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90 thoughts on “Apodments stay away?

  1. Here’s what the sign says:





    This is a good time to remind you about/introduce you to CHS community posts. Anybody can post to CHS and we’ll occasionally mix the best community posts into our regular news flow. Thanks to abbasolomon for contributing.

    We’re not sure what structure the sign’s creator was targeting — also, a quick review of DPD filings for the block didn’t immediately reveal any in-the-works microhousing projects.

    CHS looked at the microhousing trend on Capitol Hill here in June: Sometimes a big surprise, ‘micro-housing’ trend rolls on in Capitol Hill

    We’ll have more on a few other projects planned and in motion across the Hill soon.

  2. You are not sure? You are the news guy.

    Those signs are all over Malden and other streets. It doesn’t need to be for a structure on the same block.

    There is an aPodment structure going in just over on John and 13th.

    On the corner of 14th and Republican a structure is going in that is ridiculously out of scale with the surrounding structures. We have a weak design review process/board. You covered this one on your blog before and yes I know this isn’t exactly microhousing.

  3. Apparently, the owner of the houses that sit kitty-corner to these townhomes died recently, and they’re theoretically trying to cause anyone who might buy the property as an investment to redevelop to think twice if they’re looking to increase density.

    The creators of the sign also put a long rambling flyer under the doors of various neighbors (I live in a nearby apartment complex) that was filled with weird NIMBY fear-mongering. I don’t think they really have a clear idea of how development works, and the irony of the sign being in the yard of those townhomes is apparently lost on them.

    I’ve resisted the urge to make up stickers that say “SOME” to stick on the signs in front of that third line.

  4. The concern is the 3 homes being sold together on the NW corner at the intersection of Mercer/Malden with L3 zoning permits having been applied for. Someone has been recently stealing these signs near the homes for sale to only have them replaced later in the day. I walk this street with my dog 3 times a day, interesting to watch it all unfold.

  5. Here’s what the sign should say:

    Attention Developers

    No new development is welcome in this neighborhood.

    Neighbors are glad that developers built the homes we live in, the stores we shop in, and the infrastructure that we use daily, but now that we have ours we want to keep everyone else out.

    We are prepared to fight to keep out everyone who doesn’t look, act and think exactly like we do.

  6. You couldn’t be more right. Capitol Hill is experiencing growing pains. As neighborhoods are upzoned,property values will shift and neighborhoods will change. While it is important to contribute to the zoning process and have your voice heard, our zoning professionals are well educated and judicious. They know what they’re doing. Density is good for the environment, and although it can occasionally displace the poor, high density is good for the poor over the long term.

  7. We have one of those flyers (it’s orange and is a full page of text) posted on the board in my building which is across the street from the 3 beige houses that people are concerned about.

    I have mixed feelings about the whole thing – we have a lovely roof deck with a 360 degree view that I’d hate to lose if a taller building went in – not to mention that most buildings in the area are houses and smaller condos/townhouses – I believe there are a dozen units in my building. On the other hand, Capitol Hill is a dense neighborhood and part of that means development – not to mention the fact that the heirs have the right to sell the property to the highest bidders, whether developers or not.

  8. The sign has to do with the property on the corner of Malden and Mercer. The cluster of 3 homes on that corner are up for sale due to the owner recently dying. The owner owned all three homes and so the family wants to sell to a developer to take all 3 homes down and build a condo on that corner.
    The neighorhood thinks it’s a terrible idea because the parking is already conjested mess on that street.

  9. For 30 years we have lived with a Multi-Family Code based in predictable density. Plenty of awful land use battles in the 1980s got us to understand neighborhoods are fine with predictable growth. The micro-cube-studio developers have driven bulldozers through a handful of loopholes — some recently created by the developers working with a cash-starved City Hall — to completely explode predictable density in our Multi-Family code.
    The only predictability remaining is an ever-widening land use war.
    As for the Apodments themselves: excellent idea, dishonestly executed.

  10. I believe L3 zoning caps at 3 floors. Those homes are already 2 & 3 stories and sit on raised lots. I can’t imagine them being much higher, if at all.

    I’m okay with whatever goes in. Those rental homes aren’t the prettiest and more people means (usually) more business = more vibrancy. Only downside for me is the loss of on-street parking that will surely be more difficult to come by.

  11. I beleive the cap is by height because the development on the corner of 14th and Republican that the design review board was powerless against is four stories. They seemed more concerned with pergolas and faux active spaces even though all of the residences faced inward.

    The developer and architect would like you to beleive it fits into the neighborhood well.

  12. When I am no longer able to work full time I would love an Apodment to downsize to, within walking or bus distance to doctors, food. Affordable, small, no need to own a car. Why should I not be able to stay in my own neighborhood and downsize? The hill should have housing options for elders as well as the young. And no, I don’t mean the rich old folks apartments. I mean the rest of us.

