Post navigation

Prev: (12/12/11) | Next: (12/13/11)

Too little, too late? Plan passed to preserve Pike/Pine’s not-yet-redeveloped character

Saying the plan could save ten of Pike/Pine’s remaining “character structures” over the next two decades, the Seattle City Council on Monday passed legislation creating a transfer of development potential program for the Pike/Pine neighborhood. In September, CHS wrote about the plan and the challenges faced by a TDP program limited to one neighborhood. Sally Clark, chair of the Council’s committee on the built environment, said the program will help preserve the culture of the Pike/Pine neighborhood:

“Pike-Pine has been in jeopardy of becoming a victim of its own success,” Clark says in the Council announcement on the vote. “Artists, gay and lesbian bars, other small businesses, students and younger apartment dwellers made it so cool that developers couldn’t help but notice. We want to make sure that new development is a bonus for the area and doesn’t tear down the history and culture of Pike-Pine.”

The legislation sets up an exchange system that allows a developer to earn credit for preservation of a character structure on one property that can be sold for expanded development rights at another property.

Previously, we mapped Pike/Pine properties by their “transfer of development potential” potential — the bigger the dot, the bigger the square footage a developer would gain from the program in a development elsewhere in the program.

The passage represent a third — and final — stage of the creation of a preservation district in this busy neighborhood of Capitol Hill. Our previous coverage of the first phase of creating a Pike/Pine Conservation District is here. That legislation’s biggest advances were related to creating specific incentives to developers who included historical building components into their designs. We covered the Council’s update to the rule set in summer 2010 here.

Pike/Pine’s growth prior to the conservation effort hasn’t always resulted in the most neighborhood friendly outcomes for existing residents and businesses but, nonetheless, the area has been recognized for its development and “innovative reuse.”

Here’s the full announcement on the legislation’s passage from the City Council.

Saving the Pike-Pine Neighborhood Culture: Seattle City Council approves program to save character structures

The Seattle City Council passed C.B. 117235 today creating an additional financial incentive for owners of older, character buildings in the Pike-Pine District of Capitol Hill to preserve the buildings.

The new Transfer of Development Potential (TDP) program allows owners of buildings that are at least 75 years old, (called character structures,) to sell the unused air-rights above their buildings to other property owners in the neighborhood if the owner of the sending site agrees to keep the older structures in place. The amount of air rights that a property owner can sell is generally the difference between the floor area of the existing building on the lot and the floor area that could be built in a new building developed to the maximum limits allowed by the zoning on the same lot. 

Many Pike-Pine businesses and residents have long feared that their neighborhood, Seattle’s original auto row, is threatened by redevelopment and destruction of the neighborhood’s history and culture. They’ve raised concerns that the art and culture that have made the neighborhood popular could be lost to insensitive redevelopment.

Councilmember Sally Clark said, “Pike-Pine has been in jeopardy of becoming a victim of its own success. Artists, gay and lesbian bars, other small businesses, students and younger apartment dwellers made it so cool that developers couldn’t help but notice. We want to make sure that new development is a bonus for the area and doesn’t tear down the history and culture of Pike-Pine.”

The TDP program is the final phase of a three-part effort sponsored by the City Council to support appropriate scale new development and historic renovation in the Pike-Pine neighborhood. 

Councilmember Tom Rasmussen added, “First we strengthened the Pike-Pine Conservation Overlay District, to provide incentives for saving character structures and encourage spaces for arts facilities and small businesses. Then we revised the Neighborhood Design Guidelines to help ensure new construction fits in with the character of the neighborhood. Now we’re adding a new way to save existing buildings by allowing building owners to earn money if they keep their character structures.” 

The City’s Department of Planning and Development estimates the TDP program could preserve as many as 10 character structures over a 20-year period.

Subscribe and support CHS Contributors -- $1/$5/$10 per month

3 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Mary Bennett
9 years ago

In the early 80’s, the Capitol Hill Community Council and the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce submitted a Pike-Pine neighborhood plan to the city, using money Office Of Neighborhood grant money. It was the first neighborhood plan created through the Office of Neighborhoods.

Using volunteers,the two groups went door to door in the Pike-Pine Corridor and asked the community what it wanted….the convention center had just gone up, and it looked like Capitol Hill was next for huge development, and the groups feared without a neighborhood plan, the area would be run over. The primary instigators were Dick Baldwin,(Winderemere Real Estate) C of C, me, representing the CHCC, and Lois Brewer, hired to take the information and create the plan.
The plan must be in the city records. Dick Baldwin may have a copy. I think we contributed to slowing down the take over of Pike Pine.

Juno
9 years ago

Mary, THANK YOU to you and your team for the work you did.

Juno
9 years ago

Thank GAAAUUUD! I was afraid this neighborhood would soon become West Bellevue/Kirkland.