1. Sightline's Alan Durning continues his series on so-called "accessory dwelling units," also known as mother-in-law apartments or backyard cottages. Today's post focuses on the fact—unlike cities in Canada—that Pacific Northwest cities in the US have failed to embrace ADUs; in Seattle, for example, the city has been permitting between 100 and 175 attached ADUs and about 50 backyard cottages a year.
A year’s worth of new ADUs, in other words, "add up to an apartment building or two — a paltry sum," Durning writes. That belies dire predictions that single-family neighborhoods would be "overrun" with backyard cottages; it's also bad news for density proponents, who see ADUs as an easy, unobtrusive way to increase the number of people able to live in cities.
2. In news that will shock exactly none of its readers, an unscientific Seattle Times reader poll finds that a large plurality (about 50 percent as of this post) believe the state legislature shouldn't increase King County's local control over its transit system by giving it new taxing authority to offset potential cuts to King County Metro service of 17 percent. Forty-seven percent agreed that King County should have more ability to tax itself for transit.
3. Politico has all the details on Sen. Patty Murray's (D-WA) budget proposal, which (unlike her house counterpart Paul Ryan, R-WI, whose budget Ezra Klein calls right-wing "social engineering with a side of deficit reduction") would raise federal revenues by about $1 trillion over the next decade while cutting spending by roughly that amount.
4. Looking pretty confident that his bid for the Sacramento Kings will prove successful, San Francisco hedge-fund manager and arena investor Chris Hansen has announced a wait list for Sonics tickets on his SonicsArena.com web site, the Puget Sound Business Journal reports. Sonics fans interested in getting on the list can sign up Thursday morning, starting at 10:00.
MAYBE A CRANK? OR JUST VERY ELABORATE AI. 5. You know what the great thing about the Space Needle is? It's visible from all over the center city. And if the spot where you're standing in South Lake Union or Capitol Hill, for example, doesn't happen to offer you a perfect view, you can just walk a block or two and enjoy the tower in all its 1962 Space-Age glory.
At Crosscut, Mossback Knute Berger disagrees, arguing that plans to increase density in Seattle's fastest-growing neighborhood, South Lake Union, should be scaled back dramatically so that people standing in Lake Union Park, about a mile away from the Space Needle, won't have their views obstructed.
The Seattle Times has a photo of what you can see of the Space Needle from that vantage point. The Space Needle is that little stick in the distance; Berger calls it a "beloved view" that will be ruined if towers are allowed in South Lake Union. (Hmmm, sounds an awful lot like the arguments people made against tearing down the Alaskan Way Viaduct.)
"It is ... important that this concern not be framed as anti-growth NIMBYism," Berger writes, noting that the Space Needle's developers also developed high-rise buildings in the '60s. Given that NIMBYism refers to people who don't want new developments "in my backyard," though, it's hard to see it as anything but.