Beacon Hill neighbors opposed to “significant upzones”?

A post by Roger Valdez in the Seattle Transit Blog today discusses the proposed four-story, 30-unit residential/commercial building currently planned for part of the Beacon Hill Station block.

Valdez, a former Beacon Hill resident, would prefer more density than a 30-unit apartment building would provide, and suggests that Beacon Hill needs “big changes” to get where it needs to be.

He is pessimistic about tomorrow’s Early Design Guidance meeting for the project, scheduled for 6:30 p.m. at WellSpring Family Services’ community room, 1900 Rainier Ave. S: “I’m really hoping that isn’t the case, but my sense of land use politics tells me that, like most design review meetings, neighbors will emerge with all kinds of reasons why this project is wrong for Beacon Hill.”

But Valdez expects such responses to be only a small roadblock, and the new development on 17th and McClellan to be “a wedge for more development” on Beacon Hill.

Comments recently on this blog seem to indicate a fair amount of support for more density around Beacon Hill Station, in contrast to Valdez’ perception of Beacon Hill neighbors as people who have “vigorously opposed significant upzones around the station.” What do you think?

The empty lots around Beacon Hill Station look desolate. (This photo has been sepia-toned.) Photo by Wendi.

7 thoughts on “Beacon Hill neighbors opposed to “significant upzones”?”

  1. I think it’s both wrong and dangerous to set policy based solely on public meetings. Having gone through the performance art that Sound Transit called “community meetings”, as well as other miscellaneous tiresome civic processes, it seems like all the cranks and nutcases show up – or at least suck up all the oxygen in the room by screaming the loudest and longest.

    To be sure, I’m not saying that everyone who goes to those meetings is a crank, or that the meetings are totally useless, but they need to be taken with more than just a grain of salt.

  2. I think it is great! They should make it bigger and taller. They should make it as tall as the Seattle Housing Authority Tower on top of Beacon Hill but make this one nicer. Make it upper end. Take advantage of the views and east access to downtown and the airport. Don’t make it low income they have enough of those places on Beacon Hill already.

    Make it a destination and we will all share in the benefits of this development. Maybe a revolving resturant and bar on the top level with viewing platform.

  3. Valdez seemed unaware of the upzone that was adopted last month, he also seemed not to notice that the 1999 neighborhood plan has been updated. The ‘land use expert’ does not seem to be too expert about the land use in his former neighborhood.

  4. Valdez also doesn’t seem to understand that the project is only taking advantage of upzone recommendations made 10 years ago and already in place, and not the 65-foot zoning in the current proposal. Beacon Hill residents aren’t the ones preventing a 65-foot building from going in on that lot. When it comes down to it, you can’t force property owners to build what YOU think is best.

    Valdez is right, though, that there are alot of Beacon Hill residents who are opposed to “significant” upzoning based on how he seems to define it. He seems to think that we are resistant to change because some of us don’t want all of north beacon hill instantly zoned to 10+ floors. He indicates that a 1-mile square around the station should be upzoned to above 65-foot. Plot a 1-mile square on a map with the Station at the center and it is pretty much exactly from Spokane to Holgate and from Rainier to 12th. Why is that necessary? Valdez suggests that is necessary to make Beacon Hill more like Capitol Hill. If I wanted to live in Capitol Hill, I would have moved there! Maybe that is what Valdez did; good for him.

    The current zoning proposal makes sense for Beacon Hill, and one could argue the 65-foot limit doesn’t even pencil out yet if an established developer isn’t interested in waiting a few months for it to be ratified. Maybe the next project will take full advantage of the upcoming zoning changes, based on the success (hopefully) of the current proposal.

  5. I’d prefer a tight zone around the station with very high limits, but fall off rapidly to existing height limits within a few blocks east or west of Beacon but with a longer axis of increased heights say plus or minus half a mile along Beacon Ave. It could be hundreds of feet right there next to the station- it’s not like it will be taken advantage immediately, but put the capability there.

    But it would be great to bring in more residents low and high income and all the services, restaurants, and retail that would come with them.

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