  13. Haha, it’s hilarious how we have people complaining at different times about completely polar opposite things. On the one hand you hear everyone bitching about how Capitol Hill is gentrifying and lower-income people are being forced out, and on the other we’ve got people like you wanting to keep the lower-income people out. I guess it all depends on where you stand.

    I, for one, am for a mix of housing for people of different income levels, different personal needs and wants, and different places in their lives.

  14. My child’s school is in the Eastlake neighborhood, and we live on Capitol Hill.

    Not only have similar signs gone up around the school, but one of the parents sent this out in an email blast:

    “…Out of 13 people interviewed that currently live in the Videre on Capitol Hill, 11 have been released from jail in the past 18 months and all are renting weekly or monthly. A 23 year old college graduate that lived there … said his neighbors were, “all criminals, rapists and pedophiles,” and he feared for his personal safety. We also discovered that the landlord does not require background checks, does not supply any parking for his residents and repairs to the buildings are non-existent….”

    How can you reason with people like this? I wonder who “interviewed” the residents the Videre? Wow, people who have been released from jail in the last year and a half should not have access to affordable housing?

    Sorry, I do not have much to offer to this conversation, except to let you know that the same NIMBY crap is being pulled elsewhere, close at hand. It is frustrating. We live in a city. People need homes, and not everybody can jump in their RS4 to go make 180,000+ per year across the 520 bridge. The people who make your coffee, who cook and serve your restaurant food, who stock the grocery store shelves…? Yeah, then need homes, too.

    Deal with it.

  15. I don’t really get the crowded parking argument. Sure, it can be frustrating to try to find a spot when you’re circling the block, but that area has far more availability than other parts of the Hill. I frequently see spots open during ‘prime time’ (i.e., weeknights after 5pm) on Mercer between Malden and 15th. And even more parking is available if you go a bit further north, past Roy St. Yes, someone might have to walk an extra block or three, but that’s not the end of the world, unless you’re disabled/etc. and if it’s that big an issue, you probably should be looking for an apartment with parking included.

  16. When I worked in a grocery store I lived in a place/area that I could afford with my pay. Now that I make over 180, I want to live in a house on Capitol Hill. Hard work pays off.

    There is no reason you can’t commute from Renton or Lynwood for a food service job just like you have to commute across 520 for that high paying job. You can take the bus just like I do.

  17. The buildings in question are like a block, block and a half away from that giant tower on Mercer between 13th and 14th, so I’m not really sure how a 3 story multi family building could possibly be “out of scale” with the area. I mean, even buildings designed as “single family structures” are pretty huge. Its not like the houses in the area are predominantly tiny, like the 3 on the NE corner of 14th and Republican (which are adorable, and legitimately of a different scale then everything around them).

  18. It doesn’t say that they are against development or density so I fail to see the irony of the sign in front of the newer town home. If you walked along the block where the signs are posted you would see that they are placed in front of a diverse collection of homes and buildings. These places provide living space to an equally diverse, both economically and demographically, group of residents. That diversity is what makes our Hill so desirable and the reason why most commenting on this forum want to live on it. When you build developments that are out of scale for an area you upset that balance. What will that lead to?

    The problem with micro-housing in that neighborhood, which is what the sign is clearly against, is its intense density. The property if developed could house 84+ units. That could mean 168 new neighbors. The street’s character would be greatly impacted by nearly tripling its current occupancy. Furthermore, they market this “affordable” housing as temporary, transient housing which suggests a revolving door policy and a neighborhood where you no longer recognize your neighbor.

    So… Why can’t developers actually provide a space that these “disadvantaged” might want to occupy other than just temporarily? I’ll tell you why… THEY WON’T MAKE AS MUCH MONEY! They stick them in a shoe box and make them share a kitchen with strangers and charge more than $5 a square foot for the space. The average rental space in King County costs much less than $2 per square foot. Do you pro-tenement housing folks feel taken advantage of yet? Do you really think developers have your best interest in mind? If so, you are naive and gullible and I have a rental space I would like to rent to you.

  19. @Del –
    Precisely. High density housing mixed in with a lower density housing will help keep our neighborhood alive, because it will allow many types of people to live in one place. Not everybody can afford a single family home, townhouse, condo, or even a full-sized apartment, but that doesn’t mean they don’t deserve to live here. I live down the street from this development, and also down the street from the new apodment development on 13th at John. I think both housing types are a boon to the neighborhood, and it seems terribly classist to say that higher density is “bad” and lower density is “good.”

  20. “the Videre on Capitol Hill” has nothing to do with the signs in question.

    PLEASE KEEP TO THE TOPIC. This isn’t about who is occupying apodements, it is about the scale of these developments which are not a good fit for all areas of the hill.

    “Jackasses” ??? Thanks for the name calling, you are clearing winning with that approach.

  21. And there is the elitism.

    Well, you go ahead and stay in that house that you PURCHASED WITH YOUR CAPS LOCK ON, and your new neighbors will be a bit more plentiful and less pompous than you. Enjoy your perceived value as a human being.

  22. How about spreading the diversity around a neighborhood so it can be assimilated instead of concentrating one demographic in a massive development?

