Growing Concerns About Development Prompt Seattle Zoning Changes | KNKX

Growing Concerns About Development Prompt Seattle Zoning Changes

Jul 6, 2015

Seattle is in the middle of a development boom that many people argue is proceeding without enough limits set by the city. The city council has now voted to tighten some zoning regulations but one councilman says they don’t go far enough. 

Some parts of Seattle are zoned for low-rise multi-family development that allows for three- to four-story buildings. But Ballard residents, for example have complained that when the city council updated the code five years ago, they made it possible for developers to build things that are out of proportion with the rest of the neighborhood.

"Some provisions of the new code allowed developers to construct buildings 10 to 15 feet higher than intended, and the result is that today there are buildings that tower over their neighbors and more townhomes are crowded onto lots than had been intended," said Seattle City Councilman Tom Rasmussen.

Rasmussen was the lone vote against the zoning changes that the council just passed. He says even with the updates, developers will be able to demolish older buildings to put up more expensive ones, squeezing out affordable housing.

Councilman Mike O'Brien, who sponsored the legislation, defends the code changes. He says they will result in development that’s more in line with existing homes nearby.