After five years in the making, the legislative stage has finally arrived for plans to develop the prime — and now empty — Broadway real estate around the Capitol Hill light rail station.
A few Seattle city council members will get their first official look today at the project’s Development Agreement and 2011 Urban Design Framework hammered out between Sound Transit, the Seattle Department of Planning and Development, and the neighborhood group Capitol Hill Champion.
Representatives from the three organizations will present the transit orientated development plans to the council’s Planning, Land Use, and Sustainability Committee. A public comment period kicks off the session at 9:30 AM.
The TOD plans outline design and use goals for five sites stretching along Broadway from John to Denny, currently owned by Sound Transit. The 100,000-square-foot development will include housing, commercial, and a community center spaces.
Topics likely to generate discussion may include how to implement plans for a privately developed, publicly open plaza to serve as the permanent home of the Broadway Farmers Market. The development agreement also proposes more affordable housing and less parking than typical developments, as well as stretching the building height limit to 85 feet.
Council member Richard Conlin told CHS he expects the meeting to be largely informational for the committee members.
Update: Public comments on the development agreement were mostly positive during today’s PLUS meeting. Chris Curtis, director of the Neighborhood Farmers Market Alliance, said the city should require developers to host the Broadway Farmers Market on the TOD site ahead of construction. She said farmers want assurances that the market will be open long-term. During the briefing Sound Transit’s Rick Ilgenfritz said the Sound Transit board is very supportive of the agreement, despite an occasionally rocky process. “I think its fair to say that our relationship with Capitol Hill has run hot and cold at times,” he said.
The council’s PLUS committee will hold a public hearing on the development agreement July 15, at 5:30 PM in the Miller Community Center. The committee is expected to vote July 24th on whether to send the development agreement to full council for approval.
Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce executive director Michael Wells, who presents today, said he’s hopeful that contract bidding for the project will start before the year’s end. That would put Site A on track for completion before 2016 when the light rail station is expected to open. You can review the Friday morning presentation on the development plans here (PDF).
Also on Friday’s PLUS committee agenda: microhousing. Following the TOD briefing, the committee will hear DPD’s preliminary recommendations on aPodments, which it calls “viable and innovative” even as the department works to increase review and regulation of the housing type. CHS wrote about the Council’s three areas of concern in regulating Seattle microhousing here in May. DPD’s roster of current aPodment-type projects in the city — or Micro Dwelling Units as the planners call them — is below the jump.