City Council member Tim Burgess, who's running against Mayor Mike McGinn, has expressed skepticism about McGinn's proposal to allow developer Vulcan Inc. to build taller, denser buildings in South Lake Union in exchange for providing amenities such as affordable housing, child care, and open space.
Burgess has questioned whether the benefits to the public are worth the concessions to Vulcan, and has, along with five other city council members, requested bids from consultants to study the South Lake Union upzone proposal. Once selected, the consultant will look at ways the city might increase affordable housing in the neighborhood, as well as how to best implement the development of "Block 59," a block of land Vulcan plans to give the city for affordable housing in exchange for increased density elsewhere.
Although Burgess did not respond to numerous requests for comment about what his specific concerns were, he did send PubliCola a statement about yesterday.
It reads, in part:
One of our primary roles is to thoroughly review proposals that will have a major impact on the future of our city. For example, the Council took the Mayor's proposal to build a sports arena in SODO and made it a better investment for the public by protecting taxpayers, protecting jobs, and obtaining new funds to solve transportation problems that impact our economy and quality of life. We will do the same with the SLU proposals.
It's my understanding that the Council will complete our work on the SLU rezone by the end of the first quarter of 2013.
I am a strong and consistent supporter of concentrated density in our Urban Villages and Centers and along major transportation corridors. Overall, I find the SLU proposal well done, but we have a lot of details to sort through before we make final decisions.