Roosevelt, Seattle

The Roosevelt Neighborhood Association

RNA Land Use Academy, Introduction from Jim O’Halloran

I’m not exactly surprised that Roosevelt’s fate as a future light rail transit station has focused city-wide attention on the neighborhood. What has surprised me is the intensity of the advocacy by different groups. Two examples make the point:

For the Roosevelt Reservoir site which might be made surplus by the City, elaborate plans are circulating for an ice-rink anchored sports complex. On property which might be seized from landlord Hugh Sisley, there’s a passionate debate about whether to provide a park or affordable housing. All of these ideas are interesting, but they’re coming at the neighborhood like a freight train.

Here in Roosevelt we’ve made a name for ourselves by proactively planning our future. We did our own lobbying with Sound Transit in 2004-2005, to get the light rail station on 12th Avenue instead of on 8th along the freeway. We asked for transit and the associated increases in development to be placed in the heart of our community. We were the first Seattle community to initiate an update of our Neighborhood Plan, and we submitted detailed zoning recommendations to the City. We haven’t always achieved our specific objectives, but we have clearly influenced local land use and transportation policy, because we have been organized and coherent in expressing community sentiment.

The RNA Land Use Academy is the new land use initiative of the Roosevelt Neighborhood Association. It is a community-originated, community-driven endeavor to develop and to project neighborhood interests as critical long-term policy decisions are made. We created a collegiate-looking logo to emphasize that we are all learning alongside each other. We are collaborators and want to celebrate what is wonderful about Transit Oriented Development. We’re going to learn about land use issues and apply good thinking to specific neighborhood development sites. In addition to the Reservoir and Sisley topics, disposition of properties surrounding the future light rail station warrant careful consideration.

For each of these three critical issues and possibly more, the Roosevelt Neighborhood Association would like for the community to determine some level of consensus around values and priorities, which will be documented and approved by the RNA Board. Each report will include open, public meetings and survey results to provide greater insight into community sentiment. In this way the neighborhood can have the greatest impact on its own future.

There is encouragement and support for the RNA Land Use Academy at City Hall. Downtown decision makers want to know what the neighborhood is thinking. To optimize and maximize our legitimate influence, we have to organize.

Mark your calendars for the inaugural RNA Land Use Academy event, to be held at the Bull Moose Festival on Saturday, July 25 at 10:00 AM (and feel free to attend the festival before or afterwards). If you can’t attend you’ll find a video on the RNA website. Find more information and register to attend at: http://rooseveltseattle.org/committees/landuse/lua/

[Jim O’Halloran]

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