hurry.  Immediately after the Design Review decision for 1720-12th Avenue one family house was put up for sale and others have been whispering about selling since they can’t be sure what is going to happen.  People won’t have enough sun for a vegetable garden, their decks and gardens will be in perpetual shade.  And the City of Seattle will call these monsters “green?”  Experts comment that tall buildings are actually much less energy and water efficient than shorter buildings which also have the added benefit of having less impact on their surroundings.  If you have to drive to see the mountains and water because you can’t see them in your neighborhood–is this green?

We know the City needs to allow for more density but why do it like this?  Seattle’s deeply flawed version of the Living Building Challenge is a Pilot Program so if they can get away with this, who knows what else they might try.

Please consider contacting Seattle City Council Members and the Mayor.  A short email to them on your cell phone right now can do wonders for changing their mind.   The Capitol Hill Coalition pulled off an amazing upset in May when the Council decided it wasn’t such a good idea to rezone our residential areas for commercial.  Time to do this again!  

 

Sally J. Clark

 206-684-8802

sally.clark@seattle.gov

 

Sally Bagshaw

206-684-8801

sally.bagshaw@seattle.gov

 

Tim Burgess

206-684-8806

tim.burgess@seattle.gov

 

Richard Conlin

206-684-8805

tim.burgess@seattle.gov

 

Jean Godden

206-684-8807

jean.godden@seattle.gov

 

Bruce A. Harrell

206-684-8804

bruce.harrell@seattle.gov

 

Nick Licata

206-684-8803

nick.licata@seattle.gov

 

Mike O’Brien

206-684-8800

mike.obrien@seattle.gov

 

Tom Rasmussen

206-684-8808

tom.rasmussen@seattle.gov

 

MAYOR’S OFFICE206-684-4000

mike.mcginn@seattle.gov

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24 thoughts on “Monster Buildings in My Backyard!

  1. The new law spoken of here pierces all zoning AND building codes held sacred for so many years in our communities – posibly without the City realizing what “green” rules entail. “It’s not nice to try to fool Mother Nature” fellows.

    If we don’t speak up, phone, write, and/or attend the meeting right NOW – special interest groups will have forever a firm foot in the door and no neighborhood will be safe. The balloon will have been pierced!

    I absolutely hate this kind of stuff but if we are to preserve our neighborhoods, we have to do something before it is too late. What happens in Seattle will affect everyone immensely in the years to come. These are 250 year lifespan, high, narrow buildings with elevator/stair penthouses polking above their roof top height limits – possibly right smack dab next to where you now live! For just a few apartment units high in the sky, disaster will have struck.

    The Capitol Hill building it seems will not even have one parking space for residents, guests, repairmen thus allowing profits to be maximized. What is the next step – short term parking meters on our residential streets because most everyone will have to park a car at some point in their lives?

    If the Council sees lots of people in the audience, they will think twice about continuing on with this scam.

  2. We welcome on-topic community posts on CHS — thanks for sharing your thoughts here. Please don’t re-post material from other sites and refrain from sock puppetry in comments (taking on multiple identities to create a stage conversation). We moderate comments that violate our community rules.

  3. We must find ways to house more people – demand will continue to grow whether or not we create places for people to live.

    The best choice available to us is to allow more height, and use leverage while we can to spur a building industry that pays attention to environmental impact.

  4. Yeah, I heard about this and read up on it already. I really wish this loop hole for developers was actually an honest attempt to build green buildings but it is obvious it isn’t. If it was legitimate the penalties for not succeeding would be substantial. It appears they aren’t. This pilot program is, as another person said, a scam.

    We get to walk down dark streets for even more months of the year ! woohoo !

  5. The Bullitt Center is also under the Living Building Challenge pilot program and has received many accolades from the community.

    To lump the Capitol Hill Urban Cohousing (CHUC) project at 1720 12th Ave in with the Brooks development in Wallingford is unfortunate given that they are not even close to same scale. There may be good argument that that project is a monster…it’s huge compared to CHUC. But to say the Living Building Challenge pilot program is bad is throwing out baby with the bath water.

