The U District Rezone Needs Your Support
By Zach Shaner, Seattle Transit Blog on September 13, 2016
[Update 12:41pm. I neglected to mention any specific advocacy opportunities, but your first opportunity to have an impact is to attend the Planning, Land Use, and Zoning (PLUZ) Committee hearing on Tuesday, September 20th at 9:30am in Council Chambers. Supportive public comment would be most welcome.]
[Update x2 2:58pm. Corrected numbers for Seattle’s population and housing growth rates.]
Yesterday Mayor Murray held a press conference to announce the penultimate move in the big UDistrict Rezone. After half a decade and nearly 100 meetings, it’s finally time to send it to the City Council. And make no mistake, this is the big one.
To date, Link-related zoning changes within Seattle have been meager and disappointing, while many suburban jurisdictions have done relatively better. Lynnwood has created a Center City zone around its future Link station, with heights up to 125′ permitted. And in Kent near Highline College, the height limit is 200′ and there are minimum densities required by code.
By contrast, the most-lauded rezones, at Capitol Hill, Roosevelt, Mount Baker, and Othello, still cap development at 85′. Other residential Link stations are still waiting for their first big rezone, with single-family or lowrise zoning still predominating around Beacon Hill, Columbia City, and Rainier Beach. And of course there are several stations with industrial or institutional uses that inhibit either commercial or residential growth, at Sodo, Stadium, UW, and to a lesser extent Northgate.
Chart by the author