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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Development Around Roosevelt

Below is information that is being sent out to RHS parents about upcoming development around RHS. Please pass it along if you know any high/school middle school parents who might want to know about it.

I live in this neighborhood and I can tell you a few things about this issue. One, the amount of disrespect to our neighborhood by this land owner has been incredible. If you have ever been to Roosevelt, then you have seen the blight. To think that they could get a variance on the zoning heights (from 4 stories to 16) seems hard to believe. Two, this would have a huge impact on RHS. A 16-story building would dwarf our building, the parking issue would be huge and, of course, there is the assignment plan.

There would be hundreds of apartments in the several developments planned. And, there likely would be families with teens. With that many teens living across or near RHS, it would probably narrow the boundaries and possibly shut out neighborhoods that have long sent students to RHS (like Laurelhurst and View Ridge).

This is NOT Nimbyism. All my neighbors know a light rail station is coming (heck, we welcome it) and that density is part of that. But to go way off the stated zoning for an area deemed an "urban village" (as opposed to say, Northgate) is wrong.

Here's the information sent to parents:

Parents, Staff and Students,

As you know, we have several areas around RHS that are blighted. One such area is now up for public comment on a proposed development. That area is:
6501 15th Avenue NE (properties bounded by 12th Avenue NE, 16th Avenue NE, NE 64th St. and Ne 68th Street), directly to the south of the front of RHS as well as to the east and west.

Currently, that area is zoned NC2-30 (about 4 stories) and the developer wants to be able to go as high at NC3-160 (16 stories).

The Roosevelt neighborhood will have a light rail station around where the QFC stands now by about 2016. This will bring density to our neighborhood. This development is likely to be condos and/or apartments. What is of importance to RHS is the effect on the assignment plan for who goes to RHS. These new apartments and condos will likely make the district assignment boundaries of who goes to RHS smaller. Meaning, if you live very far beyond Roosevelt/Ravenna/Green Lake, it may be harder for you to get into RHS in the future. The taller the buildings, the more people in them.

Also, RHS will see considerable shadowing by any building higher than 4-6 stories. The higher the development, the more it will fill the footprint of the area and dwarf our building.

What can you do? The City Department of Planning and Development is now taking public written comments on this project. The PTSA asks you to please consider writing to the City. Here are some concerns about impacts to the environment you can mention:

Height/shadowing
Parking/traffic (if the City does not set-aside on-street parking for Roosevelt, there could be major traffic issues for our school)
Aesthetics (Bulk/scale in proportion to buildings around it )


The written comment period is May 18th to June 9th, 2009. You can write to:

Department of Planning and Development
Attn: Shelley Bolser, Senior Land Use Planner
700 5th Avenue, Suite 2000
POBox 34019
Seattle, WA 98124-4019
Re: project 3010100
Or e-mail:
shelley.bolser@seattle.gov (reference: Project 3010100)

Also there will be a Public Hearing on this development on Tuesday, June 9th from 6-8 pm at Calgary Church (6801 Roosevelt Way NE). It is vital to fill the room for this meeting. Please consider coming to show your support for RHS.

12 comments:

ParentofThree said...

I think there will need to be compromise, maybe 8 stories not 16. In any case it will be an improvement over what is already there.

In terms of added strain to RHS, makes the case to reopen Lincoln.

seattle citizen said...

or to reopen John Marshall, which was for a time a satellite campus for Roosevelt. They put the 9th grade there, and students would walk up to the main campus for electives, etc.

Lincoln is not technically closed: It's an interim site, in almost constant use by schools whose buildings are being remodelled. Maybe if (and when) we finish this current round of ill-timed rebuilds, Lincoln can be freed up for an actual school, but in the meantime they need SOMEWHERE to place schools during remodel.

TechyMom said...

Will the development be done by the Cicily brothers, who allowed the blight? Or has the land been sold? I ask, because I lived in one of those houses when I was a student at UW, and I wouldn't trust those guys to build a dog house. However, if the land has been sold to someone who might actually develop it, that might be a good thing for the neighborhood.

Central Mom said...

Here's a link to a long article from the P-I on the topic. The comment string following is interesting, too.

http://www.seattlepi.com/local/406330_sisley18.html

Melissa Westbrook said...

Okay, one "an improvement over what is there" is not good enough. Have you seen what passes for "housing" for this guy? I wouldn't trust this guy as far as I could throw him to do right by any development.

Seattle Citizen, it's a curious thing. The company that was hired to help guide the CAC during the previous closure period said they had never seen a district with so many unused buildings. They also said it is NOT the norm to move out an entire school to renovate. Most district do what they are doing at Hale. Why we do it this way - with a lot of disruption - seems to be a mystery.