  23. Sorry “Neighbor” but the sign in the photo doesn’t say the neighbors are against development. That’s a leap you made to substantiate your argument. Please take a minute and read the sign again.

    There is such a thing as bad development. Surely you’ve heard of the Denny Regrade? It ruined an area for decades. I think these neighbors are merely trying to protect our Hill from bad developments and I thank them for doing so. More signs please!

  24. You can downsize in your own neighborhood. You can even live in a boarding house or tenement if that is what you choose to do. The problem with these developments is the fact that they are massive in scale in terms of density. Therefore they should be built in areas of the hill that can support that massive density. Pike and Pine, Broadway, Madison, these areas already support high volume and density so build them there and that’s were you can spend your “golden” years.

  25. You seem to be confusing elitism with living within your means.

    There is plenty of affordable housing in Seattle. You just don’t want to work for something better. You want handouts.

    There is plenty of pomp on Capitol Hill with people claiming they want diversity but they don’t want people who think differently than them. I love it but I am still voting for a Republican this year. The current guy can’t do his job.

  26. Fine, sounds good. Build these developments with 10-12 units not 40-80 and put them in any neighborhood. I’m sure the only one who would complain about those developments would be the developer because they won’t be able to make enough money off the backs of the poor and disadvantaged.

  27. We don’t like strip malls, we don’t like suburbs. let’s combine the two, call it a Gigapodment and everyone will live there. We can then film a reality show based in one to see how shitty living there really is. It’s about time people demanded better.

  28. Seriously, exactly what question was asked to result in the information about residents being released from jail? Does this mean time actively served, or just being arrested and released? Misdemeanors, felonies, what? I am wary of the messenger.

    And the resident saying neighbors were pedophiles, etc? Is this the reality, or malignant perception, a nasty comment?

    I expect this kind of NIMBY in the hand-wringing of Magnolia bluff, or Medina, but on the hill? Give me a break, we should be more tolerant than this. I am appalled…

  29. Wow. I get that these are hot button issues, and I realize that venom comes with the territory on blog comments, but maybe a calm discussion could help?

    First, some facts. This is a bit lengthy, so bear with me.


    The entire area from around Denny, north to Roy/Aloha, west to Broadway and east to 23rd (I think?) is zoned LR3. That used to mean ‘low-rise, three-story max.’ That area is also part of what is designated as an Urban Village. On top of the Urban Village designation, an area within a radius of half a mile from the light rail station is now designated a Station Area Overlay District. The two designations together mean that, in the LR3 zone, buildings can now go up to 40 ft (used to be 30ft), or four floors. That is already starting to happen. **No additional zoning variances required to get this done, as I understand it**

    Occupancy and Use issues

    I was curious, so I did some research on the DPD permits for some of the micro-housing projects. The “Occupancy and Use” tabs on the four I looked up describe their use as “boarding house.” As a boarding house, the property managers can legally (again, as I understand it) rent separate bedrooms to individual renters inside the same apartment (each apartment may consist of 7 or 8 bedrooms). **This seems to be legal as well**, although I am not an attorney, let alone a land-use attorney.

    Effect on neighborhoods

    Interesting that the previous comment mentioned diversity. Walk around Capitol Hill and you will absolutely NOT see a community of rich people having cocktail parties in their sumptuous yards. Instead, you will see a mix of single-family homes, duplexes, triplexes, apartments – ALL ON THE SAME BLOCK. And we all seem to like being around each other, with no animus against anyone. And if some of that ultra-housing development happens near me, I will like being around those folks too. Not all of us are rich, and many of us lived in high-density buildings when we were young. And it’s awesome that so many people want to live on Capitol Hill. I for one am thrilled that people want to live where I live. Much better than the alternative (which I have experienced as well).

    No, the problem is not with the folks who live in those buildings. The problem, in my opinion, is what the previous post mentioned: the neighborhood will turn into a monoculture. Once these buildings proliferate, nearby properties will probably drop in value, will be picked up by more developers and turned into, well, more boarding houses… and soon we may have 800-1000 people living on one block. With zero families. Zero kids. Zero long-term residents. And most likely very few older folks, like me. Instead the area will become home to people who need a place to stay for a few months to a year, before moving on to, well, probably something larger – and more power to them. Sure, I don’t have any facts to support this; this is just a hunch, so hold your horses. I have NOTHING against short-term residents like that; I do have a lot against turning active, diverse, vibrant neighborhoods into, well, planned, anonymous communities.

    Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe these developments could turn into active, diverse, vibrant elements of a close-knit neighborhood with a stake in their neighbors and their community. The jury, however, is still out on that. This may well be a dissertation topic for a UW student in urban planning!

    In the meantime, neighborhoods have a right and an obligation to themselves and the city to debate these issues calmly, look at the facts, and decide what they want their streets and blocks to look like in five-ten years and beyond. It seems to me that that’s what the signs are saying – perhaps in a polemical way, but that’s how a conversation can start.