    It is a bit overstated to call the CHUC building a monster-given that there are 4 other developments planned on 12th within 2 blocks on either side of the planned CHUC site.
    The other 4 developments will dwarf CHUC’s. So, if people have not noticed the big white Master Use Permit signs in front of those properties, they will be in for a big surprise at the end of the year when those all break ground before CHUC does.
    I’m sorry to say it but living in the city is not suburbia and if you are angry now it might have been helpful to have been paying more attention this past decade as our neighbors were meeting with the city to increase density here. The concept of density only works if you build up. If we keep everything low then we’ll be driving out to Ellensburg to get away from the sprawl that low density development will create.

    And while I can’t vouch for the efforts of the Brooks project, I’d challenge the opponents to find a greener project than CHUC. Urban farm, reducing reliance on cars, high efficiency electrical systems and low water usage, sharing resources to occupy less square footage, strong sense of community and building social capital…they’d be hard pressed to find a project doing so much on a site even twice that size.

    I would encourage you to use those same emails the previous author offered to write to the council in support of the Living Building Challenge pilot program. This project gives people the potential to provide added density for truly sustainable developments.

  6. The Bullit building is meeting the REAL Living Challenge 100% and deserves the accolades.  Thats a fact.  

    These other proposed projects do not meet the REAL Living Building Challenge, not even close.  Thats a fact.   The more you read about this pilot program and amendments to it,  you will understand that the criteria is easier and the penalties smaller and easier to evade.  Thats a fact.   Its a sham and very sad that green initiatives are being used to propel it for developers.

    Empty promises from strangers like you doesn’t mean anything when the penalty is nothing and the minimum criteria is too easy.  You could be a developer or someone that works for someone related to one of these projects.   So what you say means nothing to me, nor should it mean anything to anyone reading.    Now if the minimum criteria of the Seattle version of the Living Building Challenge was actually acceptable and the penalty for not making it substantial, then it could actually be a worthy program.  But that isn’t the case at all.  Thats the disgusting part and why this sham should be voted against.    Come back with something legitimately green and we’ll talk.  Until then, this is the same as a Hybrid SUV.  

  7. We have already gone up, from 3 stories to 4 in these residential neighborhoods. And we re going up like crazy in south lake union,,dexter, etc. cities have areas with different zoning, even Chicago has vast low rise areas.

    More building just as easily promotes land value increases,,flipping, maximizing profit, etc. – no,guarantee at all that this leads to,affordability, unless you believe capitalists are community minded at heart.

  8. I thought this was a new piece but was disturbed to read that it was an editorial piece masquerading as news.

    I have no problem with editorial pieces on the blog – in fact I love reading editorial pieces – but I would prefer if they are placed with editorial pieces and not interspersed with news items. It is critical to separate news from opinion and calls to action based on such opinions. Otherwise, this blog gets sloppy.

    As far as my opinion? I love modern architecture and design and believe building green and building tall are two ways we will save our city and our lovely Capitol Hill neighborhood.

  9. building tall and building green are not the same thing. in fact, when it comes to things like maximizing sun (what limited we have in Seattle), large buildings casting shadows on resident’s urban gardens is counter-productive.

    There are ways to incentivize green building (e.g. property tax incentives) without negatively impacting everyone else.

  10. A curious argument indeed, defending the scale of the proposed CHUC building by pointing to other proposed out-of-scale buildings along the same street. A bit like a mugger defending himself by pointing out that his neighbor to the south is a tax chiseler and the guy across the street is an embezzler.

    The fact of the matter is this: the zoning for the site of the project is NC3-40. Buildings in that zoning are supposed to top out at 40′ above the average grade on the site. But due to all the goodies that the pro-developer folks downtown have slipped into the Land Use codes while nobody was watching, we’re seeing a whole row of proposed buildings on that street that make an absolute mockery of the nominal 40′ height limit. And they each use the other’s out-of-scale height to justify their own. A nice scam, don’t you think?

