It’s time to stop the unregulated development that is destroying Seattle’s neighborhoods. The Seattle Planning Department has completely ignored the desires and wishes of Seattle’s existing residents, disregards public comments, and doesn’t follow any of the goals and objectives of the urban development plans. The Seattle Planning Commission is completely controlled by individuals who make their living from the development business, architects, contractors, real estate, and building lenders. The city needs to rethink how Seattle will develop in the future. Will builders and developers, most who live outside of Seattle continue to dictate the future of Seattle housing and neighborhoods?
Ballard; Member of Central Ballard Residents
I am an hourly wage earner and a home owner inside the Seattle city limits. I grew up in Seattle and I’m here to ask, “Will the last hourly wage earner/home owner in Seattle please turn off the lights?”
Lake City; Member of Friends of Cedar Park
I am saddened by the loss of older apartment buildings which have been affordable to the elderly and lower income and are being replaced by new buildings that they can no longer afford. Where do these residents go?
We need City Council to think of the integrity of neighborhoods that have been created and successfully maintained based on valueing individuals and families with diversity of age, culture, income, interests and experiences rather than forcing density in a manner that destroys a communities way of life.
I suggest starting with a very serious shake up at DPD. The same “public sector” workers sign off on planning/redevelopment documents associated with the same developers/’investors’ – who clearly know how to work the same angles to get their projects through and/or how to exhaust tax paying citizens who object to their tactics.
Driving on Capitol Hill I pulled to the curb overcome with emotion at the destruction of yet another beloved small business now a gaping cavity in the earth. Thoughts turned to a friend who worked SO hard to become a nurse while at Seattle Central – then booted out of her CH building as the rents were tripled and the long time super was tossed out. It doesn’t have to be this way. Encourage growth, maintain landmark buildings/businesses, protect housing for the low and middle income . . . .? It’s absolutely possible. Begin now before the soul of our neighborhoods is completely destroyed.
I submit to you that one of the reasons McGuinn was voted out with Conlin was this issue: I am extremely concerned and motivated to see that no more light, air, and quality of life is destroyed by this bald land-grab by the developers. Our infrastructure is painfully unsupported by these developer – subsidies, and it must stop. Sigamura has to go – put someone in her place who gives a damn about the quality of life in our neighborhoods. Capitol Hill
I strongly support this set of recommendations. Yes, we need more housing, but the kind of housing we need is low-income housing. Gentrification is disastrous for the heterogeneous communities that make Seattle a wonderful place to live and work. Arboretum
Let’s make sure we elect some city council people who will stop this runaway development, and make developers pay for extra traffic, utilities, public transportation, etc.
Remove architects and developers from the Planning Commissions! This is a conflict of interest that has lead to problems such as the Low Revisions done in 2010. Bring neighborhoods back into the development decision making process. McGinn is gone, please re-connect with neighborhoods Mayor Murray. Capitol Hill
Rainier Valley has been neglected for to many years by the politicians of Seattle. This petition is a chance for our community to get fair treatment in matters of housing and infrastructure.
Rainier Valley; Member of Seattle-Rainier Lions Club
I am especially concerned with out of scale development. Developers are snapping up smaller, older homes (making these unavailable to young people looking for buy their first home) and replacing them with luxury homes. 3 story homes should not be allowed, period, and developers should not be allowed to cover lots to the extent that they currently are. The fact that growth has outpaced transit is another big concern. I ride the new Rapid Ride E and we routinely pass by people at bus stops because we are full. And the loss of tree cover is a huge concern as well. As developers cover more ground with buildings, we lose it.
As a recent refugee from the debacle at the Lock Haven apartment complex, I am convinced that an immediate moratorium is necessary, not only on new construction of apartment houses, but also the “rehabilitation” of old ones, which at historic Lock Haven means destroying the interior architecture of the buildings, sacrificing gracious built-in closets and cabinets for the sake of unnecessary modern appliances. As an excuse for raising the rents beyond the means of the residents, “rehabilitation” also destroys the social fabric of the community that has been living there.
Ballard; Member of LockHaven Tenants’ Union
This is the same list of complaints that residents have been speaking out about for over a year, at community meetings, in letters, and on-line. When will the city respond and take some definate action?
Captiol Hill; Officer of Capitol Hill Community Council
This puts new purpose into the 2015 election.
Downtown; Member of Pike Place Market
The City’s DPD and land use code are a joke. Developers build whatever, whenever, and where ever they want to.
