About Ari Cetron

Ari is a Seattle-based writer and editor. Find out more about him at www.aricetron.com

‘Tree-point system’ — In quest to stay leafy, Seattle looks at new canopy protection rules

Tree

Seattle homeowners could need a permit to remove some trees from their property and developers would need to follow a “tree-point system” to determine how many trees would need to be planted when there is new construction under a new set of tree preservation regulations being considered at City Hall.

The city’s current tree preservation regulations were developed in 2009, but were considered at the time to be interim rules, said Yolanda Ho, of the city council staff during a May meeting of the council’s Planning Land Use and Zoning Committee.

A set of draft regulations was then developed in 2012, but it didn’t end up going anywhere. Now, the council is trying again to develop a set of rules that could help the Emerald City reach is goal of 30% tree cover. Continue reading

New guidelines set to refresh design of Capitol Hill development

The design of the next waves of Capitol Hill redevelopment could get a refresh under a set of proposed design guidelines that would govern buildings in the neighborhood.

“I think there’s an acceptance there’s going to be growth and there’s going to be change,” said Patrice Carroll, an urban planner with the city who is helping with the development of the new guidelines.

Capitol Hill Design Guidelines Open House

The original guidelines for the area were established in 2005, then revised in 2013 to reflect a larger, citywide update. In broad terms, the guidelines give developers an idea for how a building should look, and what sorts of amenities are important to the neighborhood. Continue reading

Up against a wall of *if*, here’s *how* Seattle head tax money would be spent on Capitol Hill


If it survives a voter referendum cooked up this week by business and economic groups opposing the plan… And if the spending plan put forward by the City Council somehow can survive mayoral opposition…

How much of the roughly $237 million over five years in head tax revenue will come to Capitol Hill? The short answer is, some, but it’s too early to say exactly. A Seattle City Council resolution, however, gives a starting point. Along with the head tax, the council approved a companion resolution that laid out broad preliminary plans for the windfall of cash.

The resolution is non-binding and could change during the council’s budget process in the fall. Additionally, the Mayor Jenny Durkin’s office has indicated that she opposes the preliminary spending plans, council staff say. Continue reading

With or without head tax cash, businesses make push for homelessness outreach on Broadway

(Image: Alex Garland/CHS)

Even with the city’s new head tax on the books, a group of Broadway businesses have decided not to wait for new funding streams to start — and their decision on how best to put the money to use shows how the priorities to the issue can differ in the distance between City Hall and Capitol Hill. The Broadway Business Improvement Area will fund its own outreach worker to help people experiencing homelessness and be available to area merchants when issues arise.

In past years, the city had run a program funding outreach workers to visit areas around downtown to assist the homeless population. That program was then expanded to the International District and then to Capitol Hill. That program, at least the Capitol Hill portion of it, lasted for about two years before closing in March.

At the time, the businesses which make up the BBIA began looking to find a way to allow the program to continue, and now that may be taking shape, said Egan Orion, administrator of the BBIA. Continue reading

Environmental nonprofit Nia Tero ready to put down roots with new Pike/Pine office

A nonprofit dedicated to helping indigenous people efficiently manage the environment is coming to Capitol Hill. The nonprofit Nia Tero looks to move into offices being renovated this summer at 501 E Pine.

The organization will work with indigenous people around the world to help them continue to act as stewards of their land.

“For millennia, indigenous peoples have thrived through connection with their territorial lands and waters. These connections between people and place have shaped societies that sustain some of the most vital natural systems on the planet. Nia Tero exists to support and amplify this guardianship through equitable partnerships with indigenous peoples to sustain and govern large-scale territories,” says the group’s website. Continue reading

25 years of Rudy’s Barbershop on Capitol Hill — and, why they called it Rudy’s to begin with

Eight million haircuts. Rudy’s, the Capitol Hill-based haircutting empire, is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, and the company estimates they’ve given more than 8 million haircuts in that time.

The first Rudy’s was opened in January, 1993 on E Pine, by friends Alex Calderwood, Wade Weigel and David Petersen. According to company lore, the trio was looking to make a place where they could hang out with their friends.

In those grunge-era days, Capitol Hill was a very different place in terms of the demographics, and sheer numbers of people, but that was starting to change. Rudy’s opened, along with now-stalwart Linda’s, and once-beloved Bauhaus coffee. Those three were one factor in changing the neighborhood into the one we recognize now, said Danny Segal, director of marketing and brand for Rudy’s. Or at least they were a factor in changing it into the neighborhood we used to recognize, but now don’t anymore, depending on how long you’ve lived here. Continue reading

Workshop will try to get community priorities out in front of coming, taller 15th Ave E redevelopment

15th Ave E from above

By the time the bulldozers show up, it’s way too late to have any impact on how a new building might look.

So a pair of architecture firms located on 15th Avenue East are planning to get ahead of any development on the street they call home. Board & Vellum and Environmental Works are hosting a design workshop, open to the public, to discuss what 15th Ave E could look like as redevelopment happens.

Thus far in the recent building boom, 15th has largely been spared much redevelopment, save for the old Chutney’s site being replaced by the Stream 15 building in 2013. And the lack of change hasn’t just been during the current boom. Chris Parker of Board & Vellum notes that in going back through archived photos, the neighborhood looks largely the same as it has for decades.

“It hasn’t changed much since the 1950s,” he said. Continue reading

Here’s how Mandatory Housing Affordability might open up a new horizon in Pike/Pine preservation: 8 stories

11th at Pine’s Richmark Label building — primed for preservation-boosted redevelopment

You don’t see many eight-story buildings in Seattle, but they may start sprouting up in Pike/Pine and other places around town in the coming years. The reason has to do with the way affordable housing will interact with historic preservation.

Eight stories is an odd height. Under the Seattle building code, buildings up to seven stories can be built from wood. Eight or higher, and the building needs more durable materials such as concrete and steel. The more durable materials also make construction cost considerably more, to the point that eight-story buildings aren’t really profitable. Continue reading

Seattle set to give Central District its own design review board

In an effort to preserve and grow the historically Black culture of the Central District, Seattle is creating a new Design Review Board for the area. The proposal passed out of committee April 4, and will  go before the Seattle City Council for a vote scheduled for Monday afternoon, April 9th. UPDATE 3:20 PM: In a unanimous vote, the council approved Rob Johnson’s legislation creating the new guidelines and board. Johnson thanks Central Area activists for their  “several decades of work” to make the new process possible. “I’m really proud to be playing a small part here in the end to help get this across the finish line,” Johnson said.

“The creation of a Central Area Design Review District and Board will support equitable and inclusive community engagement and process specific for those most impacted by displacement, maximize the effectiveness of the Central Area Design Guidelines, and help guide future development to respond to the unique Central Area historical character and identity,” according to a report prepared explaining (PDF) the legislation.

The proposal sponsored by Council member and planning and land use committee chair Rob Johnson (District 4) would make a new, eighth design review district by carving it from Capitol Hill’s East District Review Board and the Southeast district. Continue reading

Seattle U’s Center for Science and Innovation will give school new presence on 12th Ave

The number of science and technology majors at Seattle University is surging, and the school is planning a new building to house them all. The project will continue the school’s recent trend of developing its edges and creating new buildings that connect more solidly to the surrounding neighborhood blocks.

There are about 1,200 students studying STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields at Seattle U right now, said Michael Quinn, dean of the College of Science and Engineering. Quinn expects that number to grow to nearly 1,600 by 2023, about double from the 900 students they’d had in 2009. Continue reading