    Another unfortunate fact: the CHUC project is capped by a very large rooftop penthouse, shoved against the north side of the structure to maximize the shadow it will cast over its neighbors. While it’s hard to determine the exact height from the poorly dimensioned elevation drawings presented for design review, here’s what it’s looking like: if you drop a bowling ball from the roof of the penthouse, it will fall straight down along a blank wall for over 70′ before landing in the shadows below. Anybody living within a couple hundred feet of this structure won’t get direct sunlight in their home or garden for much of the year. Some won’t get direct sunlight for MOST of the year. How’s that for showing the neighbors a little respect?

    As for the building’s efficiency, the most efficient way I know to keep a building warm and bright in the winter and well-ventilated in summer is to provide lots of south-facing windows and lots of cross-ventilation. How many south-facing windows are there in the proposed CHUC building? Zero. Not a one. How many north-facing windows to capture that cool northerly breeze we get on warm summer days like today? Zippo again. Not a one. Why? Because the building will be shoved right up to the property lines, and its huge unadorned north and south walls have to meet the standard for 1-hour firewalls. No windows, no penetration of any sort. Just a big ugly blank wall on both sides. Lets hope those energy-gobbling lighting and climate control systems are good ones. They’re going to need them. Of course those problems could be avoided by stepping the building back from the property line a few feet so that windows could be installed. But then you don’t get the maximum return on investment, do you?

    As for the “move to the suburbs if you don’t like it” argument, it barely merits a response. I’ll just point out that many of the neighbors who feel ill-treated by this proposal are from families who put their roots down in Capitol Hill in the 1920’s and 1930’s. It’s their city too, and like a lot of us, they’re not too happy about the way that the ground rules have been changed without a lot of community participation. But trust me, we’re all paying attention now, and things are about to get pretty bumpy.

  11. This will be my last comment because I don’t want to fan the flames but I want to correct a few of the misunderstandings in some of the comments. I want you all to know that the people involved in the CHUC building are your neighbors and have lived on Capitol Hill for a very long time – some for over 20 years. We are not developers looking to turn a prophet or maximize our investment. One of the main reasons we cannot have north or south facing windows is that we know the buildings next to us will be built up to a height that will make those windows useless. That is why we are taking space to make a center courtyard/light well on the south side. We are excited to be a part of the Living Building Challenge pilot program-it is challenging us to do a lot of things more sustainably. I wasn’t aware the fines for not accomplishing the goal were small because this isn’t something we even focused on – we are focusing on attaining as many of the petals as we can. The last thing I would like to correct is that the top floor unit on the east side is not a penthouse – it is the same size as the rest of the east side units-it just happens to be the top one. I know that this project will not be a favorite with everyone but I hope those of you that have concerns take a minute to talk with us before making assumptions.

  12. The cute little diagram of green homes might represent 16th or 17th Ave north of John, but definitely NOT this stretch of 12th Avenue in the Capitol Hill Urban Village and the Station Area Overlay.

    An accurate diagram of the east side of 12th Avenue would include the following, starting at Pine and moving toward the light rail station:
    • 4-story mixed use building with apartments above.
    • 6-story Capitol Housing 12th Avenue Arts (starting construction in November): 88 residential units, two theaters, commercial space.
    • 3-story house

    Proceeding north past Olive:
    • Expansive 2-parcel parking lot for an auto repair garage.
    • 3-story mixed use apartment building (lockshop).
    • 1-story house (PRK)
    • [our site, with proposed 5-story building mass on 12th]
    • 1-story Capitol Hill Grocery
    • 2-story house

    North of Howell:
    • 4-story apartment building
    • 6-story micro-apartment building (finishing permitting)
    • 3-story apartment building
    • 2-story house as offices
    • 2-story vet clinic
    • 5-story mixed-use apartment building
    • 3-story mixed-use (Chungees)

    The west side of 12th also has two new 4-story apartment buildings coming our way in the next year, but is mostly 3 & 4 story buildings.

  13. Published by City of Seattle Department of Planning & Development
    Address: 1720-12th Avenue, Project #3013374
    Site Zone: NC3-40
    Nearby Zones: North: NC3-40, South: NC3-40, East: LR3, West: NC3-40
    Lot Area: 4,520 square feet

    The proposal is for a 6-story structure with 12 residential units above 1,500 sq. ft. of commercial space. The project is participating in the Living Building challenge Pilot Programs. No parking is proposed.

