As-it-happened: Talking West Seattle development with Councilmember O’Brien

6:42 PM: We’re live at American Legion Post 160’s headquarters in The Triangle as the community conversation with Councilmember Mike O’Brien gets under way.

On behalf of the hosting Southwest District Council, Cindi Barker (below left) has just announced that Saturday, June 28th, the Department of Planning and Development will come out for a conversation of its own – time (morning) and location TBA.

Councilmember O’Brien starts off by saying he’d like it to be a productive conversation for both sides. He says, “I never asked to be land use chair … I’m learning a lot. It’s a field that goes from the experience we all completely understand, living our lives, down to all sorts of laws I’m still trying to appreciate.” We’ll be updating as this goes. About 50 people are here and there’s room for more.

First question is from West Seattle developer John Nuler, who asked about the recent action to regulate smaller lots, in light of the city’s encouragement of backyard cottages and other accessory dwelling units. He says the original recommendation was 2,000 square feet, rather than the 2,500-sf lot size, and wonders why the change, which he says resulted in some lots being rendered unbuildable. O’Brien says he doesn’t have all the details on that, but his legislative assistant is keeping track of the questions, so that answers can be procured later.

Second question is from someone who says he considers zoning changes have resulted in “the rape of West Seattle” and wonders how many people can be crammed in here. “I’m not buying this urban-village rationale. … How far is it going to go in West Seattle?”

O’Brien: “I don’t have an answer to ‘how far it’s going to go’.”

Next question: “Is there a citywide movement for reforming land use?”

O’Brien: “There are all sorts of specific aspects of land-use code that specific individuals (&) neighborhoods have concerns about …” He lists the small-lot issue, the low-rise-code issue as examples. “DPD is addressing these issues as they come up, and there are a lot of them.” But, he said, they’re not going to “throw the (zoning) out and start from scratch.” He goes on to mention the Comprehensive Plan and its “major overhaul” that’s under way (aka Seattle 2035). “I think the hope of the city is to take a look at it and really rethink how growth happens, where it happens, how we manage that growth in the city …” more big picture than small details, he said.

At that point, Barker, who is moderating, mentions the next public meeting on Seattle 2035 – Seattle Center, June 24th, regarding its “key directions.” (We’ll have a link for that shortly.)

6:51 PM: Jim Guenther talks about what happens when the city rules change and projects suddenly are allowed such as buildings without offstreet parking, and how it affects “quality of life” for residents who were already there.

“There’s a balance we’re trying to strike between the common good and individual rights,” O’Brien begins. He says that things have evolved as “lots that weren’t interesting to developers became interesting,” in the case of the small lots, for example. “Something like 45 percent of the lots that are zoned single family 5000 are smaller than 5000 square feet.”

“Where do we get heard (when our quality of life is affected)?” Guenther pressed. O’Brien says, “I don’t have a good answer for that,” but mentions that even though, for example, one house was on a lot, the owner might have always known it was really two lots that might qualify for two lots someday. O’Brien tries to say that the city didn’t really change the rules.


Mat McBride, chair of the Delridge Neighborhoods District Council, observes that “right now it feels wild-westy as development goes … if you live next to a large-size lot, you feel worried because you don’t know what might happen.” He mentions “more intentional growth areas” such as High Point and Yesler Terrace, where people are clearer on what is going to and/or might happen. “Is it possible to take this opportunity to create ‘high population growth’ districts.”

O’Brien replies, “Yes,” but notes that the two areas mentioned were both owned by Seattle Housing Authority, so they are unique. He gets back to the Comprehensive Plan: “Do we want the growth spread around in urban villages, or in the urban centers, or do we want it around high-capacity transit nodes … those are the types of questions we’re asking.”

Next question, from Sandy Adams, is about microhousing, and how it was aligned with transit plans, but then Metro came up with cuts – how can the concept change when something like that happens?

O’Brien agrees that there needs to be a way to revisit the policy based on transit levels, when those levels change. They haven’t worked out such a way yet, though.

Next question: How can West Seattle growth dovetail with the fact there is no hospital, for example? No answer, but it’s noted.

