Could Neighborhood Conservation Districts protect neighborhood ‘character’ amid rapid growth? Council discussion Monday

With relatively rapid redevelopment in parts of some Seattle neighborhoods – West Seattle, Ballard, Capitol Hill come to mind – concern percolates about losing “character.” In some cases, neighborhoods have special districts as “overlays” meant as an attempt to preserve some of that character – Pioneer Square, notably, and Capitol Hill’s Pike-Pine area, for example. But what about other neighborhoods, like West Seattle, where the Southwest District Council has been trying for two years to get a historic-resources survey going for part of our area, as a first step?

“Neighborhood Conservation Districts” might be a tool for our area and others, suggests Councilmember Tom Rasmussen, who is sponsoring a briefing on the concept tomorrow, during the first part of the City Council’s two-part Monday meeting. Here’s the slide deck they’ll be going through:

The presentation during tomorrow’s 9:30 am Council meeting (agenda here) will not include a vote – it’s just a briefing, and there’s no specific council bill attached to it. But Councilmember Rasmussen tells us, “If my colleagues agree, I will continue to work for legislation to establish a process for neighborhoods to nominate themselves to become Conservation Districts.” Tomorrow’s briefing should start around 10 am and will be live online and on cable via Seattle Channel.

6 Replies to "Could Neighborhood Conservation Districts protect neighborhood 'character' amid rapid growth? Council discussion Monday"

  • Bruce September 28, 2014 (8:01 pm)

    It may be glib, but easy answer is to limit higher density and redevelopment to main public transportation corridors like light rail, streetcar, and rapid ride routes to save existing neighborhoods that aren’t connected.

  • LivesInWS September 29, 2014 (2:57 am)

    Could we actually get a moratorium on box houses?!

  • BJG September 29, 2014 (7:40 am)

    We are an “existing neighborhood” that has now come to be “connected” to hubs that were quite distant until ugly building sprawl came calling. Will your street be next? There seems to be no end of commercial encroachment on West Seattle’s lovely old neighborhoods. We’re very sad.

  • John September 29, 2014 (10:16 am)

    Our city allows diversity in housing.
    Just as the pseudo craftsman wave of the nineties, the wasteful McMansion craze of the millennium or the original “Seattle box” of a century ago, all housing fads eventually become integrated into our neighborhoods.

    Good and bad design can be seen and appreciated in all styles of architecture. Just enjoy the overwhelming number old cheap “Seattle Boxes” mixed in with heritage painted Craftsman, brick clad Tudor, stucco clad Mediterranean, 60’s Ranch, split-levels, mid-century modern…
    Because our city is so well built up, it is self limiting in the number of the dreaded poorly designed new home of whatever style as they must be built on expensive tear-down properties.

    No existing West Seattle neighborhood has been turned into rows of box houses as they have been sprinkled through the existing housing often showing up as two (or more) houses on what was a single family home. This is in sharp contrast of earlier West Seattle developments where whole blocks and tracts were cookie-cutter inexpensive housing.

    The people who buy these boxes are realizing their dreams of home ownership, something that many of us already enjoy. We see them at the Sunday market, their kids go to school with our kids, we mix at church and restaurants, they love their homes and neighborhood and become stakeholders just like us.

    Limitations on any style of home is a decision most city dwellers have already decided against as they chose against the cul-de-sac suburbs that enforce such sameness.

    I would be interested in what style of housing would meet approval?

  • datamuse September 29, 2014 (1:31 pm)

    Those lovely old neighborhoods have been priced right out of the means of a lot of people who’ve lived in Seattle for years. I suppose they could move to Tacoma or something…

  • Mike September 29, 2014 (8:36 pm)

    The more you build, the more will show, the more that show, the more they build, and on and on and on. The one thing that’s never kept up is transportation/roads and utilities. Density is great for the pockets of politicians and developers, but costs those of us living here a lot. Sometimes it costs those that have lived here for over half a century to move. Fixed income from the 80s, $3.5-$6k / year in estate tax alone, best of luck to you. Most likely elderly will be priced out of their own homes they outright own, no bank loan at all.

Sorry, comment time is over.