The Shoreline City Council will be discussing the 145th Subarea plan tonight (7pm). It should be a lively and dare I say vibrant evening. I would imagine they’re going to completely ignore the will of the citizen majority once again and foolishly push forward the most massive of the density options.
Why on earth would they shove this upzone down the throats of the people in these neighborhoods when the majority of property owners are clearly telling them NO. The City’s density dreams will not come to fruition without their cooperation. Unless of course they were lying about not using eminent domain for affordable housing? Time will tell. And now that neighborhoods around 185th and 145th have blatantly been ignored, people are still angry, and rightfully so. The neighbors in the 145th subarea should be livid that an option with less density, similar to the ‘some growth’ scenario for 185th was never even considered. Perhaps that was merely to punish the un-obediant citizens committee which was not comprised of naive “yes people”.
They’re still furious, they haven’t forgotten, and they haven’t fatigued yet. Why is that? Because when people are continuously lied to by the very people that are tasked with protecting their City, it creates wounds that won’t heal anytime soon.
With every knock on the door from a land shark,
with every piece of junk mail from real estate agents repping developers,
with every snide remark by various council members/planning commissioners/staff,
with every piece of spin, misleading statement, or flat out lie issued by the city.
…the anger reignites, which re-fuels and re-energizes those who have been sold out by City Hall. Any much-prayed-for fatigue that those in power are so desperately hoping for, will never come.
~ Welcome to the age of the non-traditional neighborhood association ~
You ignored us at meeting after meeting, so now we meet and congregate online as it seems to be more a more effective (and frankly, more convenient) method at combating your ill-conceived decisions. Property owners against these upzoning plans who are armed with information, who can easily share and compare notes about who’s bothering them about selling their home this week, volunteers who can slice through the urbanist psychobabble propaganda and pinpoint how these plans are in no way “vibrant” or “livable” or “good for the environment”, is really the biggest threat to these plans of yours. Bigger than a lawsuit, bigger than a hearing with the GMB, bigger than an appeal. Certainly bigger than one terrier of a citizen volunteer who was aggressively attacking people over email and online. Bigger than a planning commissioner posting comments on SAN under a pseudonym about what he thinks millennials want. Bigger than a former planning commissioner tossing out insults at the owners of “these junky, ugly homes” in the subarea at a public hearing. Bigger than the two shills from Forterra who don’t have decency to disclose their ties with the organization they represent when they testify before the Council or Planning Commission. Maybe even bigger than the upcoming election with council seats up, a levy lid lift, and ST3?
The powers that be are going to have to get a lot more brutish and pull out some strong arm tactics if you really want to catalyze the kind of development you desire. And I’m sure you will, just to punish us all for fighting back and standing up for our neighborhoods. But know this, every move, every tactic will be illuminated online and exposed for what it is. It’s become apparent who the main aggressors are in this half-baked upzoning fiasco. Those in the real estate industry aka. “Peoples’ Safety Net Career” who only care about creating more inventory for their counterparts and associates for more commissions and higher commissions. Why anyone with ties to the real estate industry or own their own development companies are allowed on the planning commission, council, or even staff defies all logic. There are a few exceptions to the norm, but they’re few and far between.
Now…. on to the lies, half-truths, and opinions twisted to appear as facts:
Remember one or two councilmembers and staff repeatedly saying one of the reasons why the upzoning should occur is “to give property owners certainty”? Well, according to a public records request it phrased a little differently by a certain councilmember…
“to give the ***development community*** certainty”
Remember this snide little press release sent out by the City after Shoreline Area News published the story about what the miniscule, unreadable maps in Currents actually meant in terms of height and bulk? http://www.shorelineareanews.com/2014/09/city-will-not-use-eminent-domain-to.html
I’d like to draw your attention to the following statements, because they appear to no longer be accurate with some legislation that was passed over the Summer…
– “Sound Transit doesn’t have any plans to purchase property for residential or commercial redevelopment.”
– “Sound Transit will be using its eminent domain authority to purchase, at fair market value, some private property for construction of the Lynnwood Link Light Rail itself, ***but any such purchase will be strictly for the construction of the line, the stations, and parking.***”
– “Redevelopment of the station areas will be determined entirely by private property owners and private developers responding to market forces.”
The following article from the Seattle Transit Blog mentions RCW 81.112.350 in an ST3 letter from (you guessed it!) a group of the developer lobbyists that graced us with their presence at many of the 185th PlanCom/Council Meetings. (7th section from the top: http://seattletransitblog.com/2016/02/24/community-feedback-on-sound-transit-3/)
“Sound Transit should prioritize affordable housing in the use and disposal of its land… The State Legislature has already required, in RCW 81.112.350, that Sound Transit sell 80% of its surplus land for affordable housing use. Additionally, ***Sound Transit is required to put $20 million in a revolving acquisition loan fund to acquire additional sites for affordable housing near transit.*** “
So, what exactly does that mean for our station areas? I would assume that the Planning Dept, Commission, Council, & Citizens Committees aware of this and how it’s going to work into the station plans, no?
