The next two Capitol Hill apartment projects slated to come in front of the East Design Review Board starting Wednesday night share common frameworks: nimble projects squeezing as many highly coveted, small units as possible onto land where old single family homes or underutilized fourplexes stand today. They also share a common reaction from some neighbors in the area: complaints —
Will there be any restrictions on car ownership by residents of these buildings? Will they be eligible for zone 4 permits?
Even if there was parking provided for these units, the very high density would be a stress on the neighborhood parking just because of their guests parking on the street. While we have parking for our car, our friends do like like to come to visit us in Capitol Hill specifically because it is difficult for them to park.
We are going to see a play tonight with friends who live in a residential neighborhood in North Seattle. It is not reasonable for them to try to take metro. It would be over an hour (70-75 minutes) to get here, including 30 minutes walking. Do you think that people are really going to walk 30 minutes after 11 PM to get him just for the pleasure of a night out with their friends in Capitol Hill? Our friends, like us, are older, she has a bad hip, and lives in a neighborhood with poor lighting and few sidewalks. But even healthy, younger people will not realistically do this.
If you want to promote public transit use instead of car use, the city needs to make public transit a reasonable option, not make the neighborhoods unlivable by eliminating parking.
That’s one piece of public feedback delivered to the Department of Planning and Development about the project slated for the Brad Khouri and b9 architects-backed 121 12th Ave E project that will cram 50 units into a four-story building. Its design review is on the calendar for August 13th. That construction is planned to replace three single-family homes at 12th and John. And, yes, there will be no parking.
The same thing goes for 1420 E Howell where 56 units are planned for another four-story structure. The project is large enough to trigger design review even without new microhousing legislation.
The proposed development will create an urban apartment building with 57 small residential units in the Capitol Hill Urban Center Village. This development is not required to have parking, as it falls within Urban Center Village neighborhood. There are several bus routes on 15th Ave., and the new light rail station is within walking distance.
The ground level of preferred scheme consists of an entry lobby on 15th Ave. and 12 residential units along E Howell St. The second through fourth floors house 14 units per floor while the basement level has 3 units with private patio. While the project will have ample green space on the south and north side at ground level; the roof deck will provide the main amenity area for tenants for entertaining, gathering, and relaxation.
Both developments are creative approaches taking full advantage of the neighborhood’s rental dynamics: climbing rents, increasing demand, and young professionals well-indoctrinated on the advantages economic, environmental, and sometimes social in living small.
Expect public comment at Wednesday’s early design guidance session on the E Howell project to be more about the zoning that allows — and encourages — multi-floor, multi-family housing types in the Capitol Hill core. Here’s one note sent to CHS about the proposed building:
DPD is about to have a hearing on a proposal for a very large new development at 15th Ave and Howell, and the impact may be of interest to your readers. The meeting is this Wednesday July 30 6:30 PM AT Seattle U. The small corner lot (which now has two small buildings, 3 units each I think) is proposed to have a 4 story 56 unit building with no parking. On that small lot, it sounds like MEGA micro-housing to me. It’s just a block from Group Health. If, say, half the tenants have cars, that will stress a neighborhood where it’s already very difficult to find on-street parking, even for those of us with RPZ permits.
The design review board won’t be able to do anything about the zoning that allows “very large” new developments — the City Council is mulling changes on that front. Instead, this first round will be focus on design issues most of the upset neighbors won’t care much about. But 56 Capitol Hill residents of the future will care a lot.