- Pot zones: The City Council’s Housing, Human Services, Health and Culture committee Wednesday afternoon will debate Nick Licata and Sally Clark’s plan to zone the city for “marijuana-related activity” in the wake of recreational legalization of the drug in the state. CHS reported on the proposal’s restrictions that would congregate marijuana retailing in a limited set of commercial zones in the city. The result would leave a swath of central Broadway, parts of Pike/Pine and a stretch of E Madison open for pot business, according to the city. Commercial grow operations would also be limited to zoned industrial areas of the city under the proposed legislation. A public hearing and committee discussion of the legislation is slated for Wednesday’s meeting starting at 2 PM.
- How much will it cost to not build affordable housing in South Lake Union? Off Hill, the City Council’s committee working on rezoning South Lake Union compromised Monday on an issue that has pitted developers of affordable housing vs. more profit-minded ventures. On Monday, the committee agreed to what fee developers can pay per square foot in the South Lake Union area in lieu of including the to-be-mandated percentage of affordable units in their projects. What will it cost to not build affordable housing in the area? Council member Mike O’Brien’s proposal of $21.68 per square foot — or about a quarter of what one consultant said should be the true cost of not meeting the affordable housing percentage to be included in the final South Lake Union rezone. Of course, it’s 43% higher than what incumbent candidate for mayor Mike McGinn had put on the table. Publicola has more on the agreement here. Changes in the neighborhoods to our west will also include greater building heights — though not as high as they could have been. The South Lake Union rezone is expected to be finalized early next month and will significantly alter the the city’s current environment of development as developers can move more aggressively forward with the elimination of uncertainty about the changes.
- Campaign finance reform in Seattle: The City Council is beginning a process to explore reinstating the public financing of political campaigns in Seattle:
Seattle City Councilmembers announced today a timeline to consider a proposal to publicly finance elections for local campaigns in the city of Seattle. The plan outlines a series of five meetings in April, May and June, leading to a decision about whether to ask voters to approve such a program in November 2013.
At the request of four councilmembers, the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission recently submitted a recommendation for the Council to consider a public campaign finance program. The Council will review the details of the Commission’s proposed program structure starting Monday, April 29.
“A state initiative in 1992 banned public financing,” KPLU reports. “But in 2008, the Legislature restored the right of local governments to have such programs, provided they are approved by voters and use only local money.”
- The Council’s transportation committee heard the latest update on the Melrose Promenade project. We wrote here about the effort to create a pedestrian and biking-focused streetscape on the western edge of the Hill. You can view the session below.