Design Review: Stealing From the Future

Cassandra and Friend

As I have already pointed out, the Department of Planning and Development has proposed design review for new microhousing projects as a way to assuage anger and fear of a band of neighbors opposed to the product.  But why, in a city where it is liturgical for politicians to state their commitment to ‘affordable housing,’ […]

Council’s Response to Innovation:Raise the Rents on Microhousing?

More Rules

The latest chapter of the Department of Planning and Development’s (DPD) efforts to limit innovative housing solutions in response to angry neighbors is being drafted and will be presented at Friday’s meeting of the Planning, Land Use, and Sustainability (PLUS) Committee. After a lengthy appeal the legislation is back and will be considered by the […]

Hard to Find the ‘Incentive’ in Incentive Zoning

NAIOP IZ Post

  This post originally appeared in the Spring edition of The Voice, NAIOP’s semi-annual government affairs newsletter.    Recently, the City of Seattle has placed an emphasis on what it calls incentive zoning, a program that charges a fee in exchange for granting additional Floor Area Ratio (FAR) for new housing and non-residential development. This […]

Corn Dogs, Housing, and Innovation

corn dogs City Market

I was asked to write an opinion piece for Publicola yesterday comparing the reaction the Seattle City Council had to ride sharing programs to the reaction they are contemplating to small-lot housing. The truth is I already did that in a post not too long ago. To me, the comparison is obvious. Small-lot housing is […]

Small Lot Hearing This Friday

We’ve been hearing  about the problems with small-lot legislation being considered by the City Council. Here’s what David Neiman a local architect says about the problems created by the legislation because of it’s efforts to placate a small group of angry neighbors:  These defects are known to the planners at DPD.  They understand them and fully appreciate […]

Downzoning Your Dreams

Thurbanist Diagram

The evidence continues to build that small-lot legislation offered by the Department of Planning and Development makes things worse for everyone involved, including owners of existing single-family homeowners. Matt Gangemi writing at The Urbanist calls the legislation Seattle’s Largest Downzone. If you live on a lot less than a 3,200 square feet in size, the maximum […]

One House, One Diagram [UPDATED]

One House

Breaking News: The black box has been found and we’ve discovered a link to the diagram. You can see it here. Evidently, sensing their overreach, the people behind One House One Lot have started to downplay the fact that the legislation they support will dramatically impact the ability of existing homeowners to add to their […]

Seattle Times Story on Displacement: Fixing the Narrative

Bhatt

Many people have been expressing their annoyance with yet another story on the front page of the Seattle Times wringing its hands over the plight of displaced people in the face of what some call, “runaway growth.” Every single person in this city faced with a housing crisis deserves our compassion and help, whether they […]

Small Lot Legislation: An Architect’s Perspective.

The Walsh Hollon House designed by Neiman Taber Architects

As an architect who specializes in housing, I occasionally get involved in discussions with DPD and the city council about land use issues.  In general, I look at proposed legislation from this perspective:  What kind of outcomes will the new legislation encourage?  Are these good outcomes?  If I’m trying to design housing using these new rules, is the code helping or hindering? […]

DPD Tried to Regulate Small Lots;You Wouldn’t Believe What Happened Next!

Over the last part of the week I kept hearing noises on social media about problems with the Department of Planning and Development’s (DPD) efforts to constrain small-lot development. Here’s the comment that set off the biggest discussions and concerns. According to one homeowner the legislation means that about 8,755 existing homes . . . […]