Upzone updates: Opponents’ flyer, supporters’ comments

November 28, 2007 at 3:13 pm | In California Ave upzoning, Development, West Seattle news | 10 Comments

upzonescreengrab.jpgOn the eve of the public meeting about the upzoning proposal for both sides of California Ave between Hanford and Hinds (and a bit south on the west side), two updates: Neighborhood opponents are distributing a flyer around the area with their concerns and full details of how to have a say (they sent us a copy; we uploaded it – click here to read it); supporters continue to add comments to our earlier posts (one comment is at the bottom of the list here; another one at the bottom here). Tomorrow night’s meeting is at West Seattle High School, 6:30 pm. For background info, the city’s page about the proposal is here; our report on informal presentations made 2 weeks ago to the Admiral Neighborhood Association by a developers’ rep and a city planner is here.

10 Comments

  1. The flyer references the “Admiral Residential Urban Village 1998 Plan”, a 10 year old plan. Is it still valid? What percentage of the residents involved in that plan are still WS residents? Or even alive? WS is a lot different now then it was in 1998. Should we still be applying standards agreed to in 1998? Personally, I think that particular block of Admiral is ready for a face-lift. Between the ugly Prudential real estate building, to the run-down apartments, I can’t seen any excuse not to promote additional development. Anything that might open up additional opportunity for “PCC like” development has my support. I can only hope Trader Joe’s is paying attention.

    Comment by Joe — 4:19 pm November 28, 2007 #

  2. Let’s really hope the meeting isn’t as badly organized as the amateur effects (underlines!, asterisks!, boldfaces!, candy cane border!) of the upzone-opposition flyer.

    Seriously, I want to learn from the meeting, not deal with annoying distractions in the audience.

    Comment by Forest — 4:44 pm November 28, 2007 #

  3. This flyer is a perfect example of why I most likely will not be moving back to West Seattle any time soon. People in West Seattle just don’t have any vision. They want West Seattle to stay on the dumpy side instead of becoming the nice place it should and could be. What a joke.

    Comment by Michael — 4:49 pm November 28, 2007 #

  4. Michael…This constitutes a one block plus area…not exactly a ginormous amount of space. Vision is different for different people. West Seattle , with or without this up-zoning is still a great place to live. You should be glad that it’s citizens care enough to speak up, even if you don’t agree. You don’t get that on Capitol Hill, Magnolia, Wallingford, and certainly not in areas east of Seattle. I have a friend in Wallingford who could give a rip as to what happens to her area a few blocks away. Should we be like that? I don’t think so.

    Forest…I just looked at the flyer…of course it’s from amateurs – it’s just normal citizens….but candy cane borders? do I need my glasses adjusted? I saw a border, fairly non-descript.Those “annoying distractions” in the audience are concerned citizens. They want information just as badly as you…in other words, they are just like you…so give them a break, even if you disagree with them.

    Comment by Jan — 5:20 pm November 28, 2007 #

  5. I would think that regardless of whether the land is rezoned from its current NC1 30′ to NC2 40′ it is probably just a matter of time – 5 to 10 years maybe? – before the properties are redeveloped anyway.

    As for the home-spun flyers, not everyone is a professional marketing person. Thank gawd. Who cares what the things look like, just get engaged, go to the meeting and voice you thoughts.

    Comment by Mike Dady — 8:08 pm November 28, 2007 #

  6. I agree with Joe- this block is in desperate need of a face lift and their plan to add so much parking is a great thing. All of these urban villages with no parking keep popping up everywhere and these guy’s are address that along with improving the lousy looking buildings along this stretch. This will benefit all of us who work and live here. I can’t believe there is so much hand holding and kumbiya surrounding a plan to improve our community. Is this something we’re going to be discussing but not doing anything about for another 5 or 10 years? Other communities will be built from scratch before these guy’s can develop this property that they’ve owned for decades. Over analysis leads to paralysis!

