Two factions in the debate over proposed upzones around the Othello and Beacon Hill light rails stations have written dueling editorials for the Beacon Hill Blog. (As we reported Friday, neighborhood residents have filed identical appeals of the proposed zoning changes, arguing that the environment, "families, neighbors, businesses, students and school families, customers, commuters, visitors, [and] recreation users" will be harmed if the upzones go forward).

In her piece, appellant Frederica Merrell declined to lay out her strategy, arguing that "one important strategy for winning the game is not showing your hand."

However, in her appeal, Merrell argued that the city's Department of Planning and Development failed to consider the harmful impacts of increased density (density that, for the record, is intended to make it easier for residents to get around without cars) on the environment, as well as ""families, neighbors, businesses, students and school families, customers, commuters, visitors, [and] recreation users." The appeal argues that the city has failed to consider the need for new infrastructure, services, and utilities to serve new residents, and that it shouldn't move forward with increasing density until it provides that infrastructure .

In a response to Merrill's appeal, Beacon Hill Blog columnist Melissa Jonas noted that lengthy appeals like Merrill's "[cost] City of Seattle taxpayers money and [take] staff time away from other DPD business while holding up developments that are already in the pipeline. For example, Jonas wrote, El Centro de la Raza has lost time and money waiting to hear whether they'll be allowed to move forward with plans to develop their property on Beacon Hill because of the appeal. "They cannot begin to move forward on developing their site until there is some indication that zoning issues will be resolved."

Jonas argues that the issues around the Beacon Hill and Othello sites are zoning matters that have already been resolved, and that any other issues Merrill and others are bringing up now are "red herrings" to thwart development.

Read Merrill's piece here, and Jonas' piece here.
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