The Mayor Responds

This past week over 100 of you wrote to Mayor McGinn and other City officials to request action on the Roosevelt Legislative Rezone process, and on Friday, he wrote back.  If you didn’t receive a direct
response, you can find the letter at this link:   http://hosted.verticalresponse.com/621526/340d194bc1/317587849/8d4df55024/. Thank you again for your efforts to contact the Mayor; you are directly engaged in community affairs and making an important difference.

The good news is that the Mayor agrees that the Legislative Rezone process should move forward.  This is important because other options on the table last week could have delayed the process even further, by another year or more.  There is clear acknowledgment of the work we’ve done and the need to bring some closure.  It’s also worth noting the Mayor’s crisp assertion that “towers” – anything over 85 feet – are clearly not appropriate anywhere in Roosevelt.  But the Mayor was devilishly vague about just where 65 and 85 foot high buildings could be built.  Actually, his letter expressly leaves open the possibility that the high school blocks – between 12th and 15th, 65th and 66th, could be rezoned to 65 or 85 feet.  And that scenario is squarely at odds with the Neighborhood Plan which calls for 40 ft. limits in that area.  So at the end of the week, we’re kind of looking at a glass that’s half-full of cloudy water.

Where We’re At Now

At the Mayor’s direction DPD will now change some of the recommendations in the draft Legislative Rezone documents issued on April 21 (find these docs at RNA website:  http://rooseveltseattle.org/LandUseLegislativeRezone.aspx) I’m pressing DPD for these details; they should be available soon if the process is to keep on schedule.  I am expecting that we *will* see
recommendations over 40 ft. on the high school blocks, and this will mean that we have more work to do.  Actually, whatever the Mayor ultimately sends to Council, we have our work cut out for us with those nine elected officials.  They can, and may very likely rework the proposal from the Mayor and DPD; that is their prerogative, and their history.

Moreover, the Council is getting political pressure from the same folks that were leaning on the Mayor; the ardent environmentalists, the transit enthusiasts and the Roosevelt Development Group, in addition to all of us.  These politicians are trying to find a careful balance in an election year; that means they’ll be looking for some kind of compromise before this is all done.  That’s worth thinking about.  Once the Legislative Rezone package gets to City Council, there must be our primary focus.

What’s Next

As outlined above, DPD will be working to complete the Legislative Rezone and send it to Council’s “Central Staff” for careful evaluation.  This should happen before July 1.  At about the same time City Councilmember Sally Clark’s land use committee (the Committee on the Built Environment, or “COBE”) will schedule an initial discussion at a COBE meeting, potentially on Wednesday, July 13.  COBE meetings are held at City Hall in Council Chambers; they typically start at 9:30 AM and are open to the public with a public comment period.  If things are still on track, a dedicated public hearing will be held by COBE, hopefully here in the neighborhood; Roosevelt High School has offered to host.  The timing for that is highly uncertain at this moment but will probably be during the last half of July or the first half of August.  This public hearing will be the key event in the entire Legislative Rezone process; we’ll want to have a large turnout that evening.

What You Can Do

Watch for additional “Land Use Updates” like this one.  Things can change and new information becomes available.  Consider writing back to the Mayor if you feel moved to do so; a message like “Mr. Mayor, thank you for advancing the Legislative Rezone but please understand that we feel strongly that certain parts of the neighborhood are appropriate for greater heights, and that others are not, no matter how close they’ll be to the station.”  It can’t hurt to contact City Councilmembers at any time, but save most of your energy for a little later when this issue comes into sharper focus for Council.  Above all, plan if you can to attend the COBE public hearing in the neighborhood when that date is announced.

There will be a meeting of the RNA Land Use Committee on Tuesday, June 21 at 7:00 PM at Calvary Christian Assembly, where we’ll discuss some of these matters further.  Perhaps I’ll see you there.

Jim O’Halloran
Chair, Land Use Committee
Roosevelt Neighborhood Association
jim@ohalloran.cc

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