  14. The existing 4-story apartment building at the corner of 12th Avenue & Howell Street (just north of our proposed building on 12th) clearly shows what is currently allowed on this stretch of 12th Ave, from Olive to Denny. How could they build this monster in 1909? Across the street from the site is the Roosevelt Apartment Building built in 1925, this has 4-stories clearly visible from Howell. Walk a short block to the 4-story apartment building just east of there at the corner of 13th and Howell built in 1923 – is this another monster? Walk north to the next corner and there’s a 5-story building built in 1928? Are you still scared?

    As a future resident of the proposed building, our request through the Living Building Pilot Ordinance is an additional 10-feet of height over the currently zoned 44-feet of (4-stories) for a 5-story building volume on 12th Avenue. The 1-story slope from 12th Avenue up to the alley allows for the same height to be built on the alley (50-feet over basement), so the building terraces back at the midpoint of roof level. The additional 10-feet of height is in exchange for creating a courtyard space that is allows us to substantially reduce energy consumption in the building. Other sustainable aspects of the proposal that we commit to are reduced water consumption, reduction of toxic building materials, a rooftop agricultural farm (a full description of the “petals” can be found in the appendix of the Early Design Guidance packet for those who were not able to attend the public meeting.) The stair and elevator are required by the City for rooftop access and are allowed by the City to extend above the requested 50-foot height.

    It appears that the writer and subsequent posters are unaware of the construction that starts in November – the 12th Avenue Arts project by Capitol Hill Housing will be a 6-story mixed use building with commercial space, two theaters and affordable housing. Just north of Howell is a 6-story micro-apartment project currently finishing its building permit reviews. There are 2 other developments at 4-stories on the west side of Denny that are proposed to start construction around the same time. All of those are very exciting to us, because it means more amenities nearby, more activity on the street and for local retail, and in the words of Jane Jacobs, more “eyes on the street” for a safer neighborhood.

    Fortunately, there are larger buildings in the neighborhood that support a wide diversity of people living, working and playing on Capitol Hill. Without these larger multifamily buildings, we’d likely have an affluent neighborhood of expensive single-family detached homes with few residents per house. Look around Seattle to see other neighborhoods where large family-sized homes are now left with one or two residents. To the author of the original post, what would be really be scary is if we left the Capitol Hill neighborhood exactly as it is now, finished our light rail system & street car line, but didn’t have the residential population to support or effectively use that infrastructure. We need to increase opportunities for people to live within the 5-minute walk of the light rail station, and our proposed, narrow building is just one approach to do so, larger buildings on multiple parcels as will occur south of our site is another.

  15. From the scaled published drawings, that adds up to 67 feet high from the alley and approximately 78 feet high from the 12th Avenue side, casting a winter time shadow of over 400 feet. So the building will be nearly double the height of the Roosevelt across the street. Since it is on a single lot, it will be very tall and very skinny–almost four times taller than buildings next to it. Even the published renderings have been cropped to avoid providing a context. Other nearby blocks are zoned for 6 story development and will be developed with 6 story buildings. This project is an enhanced 6 story building in a 4 story zone. Jumping through loopholes in the law is not what anyone in an orderly society craves.

    Lack of even a single parking space is also a concern as neighbors watch the developer’s office employees zip around in their cars and take up valuable parking spots. Future development of the site will make this situation worse. Developers admit that residents, guests and customers will need to use already cramped street parking. Their solution? Parking meters on the nearby residential streets. This is all done in the spirit of community, according to the developers.

    One of the main goals of the actual Living Building Challenge is not to take away anyone’s solar rights. This building takes away the solar rights from many people. A Living Building Challenge is also supposed to blend into it’s surroundings. Most people in Seattle are ecologically minded but do not expect any rewards from it. Unfortunately, the developers of this building expect quite a few advantages in height for their efforts. Why is being green equated with height, anyway?

    As to the high density issue, most of the 2 story apartment buildings (on single lots) in the area have approximately 10 units. The proposed 6 story building should yield at least 25-30 units, not 12 as proposed. Doesn’t seem to qualify as high density more like spacious loft apartments with views for those who can afford them. This type of development works, too–as long as it stays within the zoned height limit.

