City considers curbing building heights in response to outcry from neighborhood groups

The micro-housing building at 1720 E Olive St. is the type of structure the city will seek to prevent in lowrise zones (Image: City of Seattle)

The microhousing at 1720 E Olive St. is the type of structure the city is seeking to prevent in lowrise zones (Image: City of Seattle)

A group of neighborhood activists organizing against taller building appear to have landed a major victory despite a year of rising demand for housing on Capitol Hill — and rising rents.

Following a petition and flyer campaign, Council member Sally Clark has called for the City of Seattle to consider lowering building heights in areas zoned for lowrise townhouses and apartments.

The code correction would specifically target Lowrise 3 multi-family zones which includes most of the lowrise areas in Capitol Hill. “There is a sense that these new generation buildings have more height than necessary,” said city planner Geoff Wentlandt.

The Department of Planning and Development will hold a public meeting January 14th at 6:30 PM at Lowell Elementary to get public feedback on lowering the height limits. You can also provide feedback via email.

According to planners, lowering the height limits would mean fewer surprises for neighbors of new developments and would ensure those developments fit with the character of lowrise neighborhoods.

2013 was marked by a continued rise in housing costs on Capitol Hill as rents continued to soar and solutions like rent control became a serious part of political debate in the city. A recent report touted by the Seattle Times predicts that the city’s soaring rents may “stabilize” in the coming year — but even that report indicates a significant improvement in affordability in the area is unlikely.

In the meantime, CHS has noted a “mini-explosion” of townhouse development activity in the neighborhood.

The groundwork for the lowrise conflict was laid in 2010 when Clark spearheaded an update to the multifamily zoning code, including allowances for higher buildings. Now that the first generation of buildings under the new code has been constructed, many neighbors have complained the buildings aren’t keeping in the spirit of lowrise development. Where lowrise development is generally thought of as three to four-story townhouses and apartments, some developers have used incentives to cram five stories into tightly packed apartment and microhousing buildings.

A five-story microhousing building at 17th and Olive St., along with a handful of others, have sparked an outpouring of complaints that developers were pushing the height limits in onerous ways. In the meantime, Seattle’s Hearing Examiner will consider an appeal this week of a decision to approve rules to further regulate microhousing developments brought by some of the slow growth groups and Capitol Hill land use activist Dennis Saxman.

For the process to reconsider lowrise zoning, in an October letter (PDF), Council member Clark requested the DPD reconsider the height limits after meeting with some of the activists:

The concern they raised that I find most compelling has to do with ways some developers are combining incentives and the new approach to measuring height. Bottom line – I never envisioned or intended that developers would be able to achieve five stories in LR3 zones. I think five stories is too big a change in height and scale for the LR3 zone.

You can learn more on the city’s Lowrise Multifamily Code Corrections page.

Lowrise Multifamily Code Correction Community Meeting
When Tuesday, January 14, 2014, 6:30 – 8pm
Location Lowell Elementary School
1058 E. Mercer St.
Seattle, WA
Website Lowrise Multifamily Code Corrections
Event Contact Geoff Wentlandt
Event Contact Email Geoffrey.Wentlandt@seattle.gov
Event Contact Phone (206) 684-3586
What
We are studying recent buildings constructed in lowrise multifamily zoned areas, particularly the lowrise 3 areas. We will be considering code changes to help ensure the new buildings fit into the neighborhoods. To help guide our clean-up of the Lowrise 3 multi-family zones, we’re reaching out to interested groups. In particular we want to hear from neighborhood residents who live in or near lowrise multi-family zoned areas. We also want to hear directly from builders and designers of housing.

55 thoughts on “City considers curbing building heights in response to outcry from neighborhood groups

  1. Not everyone agrees with this group. Here’s what I wrote to the Planning & Land Use Committee members and Geoff Wentland (after the new Mayor’s representative replied saying that Mr. Wentland was the appropriate contact): http://eldan.co.uk/2014/01/asking-city-council-for-more-density/

    Whatever your stance on this, if you have a strong opinion please write in – we’ll end up with a more representative decision if they hear from more than the usual suspects.

    • I remember when these changes were proposed and thought “Oh an extra floor and 40 feet is just fine with me” (I live two blocks north of the monstrosity pictured here and walk by it every day) BUT what we have here is a 6 story “midrise” apartment building better suited to an arterial which would allow for it to be that tall.

      Now humor me kids: let’s count the levels in this building which is one of many recently constructed/under construction. Why I count 6 stories not the 4 that the city was pitching in 2010. There are at least 2 4 story buildings on this block and this bad boy TOWERS over them.