Does ST plan to ask nicely for volunteers? Or do they just plan on taking people’s homes, calling it “surplus property” (which by definition, it’s clearly not if the sole purpose is just to flip and rebuild), and handing them off to whoever’s in cahoots with the consortiums? At a discount, no less, if this additional legislation that the lobbyists are lobbying for gets pushed through to sell surplus at less than fair market value. Combine that “discount” with the 12 year property tax exemption they’ve already been “gifted” by the City, that’s a pretty handsome offer, no?
I have to wonder if this whole thing with the zoning and land use designations not being done in a timely manner for the stations, facilities, and rail line have less to do with those three things and more do with the large gash of “surplus” property that’s going to be lining the East side of I-5. If so, all the more reason to go back, reboot, reset on the 185th upzone and PAO, since there’s a whole set of factors that need to be worked in the equation and not go forward with the 145th plan, until the true potentials impacts from this particular, very important, piece of the web are examined.
Consider this scenario… everyone on your block wants to sell to a developer, but you don’t want to. Could this legislation be used to bully you into selling your home that you love for demolition? Pulling an Edith Macefield in a situation such as this wouldn’t even be an option.
If this legislation makes involuntary displacement a legitimate risk, then the public needs to know. Especially those of us who were “lucky” enough to be “colored in” with brown, purple, or turquoise ink on the zoning map. Even those in the later phases. In fact, everyone within a mile of the station could be targeted as the City conjured up some BS article from a planning magazine to justify upzoning way outside of the half-mile walk shed of 185th.
If this legislation makes involuntary displacement a legitimate risk, it would invalidate almost everything in the press releases issued by the City over the last year or so, to “calm concerns” and enlighten the “confused”.
I think it would behoove the City to issue a more ‘current’ and accurate press release that takes into account how this is going to impact the subareas.
Remember the City’s, Futurewise’s, and all the other lobbyist’s tripe about “what millennials want” and all the articles and studies they cited. Here are a couple articles that tell a completely opposite story.
Let’s take a look at some spin from the collection of councilmember comments that were submitted prior to tonight’s meeting:
“We established policies at the beginning of this process, several years ago, to promote transit-oriented development (including minimum densities) within walking distance of the future light rail stations, and we have communicated extensively with the community about that.”
What a crock! Let’s talk about this so-called “extensive communication”, shall we?
In the case of 185th, they did communicate, but the communication was either inaccurate, incomplete, or completely misleading. The billboard with a map showing a fraction of the actual upzone size, the first round of postcards that only reached a fraction of the people impacted, the futurewise sponsored doorbelling campaign which didn’t even reach fraction of the people impacted by the upzoning and who knows what they were told – more lies, I’m guessing. All of the articles in currents with examples of higher density but not the R-48 and R-85 examples, no mention ever of the 14 story possibility, nothing about the ‘ground- truthing” as to how the street grid could be opened up in the blocks parallel to 185th. When a proper letter was finally mailed out to those impacted by the upzoning, it was only a week or so before the final meeting. Oh! And let’s not forget the insulting installments of “On the Mayor’s Mind” and the City’s Press releases that did not accurately capture the negative feedback and concerns they were receiving. Here it is in more detail:
“Upzoning these areas will improve the water quality of Thornton Creek. Toxic stormwater runoff from existing development is a major problem in Thornton Creek and 4 one of the top priority environmental problems facing the Puget Sound ecosystem.”
Riiiiggghhhttt… because the high-density, multi-story Aegis building, which is similar in size, bulk, and height to what the upzoning would allow was SO AWESOME for Thornton Creek, the nearby wetlands, and the pond that destroyed. You can twist it around however you wish, but it doesn’t make it true.
“Upzoning these areas will improve housing affordability. The most basic law of economics is the law of supply and demand. We can’t reduce the demand for housing, which is set by the regional economy. But we can increase supply, and that will reduce housing costs. In addition, units in multifamily buildings like townhouses are generally less expensive to build, own, or rent than single family detached houses.”
More urbanist psychobabble! This doesn’t take into account the BASIC fact that new construction is almost always more expensive, so NEW townhomes or condos or apartment buildings are going to be expensive until they’re about 10-15 years old. Most townhomes and condos have high HOA’s on top of the regular mortgage payment, which adds to their unaffordability. It’s not as simple as basic supply and demand, but if you insist that it is, this upzoning will GUARANTEE reduction in the supply of small, affordable single family homes, absent of HOA’s.