On Urban Density: We’re Not All Goldilocks

Photo adapted from "Urban Canyon" by Diego Torres Silvestre

This post originally appeared on Better Institutions on April 20, 2014. Goldilocks is the story of a selfish young girl who breaks into another family’s home, eats their food, and destroys their property. She has a very self-centered perception of what’s “just right,” and she’s perfectly willing to trample on the rights of others in […]

DPD on Sinks: Social Plumbing, Too

Shapiro 4

Scott Shapiro of Eagle Rock Ventures sent the following letter to Department of Planning and Development (DPD) and City Council staff on proposals from DPD to regulate sinks in microhouisng. I’ve written about the strange obsession that some people on Council and others have about sinks (I called it social plumbing). This is a good […]

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 […]

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 . . . […]

PLUS Committee: Mike Scott on Multi-family Housing Market

Tucked into today’s busy agenda for the Planning, Land Use, and Sustainability (PLUS) is a presentation from local real estate expert Mike Scott of Dupre and Scott Apartment Advisors. Scott has for years provided data for developers and others trying to figure out trends in multifamily housing in the city. His charts and data are […]

Ugly Cars: “Backlash and Flight” From Driving?

Photo by author

My last post questioned the idea of adding costs to microhousing projects by running them through the design review process. The reaction was mixed on the social networks. I think some people get the idea that if I show up at your new house and demand that you paint the trim a different color, at […]

PLUS Schedule: Busy Weeks Ahead

Decisions

City Council staff has set out the schedule for the Planning Land Use and Sustainability (PLUS) Committee for the coming weeks. The PLUS Committee will be considering legislation that potentially can have big impacts on building of new single-family homes and microhousing. These will be some of the most important land use decisions the Council […]

Design Review: Adding Color and Costs to Housing

context

Over at Capitol Hill Seattle yet another example of why design review adds costs and complication to housing projects. A Department of Planning and Development representative confirmed to CHS that the developers of Viva Capitol Hill, the six-story, 105-unit mixed-use apartment building finishing construction in the triangle at 12th, E Union and Madison, has been denied a temporary […]