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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 . . . […]

Small-Lots: Don’t Stop an Innovative Housing Solution

benchview

Here are the comments I delivered to the Planning, Land Use, and Sustainability (PLUS) Committee this afternoon. The outcome we are looking for from the Council is legislation that supports more small-lot development that is predictable and scaled to housing already in neighborhoods. The 80 Percent Rule does that. Comments to PLUS Committee on April […]

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 […]

Comp Planning: All of the Above!

where-we-live-map

Let me start by saying that regional planning and planning for future growth is a serious business and it isn’t easy. The City of Seattle is currently starting a long public process around where future growth–which really means more people–should go. They have three options: Alternative 1: Urban Center Focus Most growth would be encouraged […]

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