Isn't it Weird That...
Three weird things about: Incentive zoning, the state senate, and campaign speeches.
1. Isn't it weird that ... we penalize (i.e., tax) developers for doing the right thing (i.e., building density)?
Former Cola columnist Dan Bertolet has posted a provocative piece on his CityTank blog asking just that:
It’s a given among most urban planning policy wonks that if a municipality enacts a zoning change that enables higher density and therefore higher value development, then the public has a RIGHT to appropriate some of that value.
Yet most of these same wonks also understand the critical role of urban density and are in favor of upzones to allow more of it. Do you notice the contradiction, reader?
Attaching an extra fee to density encumbers its production, an outcome completely at odds with the well-justified reasons for upzoning in the first place. The end result is we get less of what we want, and what we do get is more expensive.
2. Isn't it weird that ... After such a knockout election for Democrats nationally and (supposedly) locally, the senate in Washington state is essentially in GOP hands after yesterday's recount results came in from Vancouver's 17th Legislative District?
Republican state Sen. Don Benton warded off a tough challenge from Democratic state Rep. Tim Probst for the seat. Benton won by 74 votes, shrinking the Democrats' official majority to 26-23.
With two dissident Democrats—Sens. Tim Sheldon and Rodney Tom—in the Demcoratic caucus, the GOP may flip that to an effective 25-24 Republican advantage.
3. This one's more of an Is it Weird?
Is it weird that ... state Sen. Ed Murray (D-43, Seattle) emphasized the need to turn Seattle into a family friendly city at his big mayoral ("exploratory committee") announcement yesterday?
"Are we going to be a city of families?" he asked in a talk that continually came back to education.
The criticism that Seattle isn't friendly to anyone over 30—people who are now starting families and will soon need minivans to take their kids to soccer—is certainly being raised as a red flag about Seattle's status as a Richard Florida meme.
But it's also a conservative critique that makes for tricky campaign territory for a gay man without kids who lives on a dense stretch near Broadway on Capitol Hill.
If anything, it was interesting (Nixon-in-China?) ground to stake out.