    A proposed development at 1711-12th Avenue looks like it will stay within the zoned height limit. Nice to know someone will follow the law and community planning. An option the developer at 1720 12th Avenue refuses to take.

  16. Architects who glance at the proposed plan for 1720-12th Avenue seem quite amazed by the “design.”

       • At least four of the bedrooms in the building are totally without windows – a design considered unsafe for fire and rescue.   Is it healthy or green to do away with light and air in a bedroom?

       • In a fire or other emergency, it is essential that one have access to alternate escape routes – we have come to expect this in modern building design.  Even the much maligned single family home has a front and back door that opens directly to the exterior.  Are we to expect less in a high-rise building containing twin type towers?  

       • Shouldn’t there be two sets of stairways at opposite ends of a building mass so people have alternate escape routes so they do not burn to death if a single pathway is blocked with smoke, flame, and burning debris?  Here, there is only one staircase to serve two towers.  It is located in the center of the building next to a light court.  A view of the sky is charming but forms a shaft of flame under pressure of a fire storm.  A building’s windows are blown out under pressure of expanding gasses.   Then with a shaftway,  flames leap high upward for oxygen. Where is the only vertical exit here?  It is in the worst place imaginable – immediately adjacent to a possibly red hot light shaft to the sky.

       • If one makes it through a fire in the towers and arrives at an exit elevation, he still finds himself in the middle of a burning building.  A journey to the exterior will take him through half the length of the building with but one direction out – toward the alley and one direction out onto 12th Ave.

       • Our Fire Department will have difficulty driving down the dirty, unimproved alley behind the building,  full of deep potholes and narrowed by foliage.   This is the same alley the designer takes no responsibility for fixing up and paving but uses it as an “amenity” for interaction amongst building occupants.  

       • As for the elimination of parking on building grounds, we know that on-site vehicular storage eats into floor area which can otherwise be used for living space (FAR).  If one can eliminate parking,  more rental dollars can be harvested every month.  In time, that can constitute serious money.  No parking for “green” reasons – don’t think so.

       • Also a building with parking requires a substantial, fire safe structure, perhaps even fire sprinklers.  With no parking in the building, guests, friends, repair vehicles are dumped onto our existing streets for absorption.  Since street parking is already overloaded, on come the parking meter people to keep things moving.

    So what do the terms “green” and “challenge” mean to the designers/owners of this building and to our City?  What do the terms mean to YOU?  The terms are quite well defined but must be scrupulously met if they are to have merit.

    Are designers and code authorities naively playing with our safety here?  It is quite apparent we have a cheap building, without parking, without alternate escape routes, with interior bedrooms devoid of windows, increased building heights over the 40 foot limit so as to stuff-in more money laden occupants, a protruding mechanical penthouse over and above the 40 foot height limit, an interior light court which will be a torch in a fire storm and placed directly alongside the only means of egress, a building full of occupants attempting to be green but failing.  This project is only a “challenge” to the status quo with little penalty and certainly no tear-down envisioned for failure.    

    Usually, tall buildings with commerce fall under stringent Commercial Codes for good reason, residential codes fall short of covering all the bases.   Building and zoning codes can point to “green” safe structures if designers and City officials are so disposed.

    On a curious note.  Take a look at neighboring low rise apartment complexes in the area.  On just two stories – 10 to 12 units, all generous, all with two means of
    ingress/egress.  Lets learn from the past for we already have here on Capitol Hill, one of the most densely populated yet livable areas in the Nation.  Scrupulous development can keep it that way long into the future.

  17. Simply put, this building will lower the quality of life of those of us that already live in the neighborhood. And the only people that have any supportable right to comment on this topic are the current residents. Those of us that live here now made a conscious decision to buy and live in a residential neighborhood, primarily occupied by single family dwellings. Larger buildings were limited to 4 stories when me moved here. Do the owners of the CHUC structure plan to recoup us in some fashion for degrading our living environment?

    Constructing a large building with no parking and expecting the lack of parking to limit the amount of cars in the area seems to me to be the type of idea that an ostrich would come up with. It is simply unrealistic to expect that that not providing for parking will actually prevent the building from attracting more cars to the neighborhood – including some from the tenants themselves. Parking is already a nightmare and we are currently engaged in a race to get home from work before the partiers arrive for nighttime festivities and fill up all the spaces. I have seen mention of other options such as parking meters in this thread. Who can take such an idea seriously.

