The City of Seattle late Monday night published the draft version of a 38-page document that will help set the course for life in Capitol Hill’s core for decades to come. The Capitol Hill Light Rail Stations Site Urban Design Framework document distills information shaped over a period of years in the community process around the future transit center and adjacent development and organized over the last seven months in a series of workshops designed to establish the guiding principles by which the more-than-2-acre Sound Transit-owned site will be developed before it becomes operational in 2016. Below is a copy of the draft, our summary of the report and details on what you, as a Capitol Hill stakeholder bar none, can do to further shape, strengthen and support the plan.
Cathy Hillenbrand, the community lead for the Capitol Hill Champion Group representing the Capitol Hill Community Council and the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce, sent out the following bulletin for how to help push the framework forward:
YOUR JOB: Read, Discuss, Comment
- In writing: One month public comment period May 9 – June 6.
- In Person at a Public Open House: Saturday May 21, 10A – 1PM at the Seattle Central Community College Atrium
- Sign up for the City’s Urban Design Framework Listserv
Circulate this email to your friends and neighbors and encourage them to sign up for the Champion’s Listserv
You can also get involved by “liking” the group on Facebook, of course.
The publishing of the draft comes as reports circulate of deeper financial trouble at Sound Transit due to continued lower-than-planned tax revenue. While ST has made it clear that it doesn’t believe financial shortfalls will impact the construction of Capitol Hill’s station and route, the market pressures on the agency to maximize potential profit from the development of the Broadway site are clearly increasing.
Now that the draft is available, we’ll likely delve more deeply into a few of the issues with the community groups and representatives from Sound Transit who will be involved in implementing a plan within the new framework. For now, we’ll warm you up for this kind of heavy development thinking with an overview. Meanwhile, an open house on the document is coming up quickly — May 21st — but feedback can be provided via e-mail even if you are unable to attend. Here is the city site documenting the draft, the process and background materials.
Here is the Urban Design Framework’s purpose statement to give you the high-level positioning:
The purpose of this Urban Design Framework(Framework) is to memorialize a shared vision for the Sound Transit-owned properties onCapitol Hill with the goal of that vision being implemented through Sound Transit’s Requestfor Qualifications and Proposals process for the disposition and eventual development of thoseproperties. This Framework will not only inform the future developers of these sites, but providea foundation of design guidance for reviewing future redevelopment proposals. The Frameworkis not a regulatory mechanism but represents adetailed vision for these properties shared by thecommunity, the City and Sound Transit.
What’s coolest about a document like this, however, is the specific guidance it spells out for the development of the area:
Key elements of the vision include:
- Sustainable and collaborative design and development
- Design and development of a civic quality,resulting in a dynamic place people want to be,
- A dynamic place that houses people and activities reflective of the diversity and vibrancyof Capitol Hill.
The Urban Design Framework provides a toolfor the City and the Capitol Hill Communityto work together with Sound Transit, SeattleCentral Community College and other partnersto leverage public and private actions to achievethe community’s overall vision for the immediateBroadway Station area.
- Development Guidance for Sites A: Vibrant ground floor retail or active service should front Broadway
- Development Guidance for Sites B: Provide affordable housing for a range of residents.
- Development Guidance for Sites C: Orient vibrant ground floor retail or active service along Broadway.
- Development Guidance for Site D: Provide affordable student housing and other uses affiliated with the College according to the needs of the college.
Details on these transit oriented development features are for the most part spelled out in the 38-page document. If you take the time today to wade in, let us know what you find in the details that you like — and anything you find that you don’t think should be part of the vision. The specifics range from affordable housing — at least 50% for 50 years…
50% of all housing units on sites A, B and Cshould be affordable for 50 years for households that make at or less than 80% of area medianincome (AMI). Half of those units, 25% of the total, should be affordable for households that make less than 50% of area median income.
to, yes, parking…
Given the proximity to transit, there should be less total parking than market rate developments typically provide.
Development Guidance for Station Plaza (see alsoManagement, Programming and Maintenance of StationPlaza section)■ Make the Station Plaza available to the BroadwayFarmers market as a permanent home to host their weekly or biweekly Farmers Market■ Make the plaza available to other public uses andprograms during non-market times.■ Limit vehicular movements within the plaza to loadingand unloading for the Farmers Market and otherservice and delivery functions.■ Consider uses that will activate the Station Plaza onnon-Farmers Market days such as A food court using semi-permanent food vendors Art/craft markets Performances Buskers
Finally, like any good idea document, the framework has a catch-all off ideas that didn’t quite fit into the overall vision but that people involved to-date have felt are worthy of inclusion in the framework. Here is the current “good idea” list — you’ll note it includes an element to consider creating an LGBT center at the site and some other progressive ideas that could be worth pushing into the main body of the document.