  30. I believe the concerns around parking are not only due to this development but when you factor in the upcoming development on 14th and Republican, only a block away, which will have around 40 apartment with only 30 parking spaces, factor in overflow, guests etc, it will greatly eat way at what street parking there is.

    Of course change is inevitable and not everyone will like it. Personally, I’d rather see the nicely constructed, well-landscaped townhouses like those kitty corner from the property in question than what is currently in its place. Those homes have zero off-street parking, are dilapidated and the ivy/dark trees surrounding the property is depressing.

  31. Deal with what? Bad development? Who are you… Stalin? Not all development is good. These folks with the sign are exercising their freedom of speech and standing up against a type of development that clearly has a potential down side. It’s not about who lives in a particular development it’s about the sheer size of that development and where that development is placed. Your tactic to hijack a potentially good discussion on an important issue with details that are unrelated is unfortunate. Stick to the message on the sign in the photo and in the neighborhood involved so we can have a relevant discussion of this important neighborhood changing issue. Thanks Joe!


    Put these developments into areas that can handle their density. They don’t belong everywhere! Don’t ruin our existing working, livable, diverse, already reasonably dense neighborhoods with this experiment!

  33. City Dweller,

    This is off topic but you have inspired me to start complaining about the lack of affordable waterfront property in Madison Park.

  34. @daniel – LR3 in an Urban Center is 40′ height limit for apartments with exceptions to exceed this height under certain circumstances. In other words, this zoning easily allows four stories for typical residential construction

  35. Shorter Dpt: When I was young and poor there were no affordable housing options in the neighborhoods that I wanted to live, so I had to take the bus. I’m still bitter about my pathetic, horrible youth so I fight to make sure that today’s young people are as miserable as I was.

  36. Read: Thanks for the laugh! Citing the Denny Regrade as an example of “bad development” may be the most ludicrous comment within this entire thread. It’s hard to think of a more extreme example of anti-development than a regrade.

    And you’re questioning someone else’s reading comprehension? What a joke.

    But to the point that I imagine you were trying to make… The sign absolutely states that they are against development. The sign states that “these developments” are out of scale. What developments? Have they reviewed an application? Of course not. They are going to fight any and all development on that site because any development proposal for that site is going to come in the same sized box. That’s simply how the zoning code works.

    To suggest that this is anything other than pure NIMBYism is either ignorance or dishonesty. Given your comment about the regrade, I’m willing to give you a pass and chalk it up to ignorance.

  37. 13th and Union

    I hope you overcame your bitterness and horrible youth through hardwork. Maybe you could help others with that because you sound like you might make a good role model.

    I want an affordable option in Broadmoor because that is where I want to live. Do you know anyone who can help me move there so I don’t feel miserable?

  38. Fern: Are you going to give me an extra $500 a month to pay for space that I don’t need? The only “cooking” I do is done in a microwave (and sometimes my hotplate or rice cooker); why should I pay for an apartment with a kitchen? I haven’t taken a bath since I was 6; why should I be forced to pay for anything more than a shower stall?

    What is important to me is a place that is close to my favorite coffee shop and bar. All I need is a place to lay my head. If the market is willing to build this type of product for me at a price that I can afford, what right do you have to say that it shouldn’t be allowed? I don’t tell you how you should live!

    As for your comment that people like me are naive and gullible – go f yourself.

    And did you mean to be ironic in titling your comment “Read the sign” when you obviously didn’t bother to read your comment (or give it any thought)? In your very first sentence you write, “It doesn’t say that they are against development or density”. You start off your second paragraph with, “The problem with micro-housing…which this sign is clearly against, is its intense density.” So which is it?? Maybe you should “read the sign” and let us know.

  39. Dpt: Are you aware that there’s a thing called the Land Use Code? Do you know the different between Single Family and Multifamily zoning? You might want to look into that next time so that you don’t make the mistake of PURCHASING a house in a neighborhood within which the Comprehensive Plan (again, something you may want to google) attempts to concentrate residents.

    And you seriously can’t afford to live in Broadmoor? Obviously, you just haven’t worked hard enough to have earned the right to live there.

  40. Del: There are two Seattle Senior Housing buildings in our immediate neighborhood….one at 10th and Mercer, the other at 14th and Thomas. As opposed to the high-rise SHA buildings, the senior buildings are really quite nice…smaller, low-rise, more “homey,” but still with very low rents…..much lower than you would pay in one of these new developments.

  41. Thanks for your comments, Fern. I completely agree.

    I don’t think anyone is opposed to new development if it is well-designed, fits in with the surrounding area, increases density but at the same time provides at least some parking (not the old 1:1 ratio, but at least some spaces so as not to make nearby street parking even more difficult than it already is). Hopefully, this is what will happen at the three lots being discussed here.

    However, I think that ALL of us should vehemently oppose the micro-housing (aka “apodments”) that is starting to be built. These are atrocities, both for those who would live in them, and for the surrounding neighborhood…..and of course will be adding significantly to parking problems. They are not inexpensive, given their small size. With a little effort, someone can find an existing apartment at approximately the same rent somewhere on Capitol Hill.

