Seattle City Councilmembers are elected by their people to represent their people. On the issue of development in Capitol Hill (micro-housing, anyone?), they have been lethargic to respond to the neighborhood’s protests. In an effort to close loopholes that have allowed new construction to exceed height limits, the Capitol Hill Community Council drafted this letter to be sent to the councilmembers:
On Thursday night, February 20, at a regular monthly meeting of the Capitol Hill Community Council, we discussed the issue of out-of-scale buildings being constructed in our LR3 Zones. We understand that in 2010 new zoning was put into place which now allows construction to be four stories tall, but that is not in fact what is being built.
As hundreds of neighbors have written or spoken up to tell you, buildings in a height range of five stories and even taller are now overwhelming our smaller and quieter streets on Capitol Hill, and looming over our historic homes. This resolution asks you, our elected City Council and hired members of the Department of Planning, to take immediate action to help retract the loopholes that are allowing dozens of projects to crop up that flagrantly violate the intended purpose of the four-story “up zone.” We are requesting a moratorium on new construction that is over four stories tall, as measured from the lowest point on the property, be enacted immediately until clarifying zoning laws are approved.
See below for the full resolution.
The Capitol Hill Community Council
Contact board members for this issue:
John Akamatsu, Vice President
Jeffrey Cook, Member at Large
Capitol Hill Community Council Heights Resolution, February 20, 2014
WHEREAS: The Capitol Hill Community Council desires to respond to the complaints from thousands of citizens in its community and the city about out-of-scale tall buildings crowding out existing residents, and
WHEREAS: The Council is aware that unprecedented development is happening around Capitol Hill, in general as a result of abused incentives, and is having a major impact in particular on the quality of life along our multi-family zone streets, and
WHEREAS: City Council President Sally Clark has stated that the 2010 legislation to increase heights has resulted in unintended consequences for our neighborhoods by allowing buildings to reach well above the intended four stories,
THEREFORE the Capitol Hill Community Council requests that the Seattle City Council and the Department of Planning and Development instigate a new set of development legislation that caps all new construction types at a total maximum allowable height of 40 foot/four stories as measured from the lowest point on the property, inclusive of all rooftop features, with the exception of elevator mechanics, stairwells or HVAC systems, in order to better bring new construction into scale with existing multi-family zone properties.
Further be it resolved that we request a moratorium on new construction seeking to build over forty foot heights until this legislation is enacted.