The Battle (back) in Seattle

By Josh Feit February 6, 2009

Last week, we did some reporting on a bill in Olympia that would mandate "transit oriented development" around the 30 light rail stations in the queue for the region. 

In our first report, we said the fight over the bill—between urban greens and populists—was the latest battle in a war that defines the political divide in Seattle: 

The ongoing battle is between green urbanists who want density and mass transit, and economic populists who want to preserve Seattle’s working class neighborhoods. This fight has flared up in City Hall and on the ballot time and time again with high profile duels about the Viaduct, Sound Transit, the Monorail, and the Commons; and off the radar, at City Hall committee hearings about sports lights and night life rules, and in neighborhood council meetings about zoning and parking requirements.

This battle is now taking center stage in Olympia (between two groups whose names fit the stereotyped factions with near-comic genius ,Futurewise vs. The Seattle Displacement Coalition.)

Well, the battle is now coming right back to Seattle. City Council Member Sally Clark is organizing a forum on the bill for Wednesday, February 18 at the Langston Hughes Cultural Center Auditorium at 6pm. I've posted Clark's announcement below the jump.

Trains, Density & Change
Can rules about transit-oriented communities build great neighborhoods?
A Workshop on HB 1490

While Seattle neighborhoods step into updating neighborhood plans, legislators in Olympia are considering House Bill (HB) 1490. One element that has garnered attention is a proposed requirement that zoning allow for a minimum average of 50 homes per acre in the half-mile circle around light rail station areas (present and future).

Smartly planned, dense communities can be good things. So, what does 50 units per acre look like? What's the current zoning in some of these areas? How does this legislation relate to the current neighborhood planning update efforts in regard to change, affordability, walkability, and safety?

Councilmember Clark will moderate a panel with proponents of the legislation, critics, and representatives of Seattle's Urban Land Institute to explain basic planning and density principles. Come find out about this legislation and how it might affect your community. There will be plenty of time for questions.

Trains, Density & Change
A Workshop on HB 1490
Wednesday, February 18
6 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Langston Hughes Cultural Center Auditorium
(104 17th Ave. S., Seattle, WA 98144)
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