      I am in favor of allowing the new 40 foot limit which is 4 floors and not the 6 that is pictured. Any decent architect or planner understands the importance of scale and there is no way that this building is in scale with its neighbors. I won’t comment on the Brutalist style of architecture we have here. Looks like a prison with bigger windows…………….

      I own a house at 18th and Denny. Right next door to me on a 1/2 acre lot a 68 unit luxury apartment building is planned. The (Eastside) developers have been great to work with and at $4,000 a month the new neighbors certainly won’t be “trash” BUT the new building will be 58 feet tall. My house is on the same grade and is 38 feet tall. On the other side of me a 20 unit apartment building is planned and will presumably be allowed all of the goodies that developers are getting and will also be nearly 6 stories tall. On a 4800 square foot lot BTW.

      How does 40 feet become 58 feet? Essentially the heights in the neighborhood have DOUBLED under the new codes.

      4 stories/40 feet is perfectly fine with me. 6 stories is just TOO DAMN BIG! Let’s keep these MIDRISE buildings on the arterials.

      Midrise to me is a 5-8 story tall building much like the ones on Broadway or Pike/Pine.

      In closing this post makes it sound like these groups want to “roll back” the limits but as I see it they just want the 40 foot rule adhered to. We can still have increased density and good design at 40 feet.

      • Mr Fox; You ask for us “kids” to humor you, yet you insist on spreading misinformation because you’ve neglected to read (or adequately understand) the land use code.

        If you took the time to read the Seattle Municipal Code Section 23.45.514 you might begin to understand how building heights are measured. Just because you’re ignorant of how the calculations are made does not mean that the City lied to you when proposing the changes to the code or that the code is somehow being abused by “Eastside developers”. I’m quite certain that the City never “pitched” the idea of 4 stories in 2010 because the code has never been based on story count – it’s always been on height alone.

        It does no good to work yourself up into a lather over the issue when you clearly have no understanding of the basic facts.

        You might also want to look up Brutalist architecture as you’re using that label incorrectly from an architectural standpoint.

        • I am a real estate agent, innkeeper and thirty year resident of Capitol Hill. I never implied that I was an expert at land use issues. It is NOT my job to understand the SMC. Presumably we are paying people to understand it and implement changes that are beneficial to the neighborhood and its growth. In my opinion this isn’t effectively happening under the changes proposed in 2010.

          I do understand that lots seemed to be measured from the HIGHEST point and not the lowest which in my opinion is wrong. At street level the building in question is nearly 60 feet tall or 6 stories. Go stand on the sidewalk and look up at this “turd” gifted upon us by “Mr. Developer.”

          I have seen quite a few Brutalist buildings in person and while most are concrete this one certainly reminds me of that style. Obviously I am not a fan of the style.

          Now if it was on Pike Street with zippy businesses on the first floor my opinion of it might be different.

          And I always though L3 meant Lowrise 3 stories…………….

          And yes I do feel like I have been lied to by the City.

  2. Do you have any updates on the aPodements going in at 13th and Mercer? Construction seems to have come to a near stop. Very little activity over the past 2 months (building is a shell, no siding or windows which should have went in months ago).

    It’s also exceptionally tall with the two top floors being 1.5 floors each high making it 6 floors total if you count the two half floors (lofts I assume). The height of this particular building isn’t a big deal to me as it’s next to Capitol Park which is 11 floors tall.

  3. Limiting heights in lowrise zones is an excellent first step in stopping the ugly, cheaply-built, out-of-scale buildings (read: apodments) going up all over our neighborhood, but it is not enough. There also needs to be some new setback requirements (now the buildings are wedged into relatively small lots), closing the loopholes being exploited by developers, requiring design/environmental review for all buildings with 8 or more units, and some reasonable parking requirement.

    I urge all who care about this issue to turn out for the DPD meeting at Lowell on January 14th. We need a strong show of support for the needed changes.

  4. The structure pictured might be the poster child of what is wrong with an unfettered design process. I have to walk by this thing every day and seriously, as much as I am for affordable housing, it makes the SHA building look like the Fairmont Olympic, I have to avert my eyes as it makes my blood boil, go ahead and look at it in person. It should be called Gulag 17.
    Call me a hater if you wish, but I am tired of greedy developers dumping and running to whatever hole their from.
    There are attractive examples of the Apodments, 23rd at John, 13th at John, but some are along the lines of the old Yesler Terrace, and will only look worse and seem more depressing as they age.

