Say what you will about density and the future of Capitol Hill — apodments are pissing a lot of people off.
“When we put the signs up, neighbors wanted more,” a representative for Reasonable Density Seattle told CHS about their effort this summer to scare off would-be microhousing developers from the neighborhood on the backside of 15th Ave E. City Hall, watch for a letter from the community council, soon.
City Council president Sally Clark has said that the next step in looking at microhousing in Seattle might be for the city to simply catalog and quantify just how much is being built — both via the infamous zoning loophole and within the city’s review process.
With help from a roster provided by the Reasonable Density group and some of our own elbow grease, we’ve mapped the projects that we know about on the Hill. Let us know in comments what we’ve missed and we’ll add more as we find them.
Seattle’s zoning restrictions in residential areas are based on the number of dwelling units — unit occupancy and building size aren’t considered. The loophole has allowed developers to bypass the Design Review Board and environmental review as these buildings technically come under the dwelling unit threshold for many residential zones on Capitol Hill.
For instance, in lowrise, multifamily areas, design and environmental reviews are triggered for building proposals larger than 8 units (the residential swath from 10th to 15th between Denny and Roy is almost entirely zoned LR3). In areas zoned mid-rise, review boards are triggered at 20-unit proposals (Most of Capitol Hill west of Harvard, aside from Olive and Denny corridors, is MR or LR3). Environmental review is also triggered in LR3 and MR zones for 30-unit proposals within urban centers or station areas.
We’ll also have more about microhousing’s issues and the Reasonable Density group as well as a growing wave of neighborhood activism suddenly stirred awake around the Hill. We’ve already showed you the signs and were the first to explain to many on the Hill exactly what was happening around them as developers take advantage of loopholes allowing the creation of 40-unit apartment buildings on parcels that previously were home to single family homes. There are examples on the Hill showing how high-density development can be done in smaller, less intrusive ways. But the trend rolls on. And, unlike the emergency moratorium enacted to stop the construction of the “tall & skinny” homes some say are plaguing other parts of Seattle, the is nothing in the works, yet, to help solidify Capitol Hill’s lowrise-3 zoning to prevent developers from continuing to add aPodment-style microapartments to the area’s housing pool. There will probably be more to add to the map soon. And, like we said before, dense, denser or densest, they’ll still be pissing people off.
A view of Capitol Hill’s land use zones. See the City’s full map here (pdf) (Image: Nicholson Kovalchick)