    Comment by Dave — 8:35 pm November 28, 2007 #

  7. I can see Joe’s point. I’ve read on here previously that there was a neighborhood plan decided on in 1996 that laid out zoning etc to help WS survive, thrive.. Just don’t understand why it took 10 years to start development in these areas..
    For those who don’t see WS as having any vision, you are entitled to your opinion but maybe you are not aware of just how much has changed already. We don’t want to be a dump. We want to be involved in change but I for one don’t want this to be Belltown. If I wanted that, I would live there/would have moved there 10 years ago. A lot has changed in WS and I for one think we have “developed” a lot already.. maybe too much. I don’t think a lot of things have been taken into consideration regarding development/over-development. Maybe things like environmental impacts were not thought about in 1996 or for example, the fact that alley ways were not designed to handle traffic from condo dwellers. Has anyone else noticed that the drive ways are so narrow that it does not seem possible to drive into ones garage in these condos that line California? Cost of housing has been cited as why we need condos .. the prices on most of the condos I have seen for sale are higher than actual homes you could buy. A lot of people are moving here which can be a good thing but there can be too much of a good thing. I don’t want any more traffic than there already is and even though there is this “going green” movement people still love their cars/need their cars until public transportation catches up to demand/need. We are years or decades away from that.

    Comment by Todd — 10:10 pm November 28, 2007 #

  8. I am glad that some care enough about West Seattle and its character, to have taken the time to look reflectively at the issues, despite the time crunch, and speak up. This upzone request was sprung on the neighborhood right before the Thanksgiving Holiday, so people have had little time to research and develop what some might deem sophisticated reponses. Indeed, the city’s signboards in the rezone area still iist the comment period as ending 11/21/07 (written in ink pen so this could have easily, and should have, been changed).

    Hopefully there won’t be too many people at the meeting who will try to intimidate or bully others. If there are, then I hope people will have the courage to speak up anyway. People who lodge personal attacks say more about themselves than others.

    I am glad to have learned there are property owners in the California rezone area (at least one with some significant holdings in West Seattle) who oppose the requested upzone.

    As many realize, the zoning in between the Junctions should drop down and serve the neighborhoods with smaller businesses; NC1-30 is meant to include “mom and pop” businesses. Even so, there is much that can be done within NC1-30. If some want to wait to rebuild in hopes they can push the zoning up to NC2-40 and make more money, so be it, but it’s no guarantee it will happen (now or 10 years from now), and it’s no reason it should happen. NC2-40 businesses should be built near and serve the Junctions; otherwise they will draw business from those areas. NC2-40 zoning is not meant to stretch from one Junction to the other, in one wall of buildings. Also, in looking at the data, there is plenty of NC2-40 zoning near the Admiral Junction to allow for projected growth.

    Some of those “ugly buildings” that some have referred to may happen to be people’s homes. I have spoken with people in these buildings who are very concerned about what might happen to their homes. Why is that so many people these days think something older is automatically ugly? If Cayce and Gain think the buildings are unattractive or run down perhaps they could take the lead and do something nice with their buildings within the city’s land use code?

    Personally, I hope West Seattle retains some of its character and its civility. I’m gratified by the thoughtful and civil posts I have seen here. It’s great to know there are many decent and caring neighbors in West Seattle. (As for the person who thinks W. Seattle is “dumpy”; please do stay away and leave its gorgeous parks and views, and the comfortable feeling of its Alaska Junction, to those who love it!)

    And, by the way, of course the Admiral Plan is still valid. It was created over the course of many public meetings occurring over two years and is still the Admiral Neighborhood Plan (this rezone request would not have included even one public meeting if that hadn’t been requested). In the upzone request, Cayce and Gain’s “Height Limits of the Proposed Rezone Analysis” references zoning in 1923, 85 years ago, to make a point!

    Comment by Concerned Neighbor — 12:51 am November 29, 2007 #

  9. Concerned Neighbor…well said !

    Comment by Jan — 1:36 am November 29, 2007 #

  10. I fully understand why Cayce and Gain would want to ask for the re-zoning. It will nicely improve their property values and there’s nothing wrong with asking. But that doesn’t mean the city ( or neighborhood) has to say yes. The admiral plan is alive and well, and I’d prefer that zoning changes get handled on a neighborhood-wide basis. This kind of case-by-case application over-favors the savvy owner rather than serving the neighborhood as a whole.

    And for what it’s worth, I was all for the density increase on Capitol Hill where I’d seen friends struggle as homeowners and business owners through a 10 year decline. But this neighborhood is thriving. Property values are stronger than average, businesses are rolling along and residents are enjoying a healthy neighborhood. It’s hard for me to see a good case for jacking up density now.

    And on that note, I see a few reasons not to… the traffic on the bridge has gotten a little brutal. And there is a lot of multi-family property in west seattle that hasn’t yet been fully developed. As the condo and multi-family projects continue to roll on the land that’s alreay zoned for them, I think we may find that the bridge is going to struggle to support even that density. Adding more- not my preference.

    Comment by Mary — 5:08 pm November 29, 2007 #

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