Require the farmers market, ensure affordable housing, and build a community center. Those were the overarching themes at Monday night’s public comment session on the plans for developing the properties around the future Capitol Hill Station.
Several dozen people gathered yesterday at the Miller Community Center to voice their opinions on the the plans to develop what will become a defining project on Broadway and Capitol Hill. Those plans are laid out in the Development Agreement and 2011 Urban Design Framework that has been hammered out between Sound Transit, the Seattle Department of Planning and Development, and the neighborhood group Capitol Hill Champion.
Council member Richard Conlin presided over the meeting. He said the city is nearing a deal with Sound Transit to have more definitive answers on developer requirements regarding a community center and farmers market. The plans are slated go for a vote by the city’s Planning, Land Use, and Sustainability committee July 24th.
Much of the public comment was in support of requiring developers to make space for a farmers market prior to Sound Transit selling the TOD property.
Asif Alvi, owner of Perfect Copy and Print, said he was discouraged that his 23-year-old business had to relocate one block for the development of the station site.
“We will be pushed around again, we will be displaced again, ” he said. “It’s very important we keep smaller spaces to keep the flavor of Capitol Hill.”
Kristin Ryan of Jonathan Rose Companies was the only developer to speak at last night’s meeting. She said her company was interested in bidding as a master developer for the project — a single owner of the thousands of square feet up for grabs along Broadway. She asked the Council members to consider several changes to the development agreement, including allowing developers more flexibility on height and density.
Here is a selection of other comments from the session:
- “We need written assurances prior to the developer getting the contract … We need secure permanant lodging for this market.” — Ivy Fox, Manager of Broadway Farmers Market.
- “I’m not in support of the lesbian, gay, transgender community center, even though I’m gay … we should have a community center that is open to all.” — Dennis Saxman, Capitol Hill resident.
- “I’m very supportive of the plan and very interested in developing Site D … We could even put retail.” — Paul Killpatrick, President Seattle Central Community College.
- “Density doesnt help if people can afford to live in those dense units.” — Brie Gyncild, 23-year Capitol Hill resident.
- “Farmers need predictability and stability for them to make their business decisions.” — Karen Kinney, Executive Director Washington State Farmers Market Association.
The meeting comes after city council members got their first official look at the plans during last month’s Planning Land Use and Sustainability committee meeting.
CHS has covered the five year long process to create a plan for developing the five properties around the station.
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.
The first trains are slated to roll through Capitol Hill Station in 2016. While it’s very unlikely the entire development site will be ready by then, officials expect that contract bidding will start this year so Site A will be ready in 2016.
The prime — and currently mostly empty real estate — will be a defining feature of Broadway and the neighborhood overall. Most involved in the process (as well as every mayoral candidate interviewed by CHS) say they want to ensure this TOD site avoids the pitfalls of sites like Beacon Hill, where empty lots still surround the station.