If CHS understands the way this works correctly, back in 1995, City of Seattle planners predicted $15 cocktails, drones, the demolition of Piecora’s, and Anarchists. And they did nothing to stop it. The good news is there is a chance to help influence the next 20-year plan and what place Capitol Hill, First Hill, and the Central District play in Seattle 2035… and beyond.
If you’d like the “too long, didn’t skim” version, ready about Alternative 2 which is forecast to create the most new housing and jobs for Capitol Hill out of the four models under consideration. Meanwhile, housing affordability is brought up as a problem under all of the options, but for different reasons. Alternative 2 would likely lead to lots of new, tall buildings. These tend to be expensive to build, and end up with higher rents and higher priced condos. Alternatives 3 and 4, which spread the development to more areas, could see people who currently live near light rail stations (in particular lower-income people in south Seattle) displaced as their neighborhoods are rebuilt with shiny, new buildings. The proposal recommends developing “strategies” to help lessen the problem.
Last fall, CHS reported on some of the growth analysis underway as the city drafts a re-written Comprehensive Plan, the document that will shape growth and development through 2035. City planner expect there will be 70,000 new housing units over that time (housing 120,000 people) and 115,000 new jobs.
“It’s not a matter of if we’re going to grow, it’s how we’re going to grow.”
“It’s not a matter of if we’re going to grow, it’s how we’re going to grow,” said Deputy Mayor Kate Joncas at Wednesday’s May 27 public hearing on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the process. “Where do we want to channel that growth?”
To understand the possible changes, it’s best to understand how things work now. The city is divided up into different areas, and growth is channeled, in different amounts, into these villages.
There are six Urban Centers: Downtown, First/Capitol Hill, South Lake Union, Uptown (you might call it Lower Queen Anne), University District and Northgate. The first four of these are next to each other, creating what looks on a map like one big Urban Center.
Then there are Hub Urban Villages: Ballard, Bitter Lake, Fremont, Lake City, West Seattle Junction and Mount Baker.
Finally, there 18 Residential Urban Villages such as 23rd and Union-Jackson, Madison-Miller, Eastlake, Green Lake, Othello, Wallingford and Columbia City.
Other parts of town are either industrial, like the ports or Interbay, or none of the above, just low-density residential — the north part of Capitol Hill, Montlake or Phinney Ridge, for example.
Under the current plan, most of the growth is channeled to the Urban Centers (keep in mind, Capitol Hill is considered an urban Center) while a lot of the residential goes to the Hub villages and residential villages.
Seattle is considering four different options going forward, each of which mean a very different feel for the city as a whole, and for the Hill.
The City has identified four alternatives for consideration in this EIS. The alternatives assume the same level of total growth, but evaluate differing levels of growth emphases that may occur in various areas of the city, and with differing levels of resulting land use intensities. Each alternative emphasizes different patterns of projected future growth amount and intensity among the urban centers, urban villages and transit-related areas.
• Alternative 1, Continue Current Trends (No Action), would plan for a continuation of current growth policies associated with the Urban Village Strategy along with a continuation of assumed trends that distribute growth among all of the urban centers and urban villages.
• Alternative 2, Guide Growth to Urban Centers, prioritizes greater growth concentrations into the six existing urban centers—Downtown, First/Capitol Hill, University District, Northgate, South Lake Union and Uptown.
The emphasis in alternatives 3 and 4 is on providing opportunity for more housing and employment growth in areas closest to existing and planned transit service. Specifically:
• Alternative 3, Guide Growth to Urban Villages near Light Rail, prioritizes greater growth concentrations around existing and planned light rail transit stations.
• Alternative 4, Guide Growth to Urban Villages near Transit, prioritizes greater growth concentrations around light rail stations and in specific areas along priority bus transit routes. The boundaries of the existing urban villages would remain unchanged under both alterna- tives 1 and 2. alternatives 3 and 4 would result in expansions to some urban village bound- aries and the designation of one new urban village (at NE 130th Street/Interstate 5) in order to encompass a 10-minute walkshed around existing/planned future light rail stations and priority transit routes.
Alternative 1 means to basically keep doing what we have been doing. Under this scenario, the Urban Centers get 42% of the new housing and 61% of the new jobs. Continue reading