A man in the back then says there should be environmental impact statements on how policy changes are going to affect the neighborhood. “I would like (them) part of the norm when there is a big decision to make.”

Next, René Commons from the Junction Neighborhood Organization asks about how to make city policy sensitive to preserving neighborhood character. A smattering of applause follows. “A lot of out-of-scale development” is happening now, she said, wondering how DPD can be more sensitive on a “neighborhood level” rather than on a citywide level. She then points out that the Junction is already at more than double its 2024 growth target – in 2014. And before O’Brien replies, she mentions an interest in impact fees.

“(They) are definitely something we’re looking at,” O’Brien replies, saying “the legal staff” is looking at “some options” that he hopes “can bring some solutions to some of the problems we have.” Next, regarding a growth cap, he said there isn’t one anywhere in Seattle right now, so “how we address that issue around growth and targets …” is something they are working on. “It’s a challenge we’re facing because (back in the recession time) we wanted job growth to happen, and now we have this amazing job growth happening, and it’s overwhelming … we just heard that Seattle was the fastest-growing city in the country last year,” and fastest-growing in rental costs, too. “I don’t have a great answer for that, but we’re struggling (with it).”

Next, Abdy Farid, also of JuNO, brings up the absence or low per-unit ratio of offstreet parking in some developments. “Places like Capitol Hill and the U-District have higher ‘walk scores'” making that easier to cope with, so he is suggesting a parking study to come up with a more-appropriate ratio for this neighborhood. “I’ve heard that before,” said O’Brien.

After him, an attendee suggests that neighborhoods should be brought more into the DPD planning process, “and I don’t see why, particularly when you’re doing some kind of development that is out of character, out of scale, anything that doesn’t fit, why you can’t have a simple design review that pulls the neighborhoods together rather than simply put up a notice somewhere and see if there’s pushback.”

In reply, O’Brien mentions the new decision to convene a working group regarding microhousing.

Next commenter declared, “DPD is dysfunctional.” He wants to see a “paradigm change” because the discussion of “vibrance” doesn’t resonate “when you have to wait for three buses to get to work. … If we want to have developments close to transit hubs, is anyone coaxing Microsoft and Amazon to (have buildings) in West Seattle?” The density and transit doesn’t make sense if “everybody here is going somewhere else,” he added. Government should have local offices, too, he said. And he suggested rezoning – especially along Avalon, where the solid midrise zoning, he suggested, doesn’t make sense. “Let’s let other neighborhoods deal with the ‘vibrance’ and ‘density’.” He said he wants a livable city; applause followed.

The next attendee to speak brought up microhousing and “very small (apartments)” and the floor-area ratio that’s used to allow many units. He mentioned a 40-unit building going in “across from my single-family home” but says DPD doesn’t seem to be using “judgment” in allowing it. He wonders what will happen to these small-unit buildings when rents get to a point where people can have something bigger somewhere else. “I’m very suspect of the process …”

O’Brien replies by mentioning the microhousing-definition/regulation proposal, and that he hadn’t heard many people supporting it, so that’s why he has convened a working group: “What I’m hearing is that DPD didn’t get it right, so we’re going to go back and work through that.”

Next speaker says there seems to be animosity building between the city and neighborhoods. “Our neighborhood, in order just to be heard, had to raise a substantial amount of money to file an appeal …just to say ‘we’re serious’.” She says they wanted to reach a compromise but went through “several reviews” that were “incredibly contentious” and the process seemed “broken … (it doesn’t) serve us.”

“It really hurt me to see that Seattle doesn’t care,” she said, with emotion. “… we’re not being heard. At all.” Applause followed.

Next, Diane Vincent, who has long been involved in community advocacy in the development process, brings up some of the projects. She then asks why there can’t be a moratorium on microhousing, as was asked at a community forum in another neighborhood. “They’re still finding the loopholes and they’re still building like crazy.” She mentions that a developer advocate is happy about the stakeholders’ group being convened “while they keep building.”