Techy Mom, no, Sisley has sold the air rights, not the land. He controls the entire process and has to sign off on the design. So we are dealing with the same people.

zb said...

I think the argument opposing the structure on the grounds that it would shrink the Roosevelt assignment area isn't very effective. Building housing near a good school seems like a good deal for the teens who live nearby (especially in combination with the development of an "urban neighborhood" near light rail).

But, a 16 story structure on Roosevelt? that seems odd, both esthetically and economically. Does someone actually have money to build a 16 story apartment building there? and if they did, why would they? Given the comments on the developers here, I suggest that someone is up to something else, using the 16 story building as a red herring.

Central Mom said...

And here's a 2nd article w/ associated comments. http://slog.thestranger.com/slog/archives/2009/05/19/the-roosevelt-plan

Read on (or go Google Hugh and Drake Sisley)and put on your community activist hats if you want a say in the matter. The Sisleys and their (now-gone) illegal-gun-dealing white supremicist associate Keith Gilbert have been running circles around the city's planning department for more than a decade through the creative and judicious use of legal tactics.

seattle citizen said...

Yes, if I recall the ________'s history in Roosevelt, it has been a non-stop...
hmmm, what are the libel laws on saveourschools?

I understand that there have been instances...many, many instances. There have been episodes. Whole series. There've been codes, and some might say (somewhere) that codes...somewhere...were barely met (if they even were) at the last minute, after years of patty-cake with code-enforcement. I can't remember where this happened, but it CERTAINLY wasn't in the Roosevelt neighborhood.
I heard once that somewhere in this fine nation there was a stockpile of heavy weaponry located in a nieghborhood...somewhere...

I think the 16 story play is a bargaining point. There will be a mutually negotiated compromise at eight stories, with much celebration. Eight stories is over eighty feet.

While it's slightly downhill from Roosevelt's front (south) entrance, it seems like the roof of an eight-story building across 66th would be as high as Roosevelt, if not higher. It would certainly block all view, if not the sun itself.

I don't know what the zoning is there. If I were the city, I'd be looking for density in Roosevelt by staggering heights (rather than walls similar heights (and work with developers to make some parts of a building higher, some lower, so it doesn't seal off the nieghborhood feel. The problem with zoning is it streatches for entire blocks, so you lose the variety.

I'd think four stories, with some threes and fives thrown in, would be fine for this neighborhood, the go a bit higher further south.

But then we get to the quality of construction issue...there's some mighty ugly condos going in hereabouts...I forget the website, but check out "ugly condos seattle" or something on google....way to ruin a neighborhood. Be afraid, mobilize, and godspeed.

Melissa Westbrook said...

I attended a Roosevelt Neighborhood Association meeting last night. There were about 60 people. I came away with the idea that the 16 stories was a scare tactic so they could get 12/10/8 stories. The RNA is going organized and the neighborhood plans a pretty good fight.

One long-time resident agreed that my argument about students who might live in these apartments is wrong. He said families don't live in 1-2 bedroom apartments. That is probably true and, as my husband says, those apartment buildings would likely become a de facto dorm for UW students.

hschinske said...

"He said families don't live in 1-2 bedroom apartments."

Yeah, well, not most of the families who can afford to buy houses in Roosevelt. Working-class families do indeed often live in 1-2 bedroom apartments. There are tons of kids in the apartment houses near me, judging by the all the trikes on balconies and the like. Moreover, if the density arguments mean *anything*, yeah, families have to live there too. Metropolitan Seattle may have a lot of no-kid households, but there isn't an infinite supply of them.

Heck, Obama grew up in a two-bedroom apartment in a high-rise in Hawaii (and his grandparents were in a one-bedroom at first, until they could get a two-bedroom).

Helen Schinske

seattle citizen said...

Not to judge college students too harshly, Melissa, but imagine a bunch of dorms, music blaring just south of school when the lunch bell rings and students pour out of the building...
Talk about your attractive nuisances.

TechyMom said...

In dense cities, lots of families live in 2 bedroom apartments. 1-2 adults and 1-2 kids fit just fine. In places like San Francisco, New York, Chicago, Paris, London, Madrid, etc. etc. most families, even affluent ones, live in apartments. Seattle wants to be a dense, walkable, transit-oriented city, and families in apartments are part of that. I suspect that a nice, new 2br apartment across the street from a good high school would be very attractive to a lot of families. Remember that it's fairly easy for renters to move.

However, I seriously doubt that the Sisily brothers would build something nice, or that anyone who had other options would want them as a landlord.