    • I have to agree. The first time I saw this building I was shocked. It’s actually reverse of what it should be. Instead of getting more narrow as it gets higher, it actually gets “in your face” wider, looming over everyone! Who approved this? Oh, no one did. The only upside is the depressing color pallet used makes it kinda blend in with our cloudy skies masking it somewhat.

    • This project is so hideous! I’m all for increasing density as a way to help keep Seattle more affordable but am against bad design. There are ways to do both. We need to be working towards thoughtful design that integrates better into existing neighborhoods. Apodments don’t need to be hideous and developments like this only serve to give them a black eye!

    • Is there any evidence of that strategy working anywhere? Because it sure hasn’t worked in Brooklyn, where it was done on a much larger scale.

      How much density would be needed to make an impact, and what is the size of the impact on housing costs we could expect by adding that extra floor?

      Or is it possible that density also drives demand? Or that ther relationship between them is non-linear? Is it possible that housing demand in the city is being driven by large scale macroeconomic trends and this proposal will make no difference one way or another in housing costs?

      Lots to think about, and I’m pretty sure the we don’t have many answers.

      • > Because it sure hasn’t worked in Brooklyn, where it was done on a much larger scale.

        Basically, lots of people want to live in Brooklyn because it’s a great borough. But it’s designed through zoning to be far less dense than Manhattan, the latter of which prevents the kind of development that made it dense in the first place.

        > Or is it possible that density also drives demand?

        Kind of. Jobs and amenities drive demand, good jobs tend to cluster where people with similar skills cluster. Unless your goal is to kill off tech in the city you’re not doing either. Here is a good paper on it:

        http://www.newyorkfed.org/research/epr/03v09n2/0306glae.pdf

        > How much density would be needed to make an impact, and what is the size of the impact on housing costs we could expect by adding that extra floor?

        Seattle is a very small city. We expect to add about 60,000 people over the next few decades, but keep in mind nearly a third of the nation wants to live in an urban area but can’t afford to. Minor changes in density aren’t going to meet that demand.

        • The trend of Seattle growing vertically is starting to see dividends, with average rent in 4Q 2013 decreasing, apartments giving more incentives for move-ins, and a prediction of rent stabilization in ’14, and perhaps a decrease in ’15. This is all more likely when you consider there are a whopping 14,000 apartment units being built in the next two years. So yes, vertical density is good. San Fran is a good example of how very restrictive height limits make rentals and home buying more and more difficult.

          http://seattletimes.com/html/businesstechnology/2022578166_apartmentrentsxml.html?prmid=4917

          • Then we’re going to see all these shiny new apartments convert to condo’s and thus, compress the rental market yet again. Any stabilization will be short-lived. Reductions? That’s a feel-good dream unless a major employer pulls out.

          • Rent prices are determined by many factors. You seem to give “increased height” all the credit for the recent trend in Seattle. It’s just not that simple.

      • It seems to be working pretty well in Kent, where there are not restrictions on density. A brand new 2,500 square foot house you can get for $350,000-$500,000. There are many condos for sale that are below $200,000 and a few that are below $100,000.

  5. There goes the city pandering to a tiny group of wealthy, whiny, white people again. It’s also proof that these wealthy white people and the city council are actively trying to price out the working class people. They don’t want to have to see me walking the hill unless my entire wardrobe is designer brands.

    • Is pandering to a large group of low-income, low-skilled residents a preferable recipe for the long-term economic success of a city? Are all those low-income low-skill residents supposed to generate jobs? Or could it be the high-income high-skill residents create demand for jobs that employ more low-skill residents? Not sure what formula you think the city should use to improve long-term economic viability? Large-scale housing projects sure don’t work.

      • I think a model that accommodates all income levels is the best. Of course a city with only poor people would be a bad place, but so would a city with only rich people.

        It’s not directly a race issue. I myself am white, but I’ve noticed every time this small group of wealthy white home owners complain the city just bends over backwards for them.

      • I agree. Wes is class-baiting as well as race-baiting. The vast majority of people who oppose the proliferation of ugly, poorly-designed new buildings are NOT wealthy. We just happen to care about the architectural quality of our neighborhood, something that the density-at-all-costs crowd could care less about.

  6. The apodment shown in this article is beyond awful. This has NOTHING to do with pandering to “wealthy white people.” It’s about protecting the character of the neighborhood. Monstrosities such as this building are empirically awful and we should do all we can to prevent further construction of them.

