by Linda Melvin, Ballard
A sizable turnout of Seattlelites were present last night, June 27, at City Hall for 2 hours of public comments on the Mayor’s 2035 Comprehensive Plan. Present were Councilmembers Rob Johnson, Bruce Harrell, and Lorena Gonzalez.
Of approximately 50 speakers, 11 insisted the Plan should pass “as is” and again included members of Seattle for Everyone as well as Futurewise; several were Capitol Hill renters.
I counted 36 speakers who actively criticized the Plan or offered specific advice to amend it; Wallingford and Crown Hill were again very well represented but speakers also came from the Rainier Valley, Othello, Eastlake, U District, and other neighborhoods.
As expected, a primary criticism was the Mayor’s elimination of neighborhood plans from the 2035 Comp Plan. Several speakers listed specific clauses present in the original Comp Plan that had been deleted from the 2035 Plan. Instead, the new Plan substitutes general, vague language that basically allows the City to “take out everything that is an impediment to a bulldozer” (thank you, Lee Raaen of Wallingford!), with no neighborhood engagement.
Although they appreciated the City’s attempt to include race and social equity in the Plan, many speakers were worried about displacement of vulnerable populations, with substitution of expensive new housing where currently older affordable housing exists, and questioned how the City can possibly meet their goals of providing more affordable housing when “market forces” appear to be their favorite means to that end.
Other favorite themes included the environment, with specific citations about our vanishing tree canopy; infrastructure (“first things first”) must be improved before any upzones or new Urban Village development takes place (e.g., in Crown Hill and U District); impact/mitigation fees were again proposed for developers; and transportation goals, specifically walk shed areas (within 10 minutes of very good bus service–ha!) were questioned.
Several Committees of the City Council will include further discussions (with 20-minute comment periods) of the Comp Plan during the month of July. We need to keep an eye on these and listen carefully to our Councilmembers’ questions and comments during those meetings.
Thanks for caring.