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U District Upzone Plan Could Make Neighborhood Much Taller

By Sean Keeley, Curbed Seattle on September 14, 2016

Mayor Ed Murray has unveiled a plan to raise zoning height limits across University District
 

 

When you think Seattle is running out of room to develop, just remember there’s always another direction we can go.

Up.

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray has unveiled a long-gestating plan on Monday that would increase zoning heights for developers across University District. 

"Without zoning changes, we're not producing enough new housing, and affordable housing have to do to continue to call this place home.”

The plan calls for higher limits in mixed, commercial, and residential regions of the neighborhood. Some areas that can currently go as high as 65 to 85 feet could soon see height limit increased as high as 320 feet. For reference, that would allow for something like the 30-story tower planned at 800 Columbia. Other residential parts of the neighborhood would be given new height limits of 75 feet. The region surrounding the impending Brooklyn Light Rail station would see heights upwards of 240 feet.

The pro side certainly sees this as a chance for future city development to move north, following light rail expansion and easing density concerns in Downtown and South Lake Union. The con side seems another Seattle neighborhood being given over to developers likely to build market-rate and luxury projects that will price out longtime residents. U District has one of the city’s highest poverty rates as it is.

A Seattle City Council committee will hear the legislation on September 20 and you better believe there will be some loud voices in the room that day.

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