    • But I don’t think a height limit is the solution. I would be fine with a more thoughtful building code, that creates the sort of neighborhood character we want but still allows density. There are many examples of well-designed, attractive (and tall) apartment buildings, we just need to figure out how to define that in code.

  7. According to planners, lowering the height limits would mean fewer surprises for neighbors of new developments and would ensure those developments fit with the character of lowrise neighborhoods.

    That’s another way of saying, “increasing housing costs” and “making Seattle a more expensive place to live.”

    Neighborhoods change over time. They shouldn’t change into enclaves of the rich, which is already happening in Seattle and will happen faster with the proposed changes.

    • The law of unintended consequences at play. Go ahead and fight the apodments all you eant, lower density all you want, but I can guarantee when Link opens up and you’ll be able to be at UW in 6 minutes and downtown in 3-6 minutes, the existing rents on the hill will continue going through the roof.

      This is a desirable neighborhood where demand is outstripping supply. It will become an even higher demand neighborhood. Reducing the amount of housing stock is not going to improve the economics of housing. In essence what the anti density crowd is saying is “I have mine, you figure something out for yourself”. And just because you have housing on the hill, there’s no guarantee you’ll be able to keep affording it in the future.

  8. Every single building on Broadway should be 6-7 stories tall. Every major city experiences this change and there are always people who protest against change in every era. Seattle needs to grow and it makes more sense to have taller buildings in the urban core. In the 19th c. whole sections of Paris were levelled to create the boulevards so essential to the City Beautiful movement. The buidings that are being built here in Seattle are, for the most part, not handsome, and are poorly designed ( washing machines a foot from the bed?!!) and are not finished in stone, brick, masonry or any enduring material. The tradegy is in the lost opportunites and poor design. It isn’t always about the expense- it is often just carelessness and inattentive young architects who reject the floorplans of yesteryear in some vain attempt to be “hip.” Square footage will always be in style.

    • If I’m not mistaken, Broadway is zoned differently than most of Capitol Hill, in that taller buildings of the sort you mention are already allowed, and being built. It is the “LR3″ zones that are at issue, and where it makes urban planning sense to limit heights to 3 stories, to be more compatible with the existing structures, and to hopefully promote better architecture.

  9. I don’t see this new proposal as being a “fix” in and of itself. For example, dropping a story in height alone does nothing to address issues of ugly, cheap construction, how new structure fit within a neighborhood, or anything else related to streetscape, etc.. Would dropping the height of 1720 E Olive St. make that building attractive? No, it would just be a slightly smaller eye sore.

    My gut feeling is that a lot of the complaints about these taller building has to do with mass and density, not height. Increasing set back and allowing more “air” between buildings may be a better approach than simply limiting height. This is an ugly building issue, not a tall building issue.

  10. People don’t want higher density in Seattle? I hope you enjoy the sky high rent in San Francisco, because that is exactly what happened when the NIMBYs forced this kind of policy there. I say build away… Responsibly of course, but the density is needed.

    • But that is just the problem! Most of the new buildings are being done in a very irresponsible manner, and so far there is nothing to stop this from happening.

  11. This bldg is UGLY and the developer that I dealt with was just greedy! The owner of micro housing next to us was dishonest and uncommunicative throughout the whole process (yes, I have emails as proof) and we had to file a complaint with the city for him finally to erect a railing on his side of his property! Design Review needs to be mandatory for neighbors to at least have an idea on what is REALLY being built and make sure that city zoning/building requirements are followed by the developers.

  12. This is bullshit astroturf started by _RICH_ property owners that want to see their property values skyrocket by restricting supply. They’re saying FYGM. And listen, there’s not that many of them. There’s only so many property owners and a lot more residents, we have way more power than them when it comes to voting.

    Let’s stop fellating rich charlatan assholes for a nanosecond. More density = more supply = lower cost of living. Who benefits from lower cost of living? Residents. Who benefits from higher cost of living? Property owners. They’re spinning this aesthetics bs to get you on their side. There’s alternatives to preserving aesthetic appeal than just limiting density.

    • These are people with affluenza, who look at San Francisco property owners who built homes many decades ago and now own property worth, at _median_ a million f-ing dollars. And they’re salivating at all that money. It’s infected their brains like a virus and they’ve ceased to operate as empathetic human beings. When incentives like this are so high (and you’re morally bankrupt), of course you’re going to do everything you possibly can to limit development.

      • Class-bait, much?