There is a very simple reason why Seattle’s development has exploded in the last few years. The people that negotiate on Seattle’s behalf are doing a very poor job. They are giving our City away and the developers are taking advantage of the “bargain basement sale” atmosphere that has been created. Impact fees for developers now! Stop socializing the costs of development while continuing to allow developers to privatize the profits.
Seattle must stop tearing down its affordable housing and replacing it with more expensive units! Once again it is the developers who win when this happens. They make their money while neighborhoods lose their diversity, desirability and livability as a more homogenous community replaces them as the working lower and middle classes are moved further out of town. Capitol Hill
Developers are destroying our neighborhoods.
Please stop the insane growth!!
Phinneyridge; Memeber of phinneyfolks
Change the culture of the DPD! No more encouraging loopholes via the deliberate coaching of developers by planners on how to avoid the rules and no more “creative” interpretations of the Land Use Code. DPD senior staff appears to be functionally illiterate when this is allowed to happen, maybe they actually are? Seattle’s urban planing has become a bad joke. No more development by accident and loophole, such as we have with the micro-housing/congregate housing problem. Let’s work together with neighborhoods to make Seattle a better place for everyone, and not just a better place for developers, many who are from out of town, to make lots of money. Capitol Hill
Seattle is exploding with construction everywhere you go. Is anyone in charge of all this? Or are we letting developers do whatever they want to exploit the situation? I see this city rapidly turning into a San Francisco. Let’s be smart about it. I’m not anti-growth. But I’m definitely anti-exponential growth. Phinney/Greenwood; Member of Phinney Folks
I deplore the fact that the Mayor of Seattle and some City Council members want to force an expensive, unaccountable “Metropolitan Parks District” on property taxpayers, many of whom are low and fixed income citizens. For many years Seattle has FAILED to use its authority under the Growth Management Act to require developers, who are drastically changing the character of many of our treasured neighborhoods, to pay IMPACT FEES FOR RISING USE OF PARKS and other public services. Make wealthy developers pay, not everyday citizens. Magnolia
Developers are profiting at the expense of neighborhoods. It’s time for neighborhoods to unite to stop this. Developers provide inadequate parking, using the square footage saved for more profit.
Fairness, democratic process, and quality of life have been set aside. Seattle is headed in the wrong direction, under the direction of housing developers. Member of Columbia City Business Association
Please stop ruining or neighborhood by allowing developers to build multiple homes on a SINGLE lot. As well as keep the building height within reason so neighbors are not living next to verticle walls blocking the sky and views.
I’m not adverse to growth outright, but I do think what has been taking place in areas like South Lake Union and Ballard should lead us to question the existence of smart, long-term planning. As it stands, Seattle already has atrocious traffic during rush hours in nearly every corner of the city. Parking in some of these neighborhoods is a nightmare. And the skyrocketing rent is pushing everyday people further and further outside of the city as they’re replaced by high-wage tech industry workers.
What makes Seattle so special, at least to me, is the fusion of so many different types of people residing together harmoniously. But if gentrification continues to be allowed to spiral further out of control, all that makes Seattle unique and a great place to live will be lost. Permitting mega developments and microhousing while simultaneously considering cutting public transit and ignoring the dire situation that is our transportation options is ignorant at best and disingenuous at worst. No one is saying no to new jobs and new living options. We are, however, saying that these additions will only be welcomed if they are balanced with intelligent ways to keep Seattle affordable and keep our roads from imploding from the weight of additional vehicles.
Whoever makes smart growth and affordable housing a top priority will earn my vote in the next election.
I believe that in trying to do good our city’s leaders have fallen into a trap where the good will end up going to the few and the rest of us will pay dearly to live in the “new” Seattle. Seattle has been considered one of the most livable cities in the US, and this is what attracts the high tech and medical communities to invest here. However our city’s leaders seem to have adopted the attitude that in order save the world we have to destroy what has made our city so attractive. Of course the developers love this naivete and are fully prepared to take the city away from those who actually live in it. The end result is massive redevelopment, absentee ownership, dislocation of present residents, and redistribution of wealth up toward the 1%. I believe that in trying to do good our city’s leaders have fallen into a trap where the good will end up going to the few and the rest of us will pay dearly to live in the “new” Seattle. Capitol Hill
These are sensible suggestions that would make Seattle livable again.
