Welcome to Livable Seattle

Spring 2017

De-stereotyping Seattle Zoning, Nov. draft, top of Navigation, left. 
Don't Escalate Land Prices,
Brooklyn Ave: LR3 Case Study,  ditto.

—Richard Morrill's The Amazing Housing Mystery;
—Peter Steinbrueck's Measure of Urban Village Strategy;
Grace Jansons' The Long Wave, Reabsorbing Housing (1991)
Reissued.
     all @ "Markets vs Management," 2nd from the top, left.

—April 2015 State Pop. Estimates enable update of Vision 2040 vs Reality—3rd from top, left.

—2010 Multifamily Design Freedom Fails Same as 1984 Version—below and @ "Design Freedom" 4th and 5th from top, left.  



Livable Seattle was created in 2007 to dialogue the otherwise ignored interrelations between regional ecology, urban design and housing costs.

This caught our attention: 
1) Unwritten land use code interpretations——row upon row of barrack-style double-loaded townhouses with short-term appeal regressing lowrise multi-family neighborhoods to inexcusable fire hazards. (See Updated Chockablock Report and Two Fires,Two Messages in the "Navigation" column at left.) No significant change as of 2015!
 
2) City of Seattle Shock Therapy: attribute barrack-style to not enough "design freedom," restudy for four long years a previously failed experiment as easy mortgage era escalates displacement until all goes bust, then re-adopt the failed experiment as though history no longer matters:

    a) 1982 Council replaces density, bulk, & placement limits with indirect controls            

    b) 1987 Council adopts "interim controls" to prevent further damage;

    c) 1989 Council restores traditional direct controls. 

    d) 2010 Council replaces density, bulk & placement limits with Green Factor & Floor Area Ratio.
 
Wikipedia: Floor Area Ratio


This holds our attention:
1) Post ownership bust, the housing-type-in-demand "unexpectedly" switches to a housing type the 2010 Update assumed was a dead duck—the apartment—and—surprise—the new tax-break honeypot switches from lowrise multifamily zones to mid-rise/high-rise/mixed use zones:   

2) Ideological manic interest in upzoning areas already zoned high intensity pushes "allowed development far ahead of the market," — 4/13/2011: Town Square: Leaders in Livability - Dow Constantine  (may no longer be available) At the same time, low-end loophole seekers have a field-day producing an early Verdict on Zoning Experiment # 2: Fail, Same-as-the-first. And so says Councilmember Clark's Letter to DPD 10-2013  That was 2013. Loophole seekers continue the field-day, neighborhoods wait. Fix inexplicably split into two sets of amendments, see 5) and 5 1/2) below.

 3) Displacement and non-replacement of In-city housing suitable for those of modest income swings into high gear along with the problem-plagued solutions that perpetuate the livelihood of the problems industry. See Rob Nixon, Slow Violence and the Environmentalism of the Poor, 2011 and Andrew Ross, Bird on Fire, 2011 ("Look Inside"s at Amazon are amazingly extensive).
See also 
http://www.thevanishingcity.com/  and Coalition for an Affordable, Livable Seattle

4) More bitter fruit— supposed fixes for the Single Family Monster House: major Oct. 2008, minor 2011, Jan. 2012, and still on-going—the "small-lot" fix. However, thanks to a lot of expressed concern, Council interest in Single Family voters, not quite dead yet. Council Acts Unanimously.  Supposedly resolved 5/19/14! We shall see.

5) Townhouse Packs have slowed, but not disappeared. Scoff-law "apodments" kicked off the next epidemic.  With the switch back to apartments (1, above), a 1983 Director's Rule, long ineffective at preventing scoff-law rental of what are actually individually rented separate occupancies in a house zoned single family, was recently declared applicable to new multifamily buildings. The new gig enables evasion of "costly" requirements for apartments, congregate housing and youth hostels by declaring "one dwelling unit" what is actually 8 sleeping/eating entities each separately and independently leased short term (~ 3 mo. initial min.) at very high dollars per square foot.

Large inner-city houses re-adapt well to communal living; when zoned multifamily, as is the situation in much of Seattle, they have long provided independent living on a budget. Or so buyers thought. A
mazingly the Seattle Times pegged it well as early as 4/29/13:
Supposedly resolved 10/2014. We shall see.  For downloads detailing more responsible approaches to lost affordability see Navigation column at  "REJECTED A Way Forward"

5 1/2)  Long story short.  Director acted responsibly and corrected the worst of the remaining Lowrise Multifamily loopholes adopted in 2010. Appeal by developers' representatives stopped the clock. Developers' representatives lost appeal. Developers' representatives successfully talked Director and Council committee chair into round-filing the corrections they LOST on appeal. On July 6th, 2015 only Rasmussen voted NO. For why he did see: Seattle Speaks Up

6) Transit Communities—a proposal proposed by the Planning Commission and adopted last year by Resolution—  turns the "urban village strategy" into lip service and sets the stage for upzoning "walk circles" along "transit corridors" serving neighborhoods currently zoned single-family.  Web page no longer available.


7) Seattle 2035, the city's required Comprehensive Plan open for heart surgery per the Growth Management Act—Draft Environmental Impact Statement commenting closed. Current Draft keeps Urban Village strategy as lip service while Mayor proposes return to unfocused redevelopment in the name of Affordable Housing. Not so fast: Danny Westneat 7/12/15 wants to know what ever happened to the management part of growth management?
Current Draft comment period closes Nov. 20, 2015.

Could it get any worse?

Yes, HALA's Grand Bargain—additional responses in the works.



 Capitol Hill, southwest of Volunteer Park— three in a row.





This is a Website—not a Blog. New information appears in the Navigation column on the left. Newest at the top. The original SLM website, identified as such, can be found among the additional resources on the Downloadable Files page.