        I have owned a small, modest home on Capitol Hill for 33 years, and am certainly not “rich.” I could care less about my “property values,” but I do care a lot about the architectural integrity and attractiveness of my neighborhood

        • The median home price in CHS is around 500. It was like half that a decade ago. Your investment has grown phenomenally over 33 years. Maybe you honestly don’t think you care about something that might be worth a million dollars in another decade. Humans are driven by incentive though. The “integrity” and attractiveness are part of what drive up your home value and you’re trying to tell me this is just a coincidence? You’re trying to sugar coat this issue so that people are content with existing residents being driven out of the places they’ve been living and it’s perfectly fine to you if you can preserve your wealth.

          This is not class bait, this is class war. You, with your take no prisoners attitude and contempt for dignity, are winning handily. But we’re not going to just give up.

          • Well, at least you admit it’s a class war…..

            I guess you missed my statement that I could care less about my property values. If the worth of my home had stayed the same in 33 years, I would still feel the same about this issue. Yes, my little home has appreciated in value, but it is not the reason for my opinion on density/architectural issues.

          • You do care, and in fact you’d be stupid not to care. If you absolutely don’t care, we can setup a contract giving me full value of your home if/when you sell it. Don’t want to? Understandable. Everyone cares about their possessions and their property, and rightly so. Especially if it’s worth, on average, 500 thousand dollars (I literally can’t care less what it’s actually worth).

            I care about my retirement, my job, my home, my friends’ jobs, etc. But I’m also not actively campaigning to displace my friends out of my neighborhood.

          • I’m arrogant? You’re the one so special that you deserve the power to dislocate your own neighbors. If rent doubles, tell me, will you have trouble staying? No because you own your house. F those people, you’re special and superior and those folks are the ones who are arrogant.

          • Okay I know that you should never engage the crazy but I couldn’t resist jumping in here.

            I fail to understand why Calhoun owning a house on the hill is displacing other people. Is barbeque suggesting that Calhoun “get out” so that a giant building could be erected housing many people? So it would be OK to displace Calhoun? And all the other greedy rich entitled pig property owners who have the nerve to want to stay in their houses? They have no right to be here I am guessing from this diatribe. GTFO is the mesage I get………….

            I moved here from California 30 years ago and didn’t immediately march down to City Hall demanding that people get out of their houses in this neighborhood so that cheaper/more apartments could be built to house me. I found a place I could afford (at the El Capitan of all places-I could write a book about that place) I DID NOT expect the City to remake itself for me. I would imagine that not everyone moving here WANTS to live on Capitol Hill but will choose other parts of the city. They will find their way just as I did.

            In my opinion the rising rents are directly related to recent microhousing opening up. A precedent of $5-$8 per square foot has been established and apartment owners are rushing to get on the “gravy train.” Why would you charge $2 a foot when you can get $4 and look like a “deal” compared to the micros? I could build 36 of these micro units on my property (with no parking of course) and I would REALLY MAKE A FORTUNE in rent. Instead I love my old house and garden and do not want to tear it down. I guess the New Urbanist Taliban crowd feels that I (and folks like Calhoun) are the enemy of progress. Perfectly fine to get rid of us once and for all. Turn the hill into Hong Kong. Pack ‘em and stack ‘em baby!

            Lastly I will say if the few remaining single family property owners wanted to truly get rich on their properties they would be screaming for as much height as possible. The more units that could be built on said property the more $$ for the owners. Period.

            Instead activists are calling for smart, responsible development NOT “Slow Growth” as this article states…………………..

  13. PLEASE READ BEFORE RESPONDING, IT’S SHORT AND SWEET: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supply_and_demand

    You can dismiss me and everyone else living here as crazy all you want, we’re still human beings and citizens entitled to fair representation, we still have the right to fight your bs. And I must say that’s an incredible spin of anti-logic to suggest increased supply will raise prices.

    You should feel ashamed for your disgusting display of dishonesty. I, and I’m fairly sure no one else, has asked for home owners to leave. Get that rubbish out of here, please. We’re not telling them to do anything. They’re the ones telling us that we need to deal with higher prices or get out. Notice that there’s a petition to lower building heights, but I don’t know of a petition to forcibly remove home owners. Don’t you dare pretend you’re under attack.

    • I am very familiar with the concept of supply and demand being a real estate agent and innkeeper here on the hill. Less properties/rooms available means more $$ for the owner. I get that.