Central Area: Member of Cherry Hill Community Council
We are being swallowed up by University and Hospital expansion to say nothing of development of town houses and apartments==T00 much too fast …. Central-Squire Park; Memeber of Squire Park CC
We need a land use policy that builds affordable, livable neighborhoods, maintains our transportation and utility infrastructure and develops rather than destroys Seattle’s priceless beauty. We love our city and expect our elected officials to feel the same and act accordingly.
Capitol Hill; Member of Seattle Speaks Up
As a recently divorced, nearly 60-yr-old working woman, I need affordable housing. This rush to high-end, luxury townhomes and density solutions like apodments are wreaking havoc on the working middle-class that makes this city run. I read a recent article about a land-owner who sold the last older apartments in the Denny Triangle who recommended that her soon-to-be-former residents become welders, because welding pays better; her residents now include teachers, artists, retail salespeople, many of whom have more than one job. This city is pricing the working class out of the city limits. I guess I’ll have to move to Georgetown and get my welder’s license, instead of working at the Seattle Symphony ticket office, a job I love.
Development impact fees are needed in Seattle. Regressive sales taxes and other special single use fees need to be stopped.
Plain and simple, growth is not sustainable! However if we are to have growth spread this growth equally around the City. It is up to government to steer development which could make more “Capitol Hills” and “Ballards” in the under-served and underutilized areas of our City. Everyone can’t live in the few neighborhoods developers can make easy money building in. If they continue this trend, the developers will wind up ruining these once livable, desirable neighborhoods. Capitol Hill
I am deeply troubled by Seattle’s push for increased density without making a strong case for the compelling public interest need for it. I fear that this push for higher density is driven by the profit motive of the developers and increased tax revenue for the city, more than by the need for more housing to accommodated the anticipated influx of people. Demonstrate and document a compelling public interest then require that all new building everywhere in the City improve the quality of life for the existing residents with parks, sidewalks, paths, and urban designs that are people friendly. Where neighborhoods are negatively impacted, positive offsets should be required. Single family, 5,000sf, should be included and “infill” prohibited unless neighbors are allowed design review and approval. PROTECT OUR NEIGHBORHOODS.
“Benchview” in Genesee-Schmitz; Member of Genesee- Schmitz Neighborhood Council, Founding President
The threats to our livable neighborhood embedded in the MIMP for the Swedish-Cherry Hill Hospital now in process may not now be governed by the CALSeattle proposals, but other building projects in our neighborhood in the next decade (even including those by Seattle University, another major institution non-profit with expansion plans ) would be so directed and controlled, to the benefit of all Seattle citizens (not corporations, which are not factually persons or people). Cherry Hill-Squire Park/So Capitol Hill; Member of 12 Ave Stewardship, Squire Park Comm Counci
If I live much longer I won’t be able to afford my home in Maple Leaf purchased for $17,000. Can’t some of these profitable developers pay their share of infrastructure so I won’t have to take up their share.
This is VERY important – let’s be the exception to the trend of American cities becoming unaffordable and less livable.
Capitol Hill; Capitol Hill Community Council
Developers never pay enough to cover the additional costs of traffic, public transit, infrastructure and pollution. We are losing affordable housing and betting on one or two companies to sustain the growth. Seattle is losing it’s soul.
Requiring developers to share their fair portion of the impact of a development is not only the right thing to do, it is an equitable distribution of costs and benefits. I’m still unsure why this has not been the case here – what is it that we’re afraid of? ?
After living in West Seattle for 15 years, we are displaced by demolition, forced to move far south to find affordable housing. My child goes to a West Seattle school, so the commute is going to be tough.
Rapid gentrification of Seattle’s historic neighborhoods not only destroys valuable architecture and neighborhood character and replaces it with bland apartment boxes and overpriced restaurants, it also displaces the working and creative people who had made these neighborhoods viable and interesting. Let us stop mindless development, reign in the rents, and preserve our heritage.
Capitol Hill; Member of Ex Factory Creative
Some of our neighborhoods are being destroyed to preserve other, more affluent communities. It’s time that Seattle went back to being a city for EVERYONE. Growth needs to be spread throughout the city; it needs to be low rise with meaningful setbacks. Greed shouldn’t be the main factor in our growth.
Long overdue. Seattle is already building tomorrow’s ghettos today.
Ravenna Springs; Member of Ravenna Park Action Council
Those people at the Seattle DPD are running amuck with their addendums to the comprehensive plan that should have ended on July 1st, 2014.