O’Brien said, “I’m here because I work for all of you … I have my opinions and beliefs, but at the end of the day, I’m going to execute on what the bulk of the people believe in. I’m hearing (a lot about this).” He goes on to say that the units are all that’s affordable for some people just getting started; Vincent counters with the relatively high rents she sees in online ads. O’Brien says he’s not much for moratoriums but he definitely is hearing what’s being said.

Next speaker talks about the microhousing calculations – 8 sleeping rooms counted as one unit – and asks that parking be revisited, since West Seattle isn’t going to get light rail for at least a decade.

Next, Michael Taylor-Judd from the North Delridge Neighborhood Council and West Seattle Transportation Coalition says he agrees with some of what he’s heard but that he also is annoyed by community meetings where people who are “in their 50s, 60s, 70s and (have owned their homes for a long time)” are arguing to preserve their current lifestyle. And he says that people arguing for parking because they drive and assume everyone drives are not reflective of “the data.” He says he’s a homeowner and wants to live in West Seattle for a long time but “also want other people to come in and be able to live here.” He mentions visiting San Francisco recently and fearing that this city will end up like that, with no one able to live there as they add tens of thousands of jobs and only a few thousand new housing units – it leads, he warns, to sprawl. “So we have to figure out the balance to maintain growth and neighborhood character, diversity AND good-looking buildings … I hear too much ‘I don’t want anything to change, I want it to stay the way it was when I moved here’.”

The next concern relates to walkability, and wishing for a review to see where the lights are and how safety can be evaluated.

O’Brien then gets back to the voicing of concerns with DPD. “They’re good people and they are trying their best … I want to be sure that if they come out, they are engaging the community in a way that is productive to you, not just to say they came out.” He said he will help shape what the meeting looks like.

Someone else speaks up, jumping off Taylor-Judd’s point, saying he agrees that we want to welcome more people, but “we need transit” to make that possible. (Applause.) He says he wants to see more density but “we need to find more ways to bring that transit in.”

O’Brien notes that he is also on the Sound Transit board and is listening “with both hats.”

An attendee in the back of the room expresses incredulity at Junction-area growth hitting twice the expected 2024 target, ten years short of that, while transportation doesn’t seem to have changed at all.

Next, development on the west side of The Junction is brought up – the 40-unit 4439 41st SW in particular – and the fact it will have no parking, which the attendee declares “pretty lame.”

Another person says, “Do we really need growth at the expense of people who have already contributed to the community?” And she brings up, without mentioning it by name, the MFTE tax exemption that many multifamily-project developers seek and receive, alleging that developers “are getting away without paying for (anything).” She also brings up the lack of a hospital.

Next, Dr. Terrell Harrington, who runs an urgent-care clinic across the street from the meeting venue, says that what’s being planned here “is not a (real) urban village” – if it was, it would have room for everyone. “I know change is coming, I know density is coming but how can we mitigate that for the largest number of people. … I’m disappointed that with the large number of people we’re seeing, people working for large companies … why can’t some of the growth be dispersed so that some of those people can work here in the community rather than bringing so much growth in and having them (drive/bus) in and out.”

(This theme has been heard several times – making West Seattle more than a bedroom-and-restaurant/bar community.)

“We’re in a modern era, these people can work remotely by computer,” Dr. Harrington says. “We’re not thinking outside the box … we’re just building tall strip malls.”

The next person to speak says she came to Seattle five years ago, lived first in Belltown, and the first thing that happened when she came here was that she “needed a car” – but downtown, buildings didn’t have enough parking, rents were raised, and she could barely afford rent plus parking for one car, even with a tech-company salary. Living in West Seattle, she said, “I still have a 40-plus-minute commute, and it’s only 7 miles.” WHen buses are cut in September, she said, she’s going to have to drive more. No, she says, it’s not just the people who have been here 50 years who are complaining – it’s the people who have been here for four years.

Next, Pete Spalding from Pigeon Point mentioned that Delridge had successful projects in the past because the community was listened to, but that’s not what’s happening now – projects are being driven from downtown. “I think we’re losing it because the folks from SDOT and DPD … they’re single-minded, they’re not listening to us here in the neighborhood.” He mentions that someone from the city has come to the Delridge District Council to “ask for input” but isn’t even taking notes, so unless “he has a photographic memory,” he is not listening.