      In my opinion the building pictured is too tall for its surroundings. A new 40 foot limit is obviously 6 stories above the sidewalk in the example pictured. Perfect for an arterial but overwhelming where it is. 40 feet should be 40 feet not 58. As a property owner in an L3 zone I feel that the City is not looking out for us by allowing buildings of this scale/height. I personally do not want to go back to 30 feet. 40 feet is fine with me but a real 40 and not the near 60 feet pictured. Of course no design review in this case has produced “Gulag 17″ because it is a micro building. This needs to be fixed as well in my opinion. Brutalist architecture is a bit extreme for Seattle…………….

      And yes I do feel that the New Urbanists with the city’s backing/blessing has spent the last decade demonizing single family owners to take the spotlight off of greedy developers (micros in particular) that as I said are responsible for the sudden and alarming skyrocketing rents. The notion that they CARE about providing affordable housing is silly. They are blinded with visions of the piles of cash that will come in from the tiny spaces. Those micro buildings will be PAID OFF in just a few short years.

      This in more ways I feel is an older vs. younger person thing and is not limited to Seattle. My first place at the El Capitan was $225 per month in 1984 and I made $900 or so a month working at the Westin. My studio there now has to be all of $1,200 a month and the tenant would need to be making $4,800 a month to be the same (25 percent of income). I am doubtful that is the case. I have a 28 year old brother still living at home because he can’t afford to get a place even working full time. I am a gay childless 48 year old man that by some miracle owns a house on CH (well Chase bank owns 70 percent of it) I feel extremely lucky every day to have what I have and realize how incredibly hard it is now for younger folks to do the same as I have.

      I really wish I had the answers on how to fix it but I predict that no matter how fast we build them apartments will continue to go up, up and up. As well as the real estate prices. Think San Francisco but with worse City Leaders and crumbling filthy streets that are NEVER cleaned EVER.

      My apologies for insinuating that you are crazy. Obviously like me you are very passionate about this issue and I thank you for that.

      • The one motive of micros is profit, and there’s nothing inherently wrong with that as long as we have a functional government to lay down rules. I would never dare think their intentions are in the least bit altruistic. However, building height restrictions is functionally a density restriction, is it not?

        I’m not going to defend anyone calling for the forcible removal of someone’s house perhaps with the exception of some sort of eminent domain usage. But if a developer fairly buys land from a homeowner, what’s the big deal?

        I’m also not following how, if CHS were to hypothetically be full of 5+ story micros, property values/rent would skyrocket. It would be more supply and less value, neither of which produce higher prices. Further, the future is not divided into two distinct possibilities: one of rich property owners with everyone else pushed out vs a hellish dystopia of nothing but ugly micros.

        • The Micro issue is a whole story unto itself. One of the biggest problems with them is developers using “loopholes” in the code to circumvent Design Review which isn’t fair to apartment developers having to do it the honest way and results in hideous structures like the one pictured. Design Review could have helped this building be more pleasant and in keeping with the neighborhood which whether you like it or not is filled with historic structures many of them landmarks. Anything under 8 units no Design Review. “Gulag 17″ is permitted as an 8 unit townhouse containing 8-8 bedroom units. In reality it is a 64 unit apartment building which replaced 1 old house. Density BOMB comes to mind here.

          The 2014 changes raised the heights from 30 feet to 40 feet (supposedly) which at the time I had no problem with. I didn’t realize that it meant 58 feet or six stories by the time all the “goodies” were added ie. 4 feet for this and 4 feet for that. 40 feet I am cool with. Lop off the two top stories of this thing and it would still be ugly but in scale with the neighborhood. It is pretty common for DPD to revisit changes to see how it is working and I applaud them for being willing to have a discussion openly about it after 10 years of being totally “anti citizen” (along with the rest of our city government) so for me 40 feet is cool. 60 feet? No way at this time.

          I still fail to see how I/We property owners are pushing anyone out. If I really wanted to get rich I would be lobbying for First Hill Plaza on my chunk of the hill (40 stories with a roof top pool and 360 degree views) naturally this hypothethical building would be in no way shape or form “affordable.” Extra height doesn’t automatically equal affordable in fact a friends parents live in one in Hong Kong (78th floor) and it costs a FORTUNE to live there.

          My last beef that nobody at the City seems to want to address is infrastructure. How does replacing 1 unit with 64 units impact the water, sewer, electricity, gas lines etc etc most of which are well over a hundred years old where I live. To my knowledge developers are just tying in and not upgrading anything. Someone eventually will be paying BIG money to do it (and it won’t be the developers of all the new stuff)

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