Morgan Junction /West Seattle; Membeer of MOCA
Please develop responsibly.
Capitol Hill; Member of Seattle University
Not everyone works at Microsoft or Amazon and can afford a $1500 (minimum), 1 bedroom or studio apartment. With affordable rent at 30% of income, one has to make $60K to afford downtown independent living. Please help keep Seattle affordable for the middle class.
I agree…development is out of control
Rent is getting too high in Seattle. Most blue collar workers cannot afford to live here, instead they commute into Seattle from Shoreline, Seatac, Federal Way, stressing our transportation system even more. The metro bus system is little help as they struggle to maintain their routes, which are frequently being rerouted, and delayed due to funding issues and construction.
Action needs to be taken now before Seattle is a city of software developers and construction firms. Maintain the diversity and livability of this city. Greenlake
The price increases are outlandish, and kicking people out of the city is uncivil. Seattle has changed so much, and changing too rapidly with the cost of living jumping over night, yet many wages are not. I too have a $300.00 rent increase, and I also have no money to relocate! Not sure yet what will take place, but this is happening to our entire city, and it is flat out immoral. Sincerely, Renee McCoy
Fremont; Member of PCO Democratic 43rd district
I was born in Seattle, I love the Emerald City, Seattle must remain a place where people like me can afford to live and enjoy living. Runaway growth must give way to thoughtful city planning and particularly treasures like the PIke Place/Belltown area must be preserved and protected. View Ridge
In an effort to curb urban sprawl, the City of Seattle has forgotten the importance of its History. We have lost many important pieces of architecture including a Googie building at 15th NW and NW Market Street as well as terracotta work on structures and various small sculptures around buildings. Seattle is a very young city compared to the rest of the US and more so compared to the rest of the World. To lose one’s History and Culture is to lose one’s self. Seattle has become a dense city but at what cost?
The city infrastructure is not up to supporting even existing population
I’m currently a Master of Architecture student and still am a King County registered voter and Washington is my home. I have to say that as a resident and as a future architect that we must be careful in what we do. Seattle is growing at a high rate but also at the price of not thinking about the future in a positive way. Parks, schools, transit systems, and affordable living are vital to making Seattle livable and desirable both economically and sustainably. I don’t think government is doing a good job of protecting what has always been the most important factor, the residents of Seattle. It is important we understand what our goals are as a region and community for generations to come. Education, smart transit, open spaces, public spaces, these are all the foundation for a better life and better city. Affordability is always important but in general we must keep our minds of quality over quantity.
I agree w/everything here . . . the uncontrolled growth is spawning a variety of issues from gentrification and unaffordable housing, to traffic congestion. We’ve lived in the Green Lake area for over thirty years, and the change has been dramatic.
This community was once one of the best areas of the city to live in for easy access to downtown (and other areas). Now there’s construction on almost every block, with no thought to the hundreds of drivers who will be using our antiquated, pothole-filled streets at least twice a day. It now takes me at least a half hour at rush hour to go 12 blocks!
The city is pouring thousands of cars onto our streets at the same time as they are narrowing those same streets down to ONE LANE, so we get strings of cars sitting for hours spewing particulates into the atmosphere we are supposedly trying to protect.
Can’t Emerald City’s wizard give these straw men at the city council and the lack-of-planning department a brain???????
There is almost literally a new apartment building going up on every corner of my neighborhood. There is a density that supports a lively and innovative place to live, and then there is development that is oppressive, creates a lack of affordability, overcrowding and run away traffic congestion. At one point Ballard was a great neighborhood to be in, however is it rapidly becoming so packed in, with out resources to deal with the growth that it no longer feels like a neighborhood. The drug dealing in Ballard commons park has gotten worse, and our schools are beyond packed.
Ballard has been my neighborhood for 15 years, and for the first time I’m feeling like the quality of life here no longer suits our family. I suppose, if you are building a city for young, unmarried, corporate employees then you’ll be fine. The rest of us will have moved.
New high rise and large residential developments are adding to an already clogged West Seattle bridge. Parking is more difficult. New buildings lack attractive architectural design.
In residential areas new houses and buildings should be kept to the scale of surrounding homes.
Delridge has become lined with a hodgepodge of cheap construction that does not improve the area and will slide into additional blight. California Ave buildings in progress change the character of the junction to the extent that it feels more and more like Ballard.
