Council talking two development issues with Capitol Hill bearing: SU growth, SLU height

The Seattle City Council chambers will be busy with two important discussions Wednesday that will impact the growth on one edge of the Hill and the views from another.

The morning brings a possible vote on the Seattle University’s Major Institution Master Plan that will set the stage for the school on the southern edge of Capitol Hill’s next decades of development and growth. Meanwhile, Wednesday night, the Council holds a public hearing on the proposed South Lake Union rezone at 5:30 PM at City Hall — an issue that has raised concerns about views from western Capitol Hill while being championed by development advocates and criticized by growth opponents for the potential 400-foot office towers the new zoning could unleash.

  • Seattle U appeal: CHS reported on the appeal brought against SU’s master plan earlier this year. While we did our best to sum up the issues — and opportunities — at hand, we simplified the argument against some of the plan’s element. Bill Zosel, who was part of the community group working with the school to shape the plan and who lodged the appeal against its approval in its current format, sent us an essay explaining his side of the argument. We feature it — in whole — below to provide as much clarity as we can to what Zosel is trying to achieve. We’ll update this post following this morning’s Council committee session.


  • SLU heightsCapitol Hill’s skin in the game at Wednesday night’s Council public hearing on the proposed rezoning of South Lake Union to allow buildings up to between 24 and 40 stories comes down to views — and, more importantly, your views on the city’s plans for growth. We’ve featured community posts about our neighbor to the west’s long public process to shape the City of Seattle’s hope for hypergrowth in the SLU area. 

Council planning committee chair Richard Conlin summed up the key elements of the proposal here:

  • Linking increased building height and floor area to incentive zoning to create opportunities for affordable housing;
  • Maintaining current scale in the Cascade Neighborhood;
  • Preserving public views through new development standards for tower spacing;
  • Encouraging a strong pedestrian environment through strong street-level design standards; and
  • Strengthening incentives to preserve landmark properties and existing open spaces while including a new program that will preserve farm and forest lands by transferring development rights into the urban area.

Wednesday night brings another opportunity for the community to speak up on the proposed changes. While opposition groups to the upsizing of the area around Lake Union are asking for a more modest approach, the “big city” crowd approves of towers that could reach 250-feet high near the lake to 400-feet high closer to Denny.

Public Hearing 
South Lake Union Proposed Rezone Legislation

November 14, 2012
5:30 p.m.
City Council Chambers2nd floor, Seattle City Hall 600 Fourth Avenue

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4 thoughts on “Council talking two development issues with Capitol Hill bearing: SU growth, SLU height

  1. Oh great a bunch of people from Capitol Hill are going to come downtown and claim that their views are more important than the livelihood of south lake union. Ahh I love the sense of entitlement in this city. Everybody acts like if they can see it from their window, that they automatically own it and nobody can ever change it in any way.

  2. Wes, broad view access along arterials and view corridors are part of what makes living in this city breathtaking and unique. These views are available to EVERYONE, not just to view-facing residences. They keep one going on dank days, just like the public waterfront access we have here. If we fill it all up with towers, our heads and hearts lose some breathing room.

  3. Having sat in on meetings with SU during the preliminary phase of Urban Village Planning,20 years ago, it’s heartening to see some of the same principals in the residential community,continuing to graciously guide large institutions towards community inclusion.
    Well done, Bill Zosel.