The city’s Department of Planning and Development is holding a public meeting on June 29 to discuss the proposed rezoning of the Greenwood Town Center site in the heart of Greenwood. The Town Center includes Fred Meyer, Greenwood Market, Bartell Drugs, Top Ten Toys, Blockbuster, and the new Sedges retail/residential building.
The proposal also includes upzoning some surrounding areas, including about 100 feet deep on the south side of NW 85th Street, west side of NW 3rd Avenue and north side of NW 87th Street.
Trevor Stanley, president of the Greenwood Community Council, says the rezoning proposal came about through community meetings over the last several years. When Fred Meyer proposed to knock down its current store and replace it with a larger, mixed-use project, the GCC and another group, the Greater Greenwood Design & Development Advisory Group (GG.DDAG) found that current zoning in that area was inconsistent and could lead to the wrong kind of projects.
Fred Meyer’s current zoning is C-1 (commercial zoning that encourages large parking lots). The proposal is to change it to NC3-65 (Neighborhood Commercial with a 65-foot height limit), which would encourage taller buildings and a larger footprint, instead of a sea of asphalt parking.
(Fred Meyer’s plan is to demolish its existing store and replace it with a much larger store, along with about 250 apartments and other retail space, plus a large parking garage. The city approved Fred Meyer’s basic design last September.)
Under the proposal, the area just west of 3rd Ave. NW and north of NW 87th Street would be changed to L-3 (Lowrise), which would allow town homes with a height limit of 35 feet. Stanley says this is the same height limit as a single-family home, but the allowable lot coverage would be greater, although buildings could not come right up to the property line.
“It could be good because it could stimulate development along that area, which has had a lot of problems attracting anybody to come in there,” Stanley said. “To date, that area has sat in a sort of derelict state. We want nice stuff there, but it has to be profitable or it won’t be developable.”
The rezone proposal also would change the zoning on the south side of NW 85th Street to NC2P-65, which allows buildings 65 feet tall, but limits the footprints of those buildings.
Stanley says he understands the concerns of homeowners south of NW 85th St. who worry about a tall development being built right next door. But he says since the single family homes there are built partially up the hill, the 65 feet height limit is not as daunting as initially thought.
“Yes, that’s a big building, that’s absolutely right, but there’s another 15 feet of grade up to the top of that hill, plus there’s an alley in between. So you can’t say it’s 65 feet above your house. But, it would be tall,” he said. “It’s just trying to encourage the right thing. And the right thing is…subjective. It needs to be dealt with, it’s just a matter of how we deal with it.”
The now vacant lot of the corner of NW 85th Street and 1st Ave. NW that used to be a Pizza Hut years ago, would be included in the NC2P-65 zoning. We reported last summer that a new restaurant would be going in there, but that apparently fell through. Last week, a trailer with the sign “Hot Bean Espresso” was parked there. (PhinneyWood has been unable to find any business license or building permits with that name. If you have any information, please share it below in comments.)
Several months ago, the Greenwood Community Council applied to the Seattle Parks Department’s Opportunity Fund to purchase the site for a park, using money from the 2008 Parks Levy. Stanley said acquiring that site would cost about $1.5 million. While the property owner told Stanley he might be interested in selling that site, he hoped to sell it along with the two adjacent lots (currently an empty lot and an old house) as one big package.
Stanley says an urban park next to the Greenwood Town Center would be a perfect fit. “It’s going to increase the quality of life in general for the Town Center to have a nice little green space,” he said. “It kind of activates that space. And it’s horribly ugly the way it is right now. We want to be proactive to help encourage the right stuff, or else we’re going to get the Hot Bean Espresso stand.”
The DPD zoning meeting is from 6-8 p.m., Tuesday, June 29, in the Fellowship Hall of the Phinney Ridge Lutheran Church, at 7500 Greenwood Ave. N.