  18. Several points of clarification:

    •Mr. Mariano, searching to justify the scale of his project, points to 4 other nearby structures built between 1909 and 1928. Three of them would likely be allowable under the current 40’+4′ height limit without needing to take advantage of any of the pro-developer giveaways written into the code in recent years with minimal public outreach and participation. The fourth, being 5 stories, would exceed the current height limit, but what the writer neglects to mention is that Seattle did not begin systematically drawing up zoning ordinances until the mid-1920’s. So even the 5-story building was probably legal at the time it was built. The city later saw fit to scale down the size of buildings in the neighborhood to something more compatible with residential life, and for good reason, one might think. Mr. Mariano and his colleagues are now proposing a building with six floors capped by a rooftop structure about the size of my grandma’s little ranch house, and far taller than anything currently standing nearby.

    •The requested height for the structure in question is 54′, not 50′, as Mr. Mariano states above. On p. 25 of the proposal submitted to DPD, one finds the following: “We propose 10 feet above the 44 foot limit (for a total of 54 feet). See SMC 23.41.012.2.F”

    •Mr. Mariano points out that “The additional 10-feet of height is in exchange for creating a courtyard space that is allows us to substantially reduce energy consumption in the building.” His colleague Kimberly writes above that “One of the main reasons we cannot have north or south facing windows is that we know the buildings next to us will be built up to a height that will make those windows useless.” If the latter is correct, and another equally tall building is built along the south “party wall” (by whom,one wonders?), then this “energy-saving courtyard” will be reduced to little more than a dark, moldy airshaft. The only thing green about that feature will be the moss building up inside. Are the building’s future tenants aware of this?

    •Mr. Mariano makes reference the proposed “rooftop agricultural farm”. Having once lived on a farm (a real one, with tractors, silo, livestock etc), might I politely suggest that we be spared the new-age hyperbole? A roof garden is one thing, a farm another thing altogether; at some point a difference in scale becomes a difference in kind, don’t you think?

  19. The architect for the 1720-12th Avenue building was heard to tell the City’s Design Review Board on June 13, 2012 that the urban farm on top of the building was not workable and nothing substantial would be produced. One member of the DR Board commented that the planned living green walls to hide the big blank walls were improperly sited and wouldn’t live. There will be no real garden at 1720-12th Avenue and apparently no height reduction for not having one.

    Behind the proposed building, there are 8 active gardens for the family homes adjacent to the site. Also an apartment complex with 5 individual gardens. Since the building will cast a shadow over 400 feet long, this one building will have a negative impact on at least 13 gardens. Since the shadow is so big, it will also effect additional gardens across the street not counted here.

    This also doesn’t count all the decks–at least 8 on this one street, deck gardens and patios that will also be effected as well as yards in which children play. So one very tall building with no significant garden will negatively impact more than 13 gardens, more than 8 decks and deck gardens, patios and backyards.

    As one former Seattle resident put it, “This would never be allowed in Portland!”

  20. Representatives from the International Living Futures Institute attended the Seattle City Council Meeting on July 9, 2012 and disavowed Part C of the Seattle law. Such buildings would not be certified as Living Challenge Buildings and not allowed to use the trademarked name of “Living Building Challenge.” Both the Capitol Hill building and the Wallingford/Fremont building fall in the C part of the law so it seems they cannot qualify or call themselves “Living Building Challenge” projects. So it seems, the International Living Futures Institute recognizes greenwashing when they see it.

  21. This is tired. Check out Dan Bertolet’s new post at City Tank: http://citytank.org/2012/07/19/seattles-living-building-pilo

    These are not Living Buildings as branded by IFLI, but they ARE part of the city’s Living Building Pilot Project and meet the criteria established for such buildings (and, if they don’t, the penalty IS substantial). The name confusion is unfortunate, but it doesn’t diminish the difficult and challenging criteria these buildings must meet per the city’s program, and to reduce our footprint on this earth.