City Council gets first look at Capitol Hill Station ‘transit oriented development’ plans

(Image: City of Seattle)

(Image: City of Seattle)

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).

Microhousing update
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.

Micro Dwelling Unit Tracking List

8 thoughts on “City Council gets first look at Capitol Hill Station ‘transit oriented development’ plans

  1. Okay, let me be the first to ask, why, in a minority oriented neighborhood like Beacon Hill, is it okay that years after our light rail station was built, the block it is on consists of only empty lots fenced off with chain link fence and growing weeds? I guess if it’s in the south end, it really isn’t visible to the rest of the city?

    The way the light rail station on Beacon Hill has NOT been integrated into any neighborhood development should bring shame to Seattle city planners.

    • This was also due to Sound Transit’s learning curve. They made a big mistake on Beacon Hill of leasing their staging areas which reverted back to private developers. Sound Transit never had ownership so couldn’t really pursue TOD planning. Further complicating this is the fact that government agencies in Washington have serious limits on how they can sell or transfer ownership of property, thanks to our backwards constitution. In other countries transit agencies use station area property development to help pay for the stations. It is a real shame that can’t happen here.

  2. They can’t force developers to build in beacon hill. They will develop where they think they can make the highest profit. To give you some encouragement, there are now a handful of developments under construction or in planning around beacon hill, mt baker and columbia city stations. Back on topic now. This project is way to small to be considered tod. They’re expecting 400 units, with that much space they should be building around 2,000 units.

  3. Neighbor you do realize these developments will be on top of a light rail station with trains that can carry 800 people stopping in each direction every 6 minutes. There will also be a streetcar stop there too.

  4. I wish more wiz-bang planner kids understood that Capitol Hill was already “transit-oriented” and so were the pre-WW2 apartment buildings. The F-ing neighborhood was originally developed as a streetcar-transit-oriented neighborhood over 100 years ago. And the older buildings are usually some of the most affordable not to mention interesting from a design standpoint.

    Now, Capitol Hill is being converted into another Bellevue or Belltown. All new projects include underground parking for mostly BMWs, Audi’s and sport-utility-crossovers which harass pedestrians and cyclists rendering the neighborhood less walkable. Metro service will be cut, or at least not expanded beyond supplemental funds from the SEA council. Light rail will do little to connect Capitol Hill to anywhere else for the time being except Montlake and downtown which was already well-connected to the hill. Yes rail is better, but until the system is REALLY built out (DECADES AWAY AT THE EARLIEST WITH CURRENT LEADERSHIP) it only offers connections to a few points across the entire region.

  5. Pingback: City Council comes to Hill for Broadway light rail station ‘transit oriented development’ hearing | CHS Capitol Hill Seattle

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