O’Brien says again, he has heard the concerns about DPD not working with the neighborhood and they will be addressed.

Next, Vlad Oustimovitch – co-chair of the SW District Council – notes that he’s been involved with a lot of land-use issues. “In the last few years, I feel like a doctor in hospital that’s being run badly and patients are really sick because of bad policies … There is a way to accommodate growth in the city (and to honor everyone) .. The first thing to do is to reintegrate the neighborhoods back into the planning process.” He mentions the way the urban-village planning worked ~15 years ago, with the city supporting the neighborhoods: “I was really impressed with how they were being handled … Since that time, there’s been a lot of degeneration of those neighborhood plans, unfortunately, and the neighborhood plan evaporated.”

Now, the last 15 minutes or so are supposed to be for ideas.

Tod Rodman says maybe the Department of Neighborhoods should be the interface with the community rather than the Department of Planning and Development. He suggests the City Council re-engineer the process to make that happen.

Next speaker wonders about rent control. O’Brien says, “That specific tool, I believe, is not available – but the concern people are trying to (voice) … is a legitimate concern; we need to find other tools.”

Joe Szilagyi from the Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council and WS Transportation Coalition points out that growth targets are not binding, so why not dis-incentivize building in areas that are over their targets and then direct it toward areas that would love to have more of it – and “take the politics out of it, automate the process” so that an area that’s over target gets less.

Microhousing comes up again: “We’re not against it … but count them accurately.”

Affordability is mentioned by Dick Miller from the Genesee-Schmitz Neighborhood Council and Benchview neighborhood, who says it doesn’t seem much can be done with that, but that developers seem to have incentive to maximize whatever profit they can. “Why not consider some kind of code that says, if you have to replace a house with something similar in scale, don’t tear down a little bungalow and put up a million-dollar home, which is what we see in our neighborhood, three million-dollar houses (replacing less-expensive ones).”

Better notification of changes, and less-elongated processes, would help with neighborhood involvement, Jim Guenther then suggested.

Then: A mention of city councilmembers coming to visit a neighborhood and repeatedly mentioning “world-class cities,” as perhaps a code word for density. “We have two world-class cities now, New York and Los Angeles, and we aren’t anything like that,” he said, saying that the city can’t handle the kind of density and intensive transportation that would be required. He suggests Seattle should aspire to be a livable middle-size city.

René Commons says that West Seattle needs a transit center/station that IS “world class,” where people can come and “park their smart cars and recharge and …”

Can an urban village have a board (as historic districts do, for example) to oversee how things go? O’Brien says that’s an interesting idea.

Mat McBride then makes a pitch for district councils – this is substituting for the Southwest District Council meeting, and the Delridge District Council is joining in – “I can’t stress how important it is to have a vibrant voice in your neighborhood council,” he says, urging people to get involved, whether at the district council level or “I urge you strongly, get involved in your neighborhood council … we’re asking for a total of two hours a month.” If you don’t know where your neighborhood council is, or who they are, ask the city Department of Neighborhoods.

O’Brien’s wrapup remarks, now – he says he appreciated the tone and quality of the conversation, the best he said he’s experienced in his travels around the city at meetings like this. He says he is Seattle born and raised, owns a single-family home in Fremont (that’s in a multifamily zone), “I care immensely about my neighborhood, about my city … I want to make sure that Seattle is … vibrant, and that (his children) feel Seattle is a home for them when they grow up … and that people from around the country and around the world who find their way to Seattle, when they end up here, that there’s a spot for them to make this their home (too) … That means there’s challenges” – affordable housing, plentiful jobs, and respect “these communities that we feel very strongly about, and many of us built these communities, and as they change – that’s hard.”

He said that he hopes people will join in work groups, and that the city can keep “reinventing itself … to do a better job … It’s a good thing that you care, a great thing that you care enough to be engaged.” He also says he hopes that processes will become more efficient.

And with a round of applause, the meeting ends at 8:05. We rolled video, though it’ll be more worthwhile for audio since it was fixed on the front of the room most of the time; we’ll add that when it’s uploaded later, and we’ll be adding photos too.

