Thursday, May 6, 2010

Lowrise Zone Code Amendments

Lowrise Zone Code Amendments ORD v8.docx April 21, 2010 Version

The City is proposing, with an extremely short timeline and very little public outreach, an “update” to the current Lowrise Zone Code which appears to have many deficiencies and errors which will have adverse effects on Seattle’s Lowrise zones, and these adverse effects will then inevitably spill over into Single-Family Zones.

The current comment period ends at midnight today, May 6, 2010, but may be extended for ten working days as a result of citizen comments, Regardless of the ultimate deadline it is important that the City receive many comments, as the prevailing attitude is that lack of comments equals lack of problems with the legislation.

To be safe, it would be wise to submit your comments today.

Bear in mind that your comments will not be considered if you neglect to include the name of the legislation in the Subject line &/or neglect to include your name and address.

I urge you all to submit comments today. Even though you haven’t had time to carefully consider some of the points that I’ve commented on, some of them are certain to be obvious to you, so you can just copy these into your comments. You may even find some undesirable aspects of this legislation that my comments overlook. The important thing is to submit a comment ASAP.

The proposed legislation is found on the City’s website at

Here is a copy of the comment letter that I sent to John today:

Re: DRAFT for Public Review Lowrise Zone Code Amendments ORD v8.docx April 21, 2010 Version

Dear Mr. Shaw,

1. The DNS should be withdrawn and an EIS prepared ASAP.

2. The public comment period must be extended so citizens can confirm claims of no significant adverse environmental impacts.

3. The list and location of reports used in making the determination is missing, such as the city's complete developable housing capacity, etc..

4. Higher costs of housing will displace existing more affordable units. Dispersion of the population outside the city will entail more adverse environmental impacts from commuting.

5. Making yards optional will reduce usable permeable open space, i.e. natural infiltration of stormwater. This is the least expensive and surest way of reversing the degradation of Puget Sound, a matter the state now requires urban areas to address.

6. If urban villages and centers are to be more impervious, than all the areas outside them will have to make up the difference in water infiltration.

7. It is environmentally unsound to be relegating trees to the street right-of-way because sites will be stripped bare, while assuming green roofs will suffice. Claims that Green roofs delay the release of stormwater are still unconfirmed, which is not a substitute for natural infiltration. Furthermore, high maintenance and invisible location makes them most likely to be abandoned by residents.

8. The definition of "frequent" transit service is not the industry standard for the level of high use assumed. Removing SEPA mitigation for unusual circumstances is equally misguided.

9. Meanwhile, the Council should stop the packing of townhouses by directing DPD to either enforce the access easement requirements, or provide the text for an emergency amendment so that it is enforced.

Rick Barrett

1711 N 122nd St

Seattle WA 98133

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