Nerd Alert: 90 Minute aPodment Debate Online

Must-See TV for planning nerds.

By Josh Feit May 30, 2013

Seattle Channel has posted video of Tuesday night's PubliCola ThinkTank: Our in-depth discussion of microhousing and aPodments.

Starring: City Council member Tom Rasmussen; Seattle Department of Planning and Development Director Diane Sugimura; aPodment advocate and developer flack with Smart Growth Seattle, Roger Valdez; and aPodment critic, Judkins Park activist, and City Neighborhood Council member Bill Bradburd—the 90-minute discussion and debate is well worth watching.

My urbanist colleague was wowed by Valdez—and Valdez was damn convincing, pointing out that Bradburd's complaints were ephemeral rather than actually code-based. But even though I agree with Valdez's overall point—aPodments fill an important market need—I told Barnett I thought Bradburd was compelling as well.

And I think this tape proves it.

Both Bradburd and Rasmussen pushed back, forcing Valdez to justify his sweeping assertion that council should simply let aPodment development move forward without oversight.

I also thought it was noteworthy that Valdez, when asked which mayoral candidate was best on the issue, named Mayor Mike McGinn.

While McGinn supports aPodments—as DPD Director Sigumura noted during the discussion—McGinn also wants answers (as Rasmussen pointed out) to all the same questions Rasmussen outlined in a recent council memo.

One point Valdez did school Bradburd on was the red herring neighbors bring up (the audience was heckling the panel about it on Tuesday) about aPodments' supposed horrible impact on neighborhood parking.

I wrote about that neighborhood misconception yesterday.

If you weren't able to make it to our aPodment ThinkTank (and you're an absolute planning nerd) this is some Must-See TV.

Mark your calendars, by the way: The next ThinkTank Tuesday—on the SPD—is on June 25th.


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