    Our City Council MUST act asap to stop allowing these “apodment” abominations!

  42. You ask what neighborhoods if not Capitol Hill? Do you spend much time on the Hill? Are you suggesting that the Pike Pine Corridor is the same type of neighborhood as the street which has the signs posted? Both are located on Capitol Hill are they not? The two areas couldn’t be more different. There are areas of the Hill that can support the density and volume of traffic that tenement housing like those being discussed will bring to a neighborhood. Put them on the Hill too but put them on the streets of our Hill where their ultra high density can be absorbed and leave them off of streets where their ultra high density clearly does not fit in. Is that too much to ask?

  43. You can’t be that stupid to suggest I google something you don’t understand.

    I know enough that the property I purchased can’t be used for multi-family housing even though it is in LR3 zone. How is that for knowing the Land Use Code?

  44. 13th and Union… The market is willing to do a lot of things that aren’t necessarily good for individuals or the society as a whole, hence the need for such things as laws and regulation.

    You clearly have low expectations for the environment in which you want to live, that’s fine and it’s your choice. It is also a choice I don’t want to interfere with or prevent you from having. However, when developers build a building that is out of scale with its surroundings they impact the area and change the existing balance of it. In effect, they force a different lifestyle onto those living in the affected area. Isn’t that a form of being told how to live for those who are affected?

    Furthermore, when your needs and taste in a living environment change you can easily move out of your tenement and into something that fulfills your changing needs. However, the neighbors who surround this project, and who have had a stake in the neighborhood long before the tenement was built, don’t enjoy that same easy way out. So please, don’t ruin my neighborhood with your low expectations for living space and disposable lifestyle that we clearly don’t share. Build these tenements, so you can have your choice, in areas that can accommodate them. I would be willing to bet that those areas are even closer to your favorite bar and coffee shop.

    Regarding your comment in your last paragraph… Clearly there are different levels of density and I hope you understand that. The neighborhood in question is already quite dense and the neighbors who live there obviously don’t have a problem with it. They don’t however welcome the intense density that micro-housing brings with it and feel that there are better places on the Hill for such intense density.

  45. You may want to check your facts before calling someone else stupid. Your claim that multi-family can’t be built on a property zoned LR3 is 100% wrong.

    There are a handful of very specific exceptions, such as designated landmarks, but the very intent of LR3 is to allow for multi-family housing.

  46. Fern: Your willful ignorance and prejudice is stunning and disgusting.

    Your sanctimonious and judgemental opinions of my “disposable lifestyle” seem to come directly from the 1950’s. You indicate that you even believe that it is somehow against the law for developers to build housing that you and Calhoun find an “abomination” – but that thousands of others find efficient, affordable and all that they need. In my world, the ones with the “disposable lifestyles” are those that fill space that they don’t need with stuff that they don’t need.

    As to your claim that renters (or “tenement dwellers” as you refer to them) are universally less invested in or contributors to our neighborhood – I’ll again tell you to go f yourself. You have no idea how involved and invested I am in our neighborhood. Since the neighborhood is my living room, dining room, kitchen and rec room, I’m guessing that I care far more passionately about it than you ever will.

    It’s a shame that even within on of Washington’s most diverse and progressive neighborhoods we still have to suffer the narrow-minded, bigoted opinions of people like you.

  47. Love the comment by Miss Stereo:

    “I expect this kind of NIMBY in the hand-wringing of Magnolia bluff, or Medina, but on the hill? Give me a break, we should be more tolerant than this. I am appalled…”

    Nothing more amusing than starry-eyed idealists ignorant enough to believe that living in Capital Hill makes one above human failings or the “I’ve got mine” mentality. Guess what sweetie: people are more alike than they are different, regardless of their neighborhood.

  48. What a great use of spin- marginalzing the concerns of people who care about what happens in their communities by dismissing them as NIMBYs. Wealthy developers have been using this tactic to avoid discussing legitimate concerns about bad development for decades. (And by the way, I wonder how many of the pro-apodment commenters here even live on “Capital (sic.) Hill”- my guess is that if you actually lived here, you’d understand the concerns about neighborhood character (and traffic, and parking, and livability) that we are expressing. And you’d probably also know how to spell it.)
    Look, we have zoning codes for a reason. No matter what neighborhood you’re in, there are restrictions placed on your ability to develop your property. These apodments are being built under a loophole in the existing code. The City of Seattle should either close the hole, or go through a public process to determine whether what is effectively a radical, unintentional upzoning of this neighborhood should be allowed. And until they figure it out, they should place a moratorium on further apodment development. It’s as simple as that.

  49. No signs have been stolen! The neighbors have heard only positive comments from their neighbors and those that walk by. Where are you getting your information?

  50. You’re correct that there has been a great deal of misinformation spread on this issue. Unfortunately, the vast majority of the lies, hyperbole and smears are coming from your side of the debate.

