A news blog for Seattle's Phinney Ridge and Greenwood neighborhoods

 

Greenwood Community Council meeting tonight: ‘Weigh In on the Biggest Citywide Land Use Change in Decades’

November 15th, 2016 by Doree

The Greenwood Community Council meets at 7 p.m. tonight (Tuesday) at Razzi’s Pizzeria, 8523 Greenwood Ave. N., in the downstairs meeting room. On the agenda is the city’s plan to enact zoning changes that will affect housing throughout the city.

Seattle is preparing to make city-wide changes to zoning that will change the allowable height of all multi-family buildings by one story, change single family zoning within designated “urban villages” into a new zoning category, and alter what massing and designs are allowed in specific zones, among other things. Added height is part of a “grand bargain” with developers in return for dedicating roughly 6% of new housing to affordable units, and the other changes are aimed at increasing Seattle’s density to increase walking and transit use.

On Tuesday the Greenwood Community Council meeting will help understand what is proposed, provide time for community discussion on the issues. Join us in a special location – downstairs at Razzi’s – for pizza and a slightly extended meeting to digest some complicated material (and I’m not talking about the pizza.) At the end of the meeting we will ask whether GCC should weigh in on the proposed changes and how.

Please join us! If you’re able to contribute for pizza, that will be appreciated.

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Phinney Ridge Community Council meets Tuesday to discuss development, land use, zoning

August 31st, 2015 by Doree

The Phinney Ridge Community Council meets at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Phinney Neighborhood Association, 6532 Phinney Ave. N.

On the agenda:

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Phinney Ridge Community Council meets tonight to discuss election results, zoning, land use, developments

August 11th, 2015 by Doree

Just a reminder that the Phinney Ridge Community Council meets at 7 p.m. tonight (Tuesday) at the Phinney Neighborhood Association, 6532 Phinney Ave. N.

On the agenda:

  • A recap of last week’s primary election results for City Council District 6 and city-wide positions 8 & 9.
  • A recap of Mayor Ed Murray’s July 18 visit to the neighborhood, and the controversial Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda report.
  • A number of land use and development issues, including the city’s design review process, updates on the city’s Comprehensive Plan, zoning versus property line setbacks policy revision, neighborhood commercial zoning definitions and boundaries, and the new development proposed for 6726 Greenwood Ave. N. that will bring 60 studio apartments with no parking.

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Phinney Ridge Community Council meets Tuesday to discuss election results, mayor’s July visit, land use, new developments

August 5th, 2015 by Doree

The Phinney Ridge Community Council meets at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 11, at the Phinney Neighborhood Association, 6532 Phinney Ave. N.

On the agenda:

  • A recap of this week’s primary election results for City Council District 6 and city-wide positions 8 & 9
  • A recap of Mayor Ed Murray’s July 18 visit to the neighborhood, and the controversial Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda report
  • A number of land use and development issues, including the city’s design review process, updates on the city’s Comprehensive Plan, zoning versus property line setbacks policy revision, neighborhood commercial zoning definitions and boundaries, and the new development proposed for 6726 Greenwood Ave. N. that will bring 60 studio apartments with no parking

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City Council taking comments on neighborhood pedestrian designations, including Greenwood

May 7th, 2015 by Doree

The Seattle City Council is considering a bill that would amend land use regulations on Pedestrian designations and neighborhood commercial zoning districts, and would add Pedestrian designations in 42 neighborhoods to the Official Land Use Map.

The bill would add a Pedestrian designation to Greenwood Avenue North between North 81st and 83rd streets.

The bill also would clarify rules on the maximum width of street level office space in Pedestrian designations, and would amend the rules related to live-work units, requiring that each unit have an exterior sign, and requiring property owners to maintain a current business license.

Written comments on Council Bill 118383 should be submitted by 12 p.m. on Monday, May 11, by email to Committee Chair Mike O’Brien at mike.obrien@seattle.gov.

You can find links to the full text of the bill and maps here.

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Public hearing on rezoning part of Greenwood to encourage affordable housing

February 11th, 2013 by Doree

Greenwood residents are invited to a March 14 public hearing on rezoning part of downtown Greenwood, which is part of the Greenwood/Phinney Ridge Residential Urban Village. The Department of Planning and Development (DPD) proposes amending the Official Land Use Map to rezone land and apply incentive provisions to encourage affordable housing.

Last summer, the City Council had proposed a more extensive rezone of the land around Fred Meyer, called Greenwood Town Center, but has changed the proposal based on testimony from a July public hearing and more analysis by DPD staff.

The new proposal will NOT apply a pedestrian zone designation to the block facing the south side of NW 85th Street, between 1st and 3rd Avenues NW, which is zoned Neighborhood Commercial 2 with a 40-foot height limit (NC2 40).

But it does increase the maximum floor area ratio (FAR) permitted in mixed-use structures of both residential and non-residential uses on those lots from 3.25 to 4.0, without changing the existing 40-foot height limit. That is designed to encourage affordable housing on those lots.

Greenwood-Town-Center-rezone-proposal

You can find background on the rezone area on DPD’s website, complete with maps of each proposed rezone area.

The City Council’s Planning, Land Use and Sustainability Committee will hold a public hearing on proposed rezones on Thursday, March 14, in City Council Chambers, Seattle City Hall, 600 Fourth Avenue, Floor 2, starting at 9:30 a.m. If you want to testify, a sign-up sheet will be available outside Council Chambers at 9 a.m.

