Rezone ex-substation at 16th/Holden? Proposal emerges in city budget docs

(Aerial-photo graphic via Seattle City Light)

Again today, the City Council has a marathon meeting to go through potential additions/changes in next year’s budget, which will be finalized before Thanksgiving. Reviewing today’s long list – just made public, minutes before the meeting – we see one for potentially rezoning the former City Light substation at 16th and Holden and other nearby properties. This is something community advocates including the Highland Park Action Committee have pushed for, in hopes of expanding the mini-business district at that intersection, as the city continues determining the fate of eight ex-substations in all. Here’s the text of the document – remember, this is a proposal, and a final decision about including it in the budget won’t be made today:

Council requests that the Department of Planning and Development’s (DPD) Planning Division, or the proposed new Office of Planning and Community Development (OPCD), develop and execute a scope of work to consider zoning and land use changes for the properties in and around the intersection of 16th Ave SW and SW Holden Street, including the former Seattle City Light Dumar Substation (“Dumar”) at 1605 SW Holden Street. DPD/OPCD should add this to the scope of work for either the Delridge Action Plan or to the work called for in Resolution 31612 to consider zoning and land use regulation changes in certain single-family areas (implementing recommendations from the Housing Affordability and Livability Action Agenda Committee’s proposal).

The Executive is requested to submit a report to the Council with a project scope, timeline and implementation plan for potential changes to zoning and land use regulations that could apply to this area by July 1, 2016. The project scope must include working with the Highland Park Action Committee (HPAC), property owners of lots being considered for a rezone (to include 1605 SW Holden Street) and other community members to develop recommendations. The rezone analysis should consider the most appropriate zone(s) for the area, including considering the addition of a Pedestrian zone designation.

Seattle City Light (SCL) has submitted legislation (CB 118512) for Council consideration that would declare eight substation properties as surplus and authorize the sale of these properties. The Dumar site is one of the eight properties being considered for disposition.

The Dumar site is located on the southwest corner of the intersection of SW Holden Street and 16th Avenue SW in the Highland Park neighborhood; this property is in a Single Family zone. The other three corners of the intersection are zoned Neighborhood Commercial with a 30 foot height limit. The northwest corner is occupied by a 7-Eleven store, the northeast corner by the City’s Fire Station No.11 and the southeast corner by a two-unit strip mall. As requested in Resolution 31424, SCL conducted outreach to the community about the potential disposition. This included attending district council meetings, community council meetings, soliciting comments through letters and emails and two formal public hearings.

SCL heard from HPAC and from emails from community members, a strong interest in seeing the Dumar site rezoned to Neighborhood Commercial (or an alternative commercial zone) to implement their vision that this intersection will be built out as a small, pedestrian-friendly commercial center. SCL also heard from the abutting owners to the Dumar property who requested that the property not be made a park and, instead, be sold for development as a single family residence. Whether the City disposes of the Dumar property or retains it, this SLI directs DPD/OPCD to initiate an evaluation of the zoning and land use regulations that apply to this site and the surrounding area to determine if a rezone is appropriate and to implement any identified needed changes.

Sponsors are listed as Councilmembers Tom Rasmussen, Bruce Harrell, and Nick Licata. You can watch today’s budget meeting live on Seattle Channel, online or cable channel 21. The budget will be finalized before Thanksgiving; you can send comments about this or any other aspect of the budget via a feedback form you’ll find on this page.

7 Replies to "Rezone ex-substation at 16th/Holden? Proposal emerges in city budget docs"

  • AmandaKH October 30, 2015 (10:51 am)

    What a great opportunity for the community to have a destination area. A ped overlay will also be great for that whole four-square. I support you HPAC!

  • LBJ October 30, 2015 (11:16 am)

    Better do something about the traffic flow through that and the 16th and Austin intersections. From 3-6pm you can barely get through these two intersections if you are southbound on 16th. There really needs to be a dedicated left-hand turn lane from 16th southbound to Holden eastbound.

  • Trickycoolj October 30, 2015 (2:27 pm)

    LBJ – agreed. That 2 block jog over is part of my daily commute and it gets so backed up I’ve had to start taking that little switchback hill on Webster to avoid the left from 16th to Holden. Cuts significant time from my commute. I also see people dangerously cutting through the 7-11 parking lot to avoid the left turn and repeated red lights. The only way to avoid it all is leaving before 7am or after 9am. Isn’t the city planning a light at 15th and Holden to further bungle up the only route out for those of us that work south of downtown and sodo.

  • JDJ October 30, 2015 (10:11 pm)

    I would love to see this property rezoned to allow for a commercial use. This is a busy intersection with a bus stop and plenty of foot traffic, a single family house on this corner makes no sense. Thank you HPAC for following through with the City Council to make this happen and improve our neighborhood.

  • CS in HP October 31, 2015 (8:44 am)

    Thanks for the coverage WSB!

  • rockhills November 1, 2015 (10:05 am)

    While I understand the concerns of the owners of adjoining properties, this neighborhood will benefit tremendously from the addition of alternatives to the convenience stores and coffee stand that are already there. And I agree with TCJ… most drivers already divide into a turn lane and through lane at that light. It would be safer for everyone to formalize that and possibly add a turn arrow.

  • Kay K November 4, 2015 (8:41 am)

    Great news that council is listening to the neighborhood. Hope our new electee, who ever she ends up being, is paying attention.

    Trickycoolj – understand your strategizing on how to get around the backups on Holden, the intersection at Highland Park Way is an outdated set up. But COMMUTERS PLEASE SLOW DOWN going through our neighborhoods! You are going to kill a kid or biker.

    With Prop 1 passing, this intersection is lined up for a fix for us.

Sorry, comment time is over.