    If you cared about being honest you’d admit that the “loophole” being used by developers has nothing to do with the legality of building apodments, but rather only if those projects are subject to design review. If you were to close the loophole, apodments would still be as allowed as they are today.

    If you cared about being honest you’d admit that under the code, apodments are actually LESS dense than a luxury apartment building on the same site (1.4 FAR for apodments vs 2.0 FAR for apartments). If you honestly cared about the scale of development in the neighborhood, you’d be fighting FOR apodments not against them.

    But you don’t seem to care about the facts. You’d rather construct a fear-mongering narrative about the “wealthy developers” and “outsiders” who “abuse loopholes” to “RUIN THE NEIGHBORHOOD” by building “tenements” filled with “felons”.

    Many of you will state that you’re not opposed to development, but that it’s more appropriate to build it somewhere else. What do you think NIMBY stands for? It’s hard to imagine a more appropriate use. Would you rather be called be called anti-growth obstructionists? Elitists? Segregationists?

    I also agree with you that the whole thing is pretty simple. It’s simply the case of entitled, wealthy neighbors wanting to keep poor people out and preserve the limited on-street parking that they believe belongs to them since they were there first.

  51. Cap Hill Designer: Interesting clarification re: the “loophole.”

    I can personally see both sides of the issue, having *lived* in buildings on both sides of the issue. I think the whole “only felons will live in Apodments” nonsense is exactly that – nonsense. Equally though, calling the resistance by neighbors to changes in the neighborhood NIMBYism is also nonsense. Didn’t some residents in South Seattle resist light rail going through their neighborhoods? Those were not the wealthy homeowners you set up as straw men, but ordinary people who were concerned their neighborhood would change for the worse. Was it not NIMBYism because they weren’t rich?

    There is a nasty undertone of class warfare in this entire debate on this post, which simply means that nobody will listen to what the other side has to say. I know people who have lived in Apodments, and I know people who live in neighborhoods where these developments are coming up. They both just want a place to live in a nice neighborhood. The big difference is that the apodment renters will probably only be there short term, unlike people who want to live there long term. The second group may arguably have more of a stake in the neighborhood, since they can’t just up and move as easily.

    Segregationists? You’ve got to be kidding me. The sign in question, if you read it carefully, says “No out-of-scale developments.” Where did you, or all the others crying NIMBY, see any mention of the people who will be living there? People who will probably be fine neighbors. Could it be that hyperbole serves to caricature those you disagree with, and thus try to win your argument? If so, aren’t you as dishonest as the person you’re accusing of lying about the loophole issue? There is a good chance that person may not know the land use code as well as you do; if so, simply correct it and move on with your argument rather than calling them a liar.

    And what was your argument again, if you strip hyperbole and name-calling?

  52. Too many comments and replies and I’m too lazy to go through them all… but did someone say rent for a 100 sq ft bedroom is around $600/$700? Isn’t that a little steep? I’m thinking of moving to Seattle – are there other neighborhoods where you can get something nice for less $$?

  53. This thread is sparked by an assumption that development at the corner of Mercer and Malden would be an apodment complex. Isn’t that quite a leap? Aren’t 3 story townhomes still the far more likely result? Y’know – the kind of development half the people here would be up-in-arms about if the looming apodment scare weren’t oh-so-much worse.

    Conspiracy theory – signs were placed by lurking townhome developers in advance of their white-knight arrival to “save the neighborhood” by building newly-appreciated medium-density townhomes instead of the dreaded pods.

    Have a good night everyone. And lighten up.

  54. I am one of the residents with the sign on my front lawn which some may view as elitist or part of a “not in my backyard” mentality.
    I’ve chosen to live on Capitol Hill for the past 8 years for many reasons, one of which is the proximity to my work and local businesses. I am very concerned about the environment and travel by car only when necessary. I love the diversity and the community feel of my street. There’s a sustainable mix of single family homes and apartments/condos.
    People living here are connected to the neighborhood. We watch out for each other’s homes and cars. We clean up the occasional broken bottle on the street or the litter left behind. We’ve invested time, effort and money into our properties. We work to stay connected with both residents and the absent landlords to keep them informed about what is going on. We’ve loaned lawn chairs and BBQ things to renters next door because they haven’t got the room or money to buy them. We help share tools and ladders when renters need them.
    What is happening with apodments concerns me for 2 reasons. While I am not opposed to high density development, there is something being lost as part of Capitol Hill gets bulldozed away. Each time a single family house is lost, part of what has made this neighborhood what it is gets chipped away. Why does every street on the Hill have to look like one of the arterial streets here? What is wrong with the quieter, mildly dense blocks interspersed with denser development? It’s a quality of life issue.
    The other concern is how these units get developed under the radar. Developers are not initially honest about the intention to create high density units. They are able to later amend plans without any neighborhood input. Who is going to invest in Seattle when our input and chance to shape our community isn’t valued?
    Like it or not, my investment and commitment to the neighborhood and the preservation of what drew me to live here matters. My neighbors and I deserve a chance to have input to what happens to where we live. It’s dangerous to propose otherwise.
    Diversity is key on the hill. Don’t push out part of the backbone that has brought the Hill to where it is today. These stacked boarding house aka apodment developers will be long gone. What will happen to Cap Hill if the supporting network is gone?
    I’m sorry some of you don’t like our signs. We’ve earned the right to put them there. Before you negatively comment, what have you done to positively shape Cap Hill?