Questions about the public hearing can be directed to Sara Nelson in Councilmember Conlin’s office at 206-684-8805, or sara.nelson@seattle.gov. Written comments can be sent to: Councilmember Richard Conlin, Legislative Department, 600 Fourth Avenue, Floor 2, PO Box 34025, Seattle, WA 98124-4025, or by email to richard.conlin@seattle.gov. Written comments should be received by 9 a.m. on Thursday, March 14.

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School of Rock unable to move into Crown Hill building, looking again for space in Greenwood-Phinney

July 26th, 2011 by Doree

The School of Rock had been looking to move from Lake City to Greenwood or Phinney Ridge earlier this year, when it finally leased a building on NW 85th Street in Crown Hill. But, after four months of working with the Department of Planning and Development, it turns out that the building isn’t zoned for a school or institution, so School of Rock is now looking again for a new space, in either Ballard or Greenwood-Phinney.

From General Manager Kristoffer Kierulff’s email to our sister site My Ballard:

We signed the lease for the space on 85th and 11th around April. For the past 4 months we have been working the DPD to obtain the appropriate permits to do our construction on the space. It’s been a tedious process to say the least, but ultimately we have discovered that the zoning of the building (Residential/Commercial) does not allow for a “School/Institution” to be in that particular building without a much longer review and permitting process. A process which we have found to be too costly and risky. We are committed to finding a new home in the Greenwood/Phinney/Ballard neighborhoods, and will continue to search for an ideal locale. If any of your readers know of any good homes for us, we’re all ears!

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City updates multi-family code to allow for more variety in housing

December 15th, 2010 by Doree

After months of discussion with residents, on Monday the Seattle City Council unanimously adopted a comprehensive update to how townhomes, apartments, row houses, and cottages are developed in the city’s low-rise multifamily zones. The idea is to spur more variety in multi-family housing, provide incentives for green building, and improve open space use and landscaping.

“Over the past decade, many townhouses popped up and multiplied in ways that caused unfortunate impacts to the surrounding communities,” Councilmember Sally J. Clark said in a press release. “We saw too few other housing styles and what we did see wasn’t welcomed by neighbors in most cases. I think these new rules will lead developers to build housing that fits better in our neighborhoods and creates a better home in which to live.”

The code creates a new Streamlined Design Review (SDR) process that will allow for closer scrutiny of project design for townhouses with three or more units (but not for row houses, cottages or apartments).

The new low-rise multifamily code also reduces the number of zones from five to three; requires at least 20 percent of street facing façades to be windows and doors; building materials must be varied; townhouse parking garages must be designed to fit large cars; parking will be underground or at the back of the lot; allows shared open space and larger usable common areas; waives parking requirements for projects in growth areas and within a quarter-mile of frequent transit service; and uses a flexible standard of measuring floor space, “floor area ratio,” rather than setback and lot coverage requirements.

The city says multi-family zones make up about 9 percent of the developable land in Seattle.

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City proposes rezoning Greenwood Town Center to neighborhood commercial

November 3rd, 2010 by Doree

The city’s Department of Planning and Development finally released its report on a proposal to rezone three areas in downtown Greenwood. The proposed zoning changes would have affected the Fred Meyer site on 85th Street, as well as surrounding residential streets. However, DPD’s report, released on Tuesday, proposes only moving forward with the rezone on the Fred Meyer site.

More than 100 neighbors gathered at an open house on June 29 to voice their opinions on the proposal, which included whether some surrounding residential streets should also be rezoned to allow for higher building limits.

The original idea was to rezone a 100-foot-deep swath across the street from Fred Meyer on NW 85th Street, NW 87th Street, and 3rd Avenue NW to allow for multi-family housing to provide a “step down” between the major development that Fred Meyer had proposed and the surrounding single-family neighborhood. Fred Meyer has since changed its mind about replacing the current store with a retail-residential development, and will instead do a down-to-the-studs remodel of the existing store, as well as the Greenwood Market building.

The comments at that June 29 meeting, and in an online survey, were overwhelming negative regarding the residential rezones. According to DPD’s report, more than 65 percent did not support rezoning Subarea 2 from Single-Family 5000 to allow for low-rise options.

And 61 percent did not support rezoning Subarea 3 from Neighborhood Commercial 40 to allow for heights of up to 65 feet.

The report says the city will “maintain future consideration” for rezoning those areas. For now, DPD proposes the City Council rezone Subarea 1 from car-oriented Commerical 1 with a 40-foot height limit to more pedestrian-oriented Neighborhood Commercial with a 65-foot height limit and a pedestrian zone overlay.

From the report:

This rezone represents an opportunity for a higher density, mixed‐use development including townhouses, condos, affordable apartments (required through incentive zoning with the height increase), that would be well‐supported in this area. DPD recommends increasing the height limit to 65 feet in order to encourage reuse of the site with housing while preserving the potential for retail tenants with high floor‐to‐ceiling heights to serve the neighborhood. Tall ground floors are usually a key driver for creating good retail space. Tenants, especially grocers, and developers typically need more than 40 feet of building height in order to
incorporate housing into a mixed use development. A height limit of 65 feet would maintain flexibility for a range of options in future redevelopment, while impacts from height, bulk and scale of a project can be mitigated through the design review process.

DPD will now work on an environmental determination to prepare legislation to rezone Subarea 1. After that there will be a three-week comment and appeal period before going to the City Council for a public hearing.

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