We need to make developers supply sufficient low income units, open spaces, parking, and infrastructure.
We need some control over rampant development. We need some accountability from the city. And citizens need to be heard. Put on the brakes, please!
I support density but when the trees are all removed then my quality of life is impacted. On my block in Ballard three new multi family projects are going up. On both sides of my 1904 duplex are buildings about to be torn down and developed. Stop the madness! This free-for-all is NOT what I voted for. Thank you.
Understanding that Seattle is a growing city and that change is inevitable, it is still crucial that we provide for all citizens, not just the well-healed; and that the free market does not provide a 100% solution to basic human needs. Let’s not San Francisco-ize Seattle in terms of housing costs. Though I have a good job, my wages haven’t kept up with rentals. I want to be a part of this conversation.
Needless to say, if you’ve been to Roosevelt, development has been out of control… and the developers are just getting started.
Roosevelt; Member of Roosevelt Neighborhood Association
I am a middle-class single mom and I am lucky enough to have a very nice, well-maintained one-bedroom with reasonable rent on Cap Hill. As my infant daughter grows and we need more space, I am afraid I will have to leave my community of 20 years in order to afford housing. While growth is important for a dynamic city, communities are being dispersed, and even people with decent incomes, like me, are finding it harder to keep our homes. What is a neighborhood without community?
I agree wholeheartedly with the concerns of CALSeattle. I have lived in many different neighborhoods since moving here in 1969. While I love living close to my light rail station (in fact the paved trail begins right next to my gate) it is obvious that crime is on the increase as well as affordability of buying or renting. Rent increases seem arbitrary i.e. market-driven and many of our citizens are being squeezed out. Bus service is on the decrease so people can’t move farther out – it takes too long to get to school or work. It is great that we are a big city – but the squeeze is too much for many people. Lets remember – it takes all our communities to make this a good place. Why does competition mean the voices with the most money “win”? THere needs to be a good balance for liveability. More highrises + less green space and schools = stressed people. Do we need more of that?
Columbia City/Beacon Hill
Growth is out of scale with our neighborhoods. It is built on the supposition of mass transit option which either do not exist or are not funded.
Neighborhoods are not listened to and the City Council bears the full responsibility.
I’m concerned about displacement of Seattleites and lack of infrastructure planning. Developers should be required to replace inexpensive housing they demolish and pay for infrastructure upgrades.
My wife and I are very concerned about the lack of schools in South Lake Union and the Downtown core. We’ve heard murmurings of a downtown elementary school, but it’s not enough. The young techie crowd at Amazon is going to age at some point, and they’ll need schools for their kids. Not just one elementary school but a middle school and high school as well. People will not put their roots down in the city if there are no schools. When these employees take off from the suburbs in seven years, Belltown and South Lake Union may fall apart, leaving us with a lot of vacant and unmanageable apartments and storefronts. Having Queen Anne and Capital Hill absorb the student population from the city’s interior is not the solution either. Seattle city should assign land and space for urban schools now before it’s too lake.
I urge you to support the six principles in this letter, as well as build more badly needed infrastructure in these neighborhoods that are well past density targets and liveability. As a Ballard resident, I am frustrated and appalled at most of the oversized and incongruent apartment and townhouse units that have been allowed to infill our once tight-knit and affordable neighborhoods. I will be watching your choices and your votes on this matter very closely.
There is zero urban planning occurring right now. And people are being priced out of the city. Something has to change.
It is especially important to consider the impact of overcrowding without providing proper infrastructure in this frenzy of residential building. When this boom building cycle either slows down or crashes, which it will at some point; how will we cope with funding basic transportation, service and school needs for these areas? What is happening to work force housing? Seattle leaders talk a good game, but the results are not there. What about green spaces in these areas? Please slow it down and think of the repercussions of overbuilding. Overindulging has proven to be unhealthy; building booms included.
It’s time to review practices – particularly the lack of human quality set-backs from the street. Not every building should be a box. Developers need to have classes in design, neighborhood history, green alternatives, creating a human scale etc., and they should be taxed at a rate that can go towards green space, schools, etc. Trees must be saved for future generations and canopy protected.
Encourage/direct growth in areas that could use it rather than where the $ is. Developers should be taxed at a higher rate when they want to dismantle workable neighborhoods. Denny/blaine
Arboretum; Member of Nextdoor Arboretum, Onehomeperlot
I hope they (mayor and city council) listen.