  55. Your the one that is telling lies “designer”! Not one of the signs says anything about backyards. Your so stupid you don’t even know what NIMBY stands for.

    You try to distract us with made-up meaningless numbers to try to hide the FACTS. Do you even know what a fact is? It’s a FACT that criminals have lived in these types of buildings before. Do you deny this? It’s a FACT that these buildings don’t provide parking and the people who live there cause HUGE problems to the neighborhood with all their cars. It’s a FACT that the developers who build these only care about MAKING MONEY and will tell whatever lies to get their way. It’s a FACT that these types of buildings would be against the law but 1%er developers paid off the Mayor and the City CLOWNsel. Do you deny this? It’s a FACT that these buildings destroy lives and neighborhoods. Get your facts straight!

    If you stopped telling lies and looked at the FACTS you’d join us in fighting these buildings.

    I can tell that you don’t actually live in the neighborhood. You should just butt out!

  56. Thank you, Capitol Hill Investor. I am one of the neighbors that would be affected by these developments. I have to confess that all the NIMBY accusations hurled at us, although not a surprise (that was the first thing I mentioned was going to happen when we began organizing), was really painful to experience. But I suppose it’s par for the course, and eventually our skin will thicken.

    There is nothing wrong with being invested in our neighborhood, and with trying to maintain the quality of life that drew us here in the first place. Imagine a street full of high-density developments, with no permanent neighbors or friends to look in on your place when you’re gone. Or people to chat with. You may not like our neighborhood, but we do. And many of the people who will rent an apodment will move on to live on a street just like ours, and I can guarantee you they will fight just as hard to keep it a great place to live if they’re ever threatened. Let’s talk then. Until that time, lighten up, as someone else said, and listen.

    And for crying out loud: **we are not trying to keep anyone out**!! This is such BS, I don’t even know where to start, so I won’t even try.

  57. Dear neighbor (and we are neighbors, I live in an apartment building just down the street from this sign),

    I do very much understand where you’re coming from, I’ve lived in various places on the Hill in the last 15 or so years and our corner of it is a great one.

    But I will say, the way you’re approaching your messaging is offputting. When I first walked by one of these signs, I was hurt and angry. As someone who will never be able to affod to buy in this neighborhood, it told me that the people who I call my neighbors don’t think I belong. Affordable housing is a huge struggle for people who work ordinary jobs in this city. Are apodments the answer? I actually agree with you that they’re not, but that property at Malden and Mercer will sell, and if it goes to a developer it’s very likely going to be another townhome or luxury condo project that will again serve to remind me that the Hill is slowly becoming a neighborhood that doesn’t welcome me. And then a few days later I got a flyer under my door that just reinforced that feeling. I understand that you’ve made an investment in our community that I don’t have the resources to do, but I want to be a long term resident here as well.

    Please consider how your messaging comes across, I’m not a writer but how you’re presenting yourselves is problematic and coming from a place that both alienates people like me on an emotional level and will never convince the people you’ve seen in this thread talking about FAR and PSF with regard to these kinds of developments.

  58. Sorry, I am not following how the messaging makes you feel alienated. If the sign makes you feel hurt you have far bigger issues you need to deal with.

  59. dpt-
    I was trying to be less blunt, since folks seemed to want to talk about creating community.

    Am I crying myself to sleep over this at night? No. But those signs and the flyer, as they’re written now, say to many people that if you don’t own property in this neighborhood, or are interested in development that isn’t like a lot of the luxury development we’ve seen in the last few years, that you’re not welcome.

    It is increasingly difficult to find well maintained rental stock for under $1000 on the Hill. Bottom line.

  60. As a local resident I took the signs down a few times from my building as I don’t appreciate political signs placed by people who don’t live there (I’ve seen the guy who’s placing them, he’s not in my building, and my landlord doesn’t living in town). I’d imagine the same thing has happened around the block, and doubt there’s been any stealing.

  61. Good point,hypointerested. I hope you’re right that these 3 lots will be developed as town homes…and hopefully nice-looking, classy ones at that. Then, they would have to go through design review and neighbors could be allowed some input.

    The “apodments” (rapidly becoming a dirty word) I have seen under construction are usually on a single lot, shoe-horned in, so maybe the fact that there are 3 lots at the location in question will prevent another apodment abomination. It is absolutely ridiculous that the current code allows these to be built without any kind of design review or other public input, and also that they provide no parking whatsoever. City Council, are you listening?