29 Replies to "As-it-happened: Talking West Seattle development with Councilmember O'Brien"

  • Dennis June 4, 2014 (9:31 pm)

    Ok. Nothing will change. The developers will still get what they want. No matter what you think think it is all about money. At least we could attempt to have some taste in these buildings. Most of them are awful. Do you drive by or walk by and say wow look at that beautiful building?

  • Vanessa June 4, 2014 (10:38 pm)

    Seems like lots of questions and no answers.

  • JanS June 4, 2014 (11:26 pm)

    Vanessa…I was not at this meeting, but I got the same impression from the above narrative.

  • 98XXX June 5, 2014 (1:01 am)

    Providing people places to live is “rape” now, good to know. Sounds like a lovely group of folks hard at work keeping those dastardly newcomers out! I got mine jack, freeze it all in amber…

  • sophista-tiki June 5, 2014 (4:34 am)

    FYI theres more than enough new construction going on in the entire city. so ” freezing out” newcomers isn’t the issue. The issue is every square inch of available space does NOT NEED TO BE DEVELOPED. and heres another FYI , real estate development is not about providing places to live for newcomers, its about developers making money.

  • Unfriendly June 5, 2014 (5:20 am)

    Have you read the paper lately? This year Seattle was the fastest growing city!! They all need to live somewhere and density is the solution. Agree with the posts-sounds like most just wanted to be heard and that O’Brien didn’t do much answering? Sounds like some of these folks, not all, don’t want any more people moving to west Seattle…I was here first and life will change if you do!

    Thanks for the great coverage wish I could have attended

  • Where's the answer? June 5, 2014 (7:04 am)

    Did he actually answer a single question? Sure sounded like a politician to me. Best way folks to get him and every other council member to ” hear you” is to vote them out if they aren’t effective. I don’t know about the rest of you but there are far too many crazies on the city council and far too many who have been on there for far too long and are quite comfortable.
    The plans for growth and transportation in seattle leave a lot to be desired and i for one am going to start holding every elected city official accountable come election time.

  • Gene June 5, 2014 (7:40 am)

    Typical of Seattle/KC government- many questions – no answers- don’t hold your breath waiting for them either.
    There’s nothing wrong in questioning the number of new construction projects- does WS have infrastructure/ capacity/ transportation required to support everything. Also- does it hurt to ask for some better designs?
    Nothing to do with not wanting new neighbors- just – to my mind- practical questions from folks who care about our community.

  • McBride June 5, 2014 (8:19 am)

    CM O’Brien did answer questions, it seems to me that WSB was transcripting live, and placed emphasis on capturing the people in attendance. That said, many of the questions were department level concerns that he didn’t have immediate answers for. That’s reasonable. The policy level suggestions didn’t always require an answer, other than “I hear you.” Frankly, I don’t think there are enough good answers on this topic, but the man has been consistent in showing up and listening to roomfuls of angry people – that counts for a lot in my book.
    Regarding being heard. The access we have to government is incredible. That we can sit down with elected leaders, in our neighborhood, not during work hours (for most), and share our concerns and suggestions about policy direction and decision making is phenomenal. Not many take the opportunity though, which is about as regrettable as sub 50% voting turnouts. There are many ways to be heard. I believe actually being heard to be at the top of the list.
    If you feel there isn’t enough being done, there’s good news – you can change that. I’ve witnessed amazing accomplishments by neighborhoods who have simply asked, and sometimes fought, for those changes. Get involved. Represent yourself. If you are only prepared to act in retrospect, I promise you, you will continue to be disappointed.

    • WSB June 5, 2014 (8:50 am)

      We didn’t “emphasize” either side. CM O’Brien indeed didn’t have many answers, but this wasn’t billed as an event where he was going to explain and/or solve everything – it was more a chance for West Seattle’s concerns to be heard. But anyone interested who wasn’t able to go can see (more like listen to, as it wasn’t possible to type AND pan the camera to every speaker, so the public is mostly off-camera) the video shortly – YT is still “processing” it. That’s still no substitute for being there, so do note the next opportunity, announced at the meeting’s start, later this month, and we’ll publish a separate update as soon as we get the time/place details. – TR
      Addendum – And here it is. – sitting in the front row was in retrospect the wrong choice, as it was also too close to get everybody introducing themselves in the front of the room at the start, but we made the decision for clearer audio, and at least we have THAT! Aside from the typing – I still don’t have a keyboard muffler.

