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Roosevelt Land Use Update

Roosevelt Land Use Update

It’s been a while since the last land use update. Here’s what’s going on…

The “legislative rezone”, as you will recall, is a broad set of rezoning proposals for the future light rail station area in Roosevelt.  The RNA submitted a detailed list of recommendations to the Department of Planning and Development in 2006, and finally, DPD is almost at the point of submitting the official plan to City Council.  But, there are some last minute issues which threaten to derail over five years of community effort. 

DPD’s plan is almost identical to what the neighborhood had recommended.  Essentially, we said that the community could absorb additional housing and commercial density up to 65 feet high primarily West of Roosevelt Way NE, along NE 65th Street toward the freeway.  In the area South of Roosevelt High School, we said that building heights should be limited to 40 feet in deference to the historically landmarked school and surrounding single family homes.  If we were willing to accommodate more density in the station area, we felt that it was reasonable for the community to have some say as to where the density would be located.  This approach and our specific recommendations have broad support in the Roosevelt and Ravenna communities.   The RNA proposal has been posted online since 2006 at https://rooseveltseattle.org/Documents/Neighborhood%20Plan%20Update%20-%20Zoning%20Workgroup%20Report%202006-07-12%20Formatted.pdf.

DPD has reviewed the RNA recommendations and published their formal proposal on April 21, 2011; you can find this online at https://rooseveltseattle.org/LandUseLegislativeRezone.aspxThen, something interesting happened.  A number of committed bloggers and organizations started complaining to DPD, Mayor McGinn and City Councilmembers that the rezone plan published by DPD was not enough.  In any light rail station area, they said, building heights should be much higher; 8 stories, 12 stories or more would be necessary all around the station to achieve population density sufficient to “support” the taxpayer’s investment in mass transit.   Never mind the Neighborhood Plan; Roosevelt’s NIMBYs have an obligation to take much more density than had been proposed.  You can read a letter to Mayor McGinn here http://www.thestranger.com/images/blogimages/2011/06/03/1307140786-roosevelt_letter_6.3.11_-_mcginn.pdf or scan the blogs at ttp://citytank.org/2011/05/17/rough-ride-roosevelt-rezone-creates-tod-opportunity/ or http://seattletransitblog.com/2011/06/06/petition-roosevelt-rezone/
But be careful; you may become angry reading these comments.

DPD is now trying to decide if the Roosevelt Legislative Rezone process should be “paused” so that a new rezoning process could be initiated, as the density advocates have requested.  This step would be a grave insult to the Roosevelt community, and the countless hours of good-faith volunteer effort to plan responsibly for smart growth.  We need to weigh in now, in numbers and with passion, to ensure that the Roosevelt Legislative Rezone process is continued and concluded.  Here is how to do that for maximum effect…

Send an e-mail to Mayor McGinn and Diane Sugimura at DPD.
They have a meeting scheduled for Thursday, June 16, so please do this in the next couple of days.  Send copies to City Councilmembers (all e-mail addresses are listed below for your convenience).  Here are some points you might consider making in your e-mails:

  • The Roosevelt and Ravenna neighborhoods are excited about light rail and our future as a vibrant urban village
  • We have been planning for years, the best ways to integrate transit into our community, to accommodate reasonable growth while retaining things that are important to us
  • The RNA has developed, with considerable effort, detailed upzoning recommendations which are reflected in the DPD Legislative Rezone proposal for City Council
  • Please do not dismiss the proactive, good-faith efforts of the community
  • Please ensure that the Legislative Rezone process is not derailed, but rather expedited so that Roosevelt can become a model “transit oriented community”

Even a very short e-mail will be helpful.

Frankly, it’s the numbers which count so I’d like to have everyone send a message.  I know that it will make a difference and you can feel good about making a contribution on behalf of your  neighborhood.  If a hundred e-mails hit in the next couple of days, we will win this round.  Feel free to copy me on your e-mail if you like, at jim@ohalloran.cc

Here are the e-mail addresses you will need to send your correspondence:

I won’t go into detail now about the status of the RDG contract rezone which proposes a 12 story building on the fruit stand block in front of Roosevelt High School.  But please know this, that the community’s position of resistance to this project is best served through completion of the Legislative Rezone, as outlined above.  More info to come.  Land Use Committee meeting on Tuesday, June 21 at 7:00 PM at Calvary Christian Assembly.

Thank you for your support!

Jim O’Halloran
Chair, Land Use Committee
Roosevelt Neighborhood Association


  1. Pingback: Transit Oriented Development in Roosevelt | Roosevelt-Ravenna Zoning Issues

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