  62. This issue really isn’t about who owns and who rents. I want
    my neighbors to have a real stake in what happens on my street. It’s not about whether you own or rent, if you care about the quality of life. Having a bit of light and air without a large structure casting shadows on your backyard. Not having to spend a half hour finding a parking space.
    I’d like to have a sense that my neighbors are going to stick around longer than month to
    Month, or until they find other roommates and move elsewhere. I’d like my neighbors to appreciate the trees and gardens that are abundant here, and to care when greedy developers propose to build over them.
    I’m by no means elitist or exclusionary. I’m for reasonable density. What people are missing in this whole apodment controversy is that it is equally cost effective to get 3-4 Roommates together and rent a real house. These boarding houses aren’t really all that cheap, and the quality of life away from
    Them is likely much better. That is, if there are any houses left in this part of the hill.
    As for the tone of the signs, it’s been commented they are off putting and somewhat mean spirited. Given that City Council, the Mayor and boarding house fans are not really listening, we had to be blunt. We’re tired of not being heard. This issue is percolating in several other neighborhoods, as well. It’s not going away, and neither are we.

  63. Soem city dweller like old neighborhoods, quiet neighborhoods with atll trees and attractive houses. Our idea of Hell is a packed noisy urban environment where we can’t see the sky and never have a space to breathe. Some people are forced to live in urban areas because of work. That does no mean that want to live in a crowd. There are also safety issues and health issues with overcrowding. The idea fo the vanishing wilderness is over-hyped, a scare/ scarecity tactic that gives greedy developer the excuse to pack us all in like sardines in tiny over-pricd units that have none of the qaulities of HOME. The old Japanese ‘rabbit hutches’. We are Americans. We love space and freedom. The huge generation is old and will be gone in 20 years or so. We as a nation are not overpopulated. Let’s have quality of life, and no SMART cities.

  64. Ellen, I actually agree with you. The language in the signs could have been better… And I personally really appreciate that someone who’s a renter in the neighborhood joined the conversation. Thanks for the feedback!

  65. How about a normal apartment building, like the Cornell (corner of Malden and Mercer)? That looks like a perfectly lovely building; why wouldn’t a developer build something like that?

  66. Ellen, I think you are over-reacting. Your neighbors are not telling you that you “don’t belong.” In fact, most are saying that they welcome a neighborhood which contains a mix of people, renters and owners alike. It’s not the existing apartments that are the problem….it’s the prospect of “apodments” significantly impacting our living environment in a very negative way.

    I agree that it’s quite likely the three properties will be redeveloped into town homes or condos, and that they will be relatively expensive to rent or buy. But there are new buildings being built on Capitol Hill for lower income people…by the fine group “Capitol Hill Housing”….there is one across from Seattle U, and another one soon to come kitty-corner from the East Precinct police station, on 12th Ave. Also, it is almost certain that some of the new housing over the Capitol Hill light rail station will be “affordable.” And, for seniors there are two Seattle Senior Housing buildings on quiet, residential streets, and rents there are very low.

    So, it is just not true that Capitol Hill is becoming a place for more affluent people. That’s a claim that is being made by those who just need something to bitch about.

  67. Read the comments on that story too. I’m quoting one here, by a JonbyD:


    This is not about mindless nimbyism. This is about transparency of building projects and allowing community members to have a say about the growth of the community. This is about creating 48 apartments in space meant for six townhouses.

    This is not about altruism. Mr. Mulhair and Calhoun Property Managment makes a lot of money every month off of their $550/month per 7×10 foot apartments. There are 48 units in the development that is the subject of this article. He has build at least one other similar development. Do the math.

    Mr. Mulhair himself is not a practitioner of densification. He actually lives in the sprawling suburbs in his own house on a rather large lot.

    Finally, in regard to the middle class, upstanding people who will embrace these 7×10 foot units…7×10, prefurnished single-bed units with no room for personal furnishings other than what has been provided. Really? I don’t know any middle-class working person (or student) who aspires to that quality of living. Most students I know move out of that type of living at the first possible opportunity.

  68. Today I walked by the three properties for sale at the NW corner of Malden Ave E and E Mercer St. The two southern-most houses are not the greatest quality, but I would hardly describe them as “run-down” as some poster here has done. Still, they would not be missed if they were redeveloped into something tasteful and attractive…but, please, oh god, not “apodments”!!

    However, the northern property, at 607 Malden Ave E, is a truly gorgeous, classic, turn-of-the-19th century home which is in pristine condition, and must be saved. If it were to fall to development, that would be a real tragedy. If there ever was an older home on Capitol Hill worthy of a major effort to save, this is it.

  69. I think its a great idea personaly, Only one person should be allowed to live in each apodment. They should make it so that there is only one person living there. And also has requirements that needs to met.

    Ex. Proof of income
    No Kids
    Above The Age Of 21
    Attending School

    Is that wrong? I dont see the diff. from that and people protesting because these people dont make enough money to live in the neighborhood. Maybe, just maybe they are trying to make a diff. and work towards a better life so that one day they can “afford” to live in a decent neighborhoods.