  • McBride June 5, 2014 (8:57 am)

    Apologies, I didn’t mean to infer that a side was emphasized, only dialog capture. Maybe it was me, I was more intent on listening to what the people had to say.

  • Unfriendly June 5, 2014 (9:00 am)

    Gene- I think it does have a little something to do with not wanting new neighbors – in the sense that it seems there was a lot said about growth, density, what about the people who live here already etc. (not design issues). If not here, where?

  • Joe Szilagyi June 5, 2014 (10:22 am)

    One major hanging issue is the assumption that you, or I, should have more voice and authority in deciding what the ‘character’ or ‘nature’ of a given neighborhood, parcel, section of the city, or anything ‘should’ be. Many people — to my dismay — spoke last night with some sort of implied or derived authority. “I speak for how things shall be,” or how things “Need to be.” Where is that authority derived from? There are 6000~ people in my neighborhood. Let’s be charitable and say that 75% are adults and that 95% are residents. That’s 4275 voting age citizens. The people in a given room are not representative — either in this meeting or in any 2035 planning meeting — of the ‘will of the city’. Those are just the people who had the time, knowledge and motivation to show up.
    Loudness in long term planning should not count. I don’t care if you’ve lived here 100 years or 1 day. In the context of my neighborhood, for this matter, myself — and anyone else — is 1/4275th of the authority, full stop.
    If the city wanted to really know what people want they would contract out and hire a massive and comprehensive poll and survey program, far exceeding the IT one that they just did. Yes, they’re doing umpteen Seattle 2035 feedback sessions, and how many of those are populated and attended by, repeatedly, the same old people and same old groups? Yes, we’re a sample. I don’t think we’re a big enough sample or a representative sample, either on the ‘no growth’ or ‘yes growth’ sides. We’re just the loudest cranks. Our voices should not carry more value than everyone else.
    And whatever person last night said “growth was the rape of West Seattle” should be ashamed of himself. That was embarrassing.

  • Diane June 5, 2014 (1:11 pm)

    I have a request for future meetings; please use the microphones when they are available
    we had microphones last night, but they were left laying on the floor; why??? I asked CM O’Brien’s asst and I asked Cindi Barker who was running the meeting to please have people use the microphones; nope
    my main concern at first was the ability of wsblog video to pick up the sound of all the speakers, for people who could not attend last night, to listen to later
    but turns out, even being in the room, I could not hear
    I was sitting in front row about 15 feet from CM O’Brien, so I could hear most of what he said
    but many in the audience are soft-spoken (for instance, I could not hear any of what Jim Guenther was saying, and he was only about 20ft from me); there was a big crowd spread throughout the room, so I could only hear about 1/3 of the questions/comments; and I have very good hearing
    there are usually elderly people at these meetings with hearing impairments, so they probably couldn’t hear much of what was said last night
    it did not make any sense to me to have microphones available, and Chas was there with his sound system; yet they were not used at all after the initial introductions
    this was a very rare and important meeting; wish I could have heard everything
    so again, if we have the benefit of microphones in the room (most often we don’t) please use them

  • WS June 5, 2014 (2:42 pm)

    That thing going up next to the old Cat’s Eye in the 7300 block of Fauntleroy is atrocious. That should be a poster child of the whole discussion. Mike O’Brien doesn’t know because he doesn’t want to be bothered to know.

  • Diane June 5, 2014 (3:33 pm)

    what is “the old Cat’s Eye”?

    • WSB June 5, 2014 (3:51 pm)

      Cat’s Eye Café, closed mid-2000s, where Four Aims Center is now. Corner of Fauntleroy/Bainbridge (which is a sort of mini-frontage road)/Othello, south of The Kenney

  • Diane June 5, 2014 (4:14 pm)

    thank you

  • Diane June 5, 2014 (9:42 pm)

    Here is the story I was referring to last night; the microhousing lobbyist celebrating that new rules are on hold and the microhousing developers can just keep on building

  • pjmanley June 6, 2014 (2:07 pm)

    Wanting development that doesn’t overwhelm an area and diminish it’s quality of life is not NIMBYism or excluding people. It’s a favor being done for future residents. We aren’t becoming Ballard; We’re becoming Greenwood, and eventually Lynnwood, if we don’t act now. Those who immediately pivot to drama and hyperbole like “rape” or “NIMBY” or “lame” need to grow up. And people in their 50s, 60s and 70s? Wow! Nice prejudice Michael Taylor-Judd! All from atop a high-horse too! What I don’t like about these meetings is that everybody wants their own way, which makes anyone with a different opinion so wrong! How evolved! A whole lot of people need to get over themselves and start thinking like a community. These passive-aggressive, moral superiority battles serve no one.

  • pjmanley June 6, 2014 (2:08 pm)

    Thanks Diane. To me, that explains last nights lack of answers to numerous questions. Was it a genuine meeting? Or a campaign event for next year?

    • WSB June 6, 2014 (2:22 pm)

      PJM, I don’t believe O’Brien will be campaigning here unless he runs for one of the 2 (out of 9) at-large positions … It really was something resembling what it was promoted as – you talk, he listens. What happens next? No promises. Wednesday night apparently was far tamer than what he faced in Ballard – no news publication, local or citywide, seems to have covered that recent meeting, so I haven’t found an actual story about it, but community leaders here, including at least one who attended it, characterized it as pretty much a torches-and-pitchforks fest. I don’t know if he has yet had one in Capitol Hill, which is where you will find the most overwhelming redevelopment, IMO – I have had to make multiple visits there in the past year or so and even knowing what’s happening here project-by-project, I never fail to find myself goggling at how many major projects are under way there, and that doesn’t even count neighborhood development such as townhouses/single-family homes, that just counts Pike, Pine, Olive, John, and adjacent streets – TR

  • BJG June 7, 2014 (12:44 am)

    I’ve wondered why the Magnolia neighborhood has been exempt from the building-fest occurring all over town. Why was it not designated an Urban Village? Buses come and go frequently. The homes and neighborhoods, parks, and view property look very similar to West Seattle’s. Bridge bottlenecks complicate commutes just like ours. Magnolia should be even more attractive to urban growth because of the nearness of the tech industry and high-paying jobs close by in Interlake/Elliott Ave. West Seattle has nothing like it.

    Could it be that money and its influence has been helpful in preserving the peace and quiet these well-heeled Seattlites enjoy? It would be easier to swallow the hodgepodge of high-rise growth we see in WS if it were shared city-wide. It’s hard to be pacified by the City Council when criteria for density is applied so unequally.

  • Hank June 12, 2014 (9:19 am)

    Every time I read wsb I’m so thankful I live in Capitol Hill, a neighborhood who’s residents aren’t so entitled as to think they control everyone’s property. People in west seattle act like if they can see something from their home, or if they even drive by it on a monthly basis that it’s part of their kingdom and that whoever owns needs to knock on their door and ask permission directly from them. Guys! You live in a city! Cities exist because they were built, progress doesn’t halt just because your grumpy entitled butt wants it to.

  • Joe Szilagyi June 13, 2014 (8:45 am)

    That last comment was probably caused by this:
    Publicola cited this article (and oddly listed it was a West Seattle Transportation Coalition meeting, which I asked them to correct).

    • WSB June 13, 2014 (9:19 am)

      No, the comment above came in hours before that was published, but I did see the Publicola error early this morning and sent them a note. The O’Brien meeting also was not last night, as you know, it was nine days ago. I linked to it in yesterday’s announcement about the impending DPD “let’s talk” meeting details, and I guess that’s where Publicola got confused.

  • Eye roll June 14, 2014 (10:41 am)

    Anyone who uses the word “rape” in the context of zoning policies needs to be tasered and ejected from the meeting. Grow the hell up and stop being a hysterical twit.

    More density means higher property values. Most cities would kill to have our “problem”

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