Like the Roosevelt Neighborhood Rezone Plan? Let the Mayor know TODAY.

Tomorrow (Thursday) morning, the director of the city’s Department of Planning and Development, Diane Sugimura, is meeting with Mayor Mike McGinn about the future of the Roosevelt Neighborhood Rezone Plan.

If you have an opinion about the Roosevelt Neighborhood Rezone Plan, and whether or not the Department of Planning and Development should let it move ahead, PLEASE let Mayor McGinn ( and DPD Director Sugimura ( know. TODAY.


From the Roosevelt Neighborhood Association’s Land Use Committee Chair, Jim O’Halloran (via email, today):

Not to be too dramatic, but this is an important moment for the neighborhood. I expect that tomorrow, on Thursday, that Mayor McGinn and DPD Director Diane Sugimura will decide whether to continue the Legislative Rezone process on which we’ve worked so hard, or to shelve it in favor of some other process driven by interests from outside the community. We want for DPD to complete their work on the Legislative Rezone package, for the Mayor to sign off, and for the whole thing to be sent to City Council without further delay. Councilmembers Clark and Burgess, at least, are ready to receive it and to do their work in committee to address our critical land use issues.

Some background on the Roosevelt Neighborhood Plan and the recent online conversations, also from O’Halloran (via email on Sunday):

The “legislative rezone”, as you will recall, is a broad set of rezoning proposals for the future light rail station area in Roosevelt. The RNA submitted a detailed list of recommendations to the Department of Planning and Development in 2006, and finally, DPD is almost at the point of submitting the official plan to City Council. But, there are some last minute issues which threaten to derail over five years of community effort.

DPD’s plan is almost identical to what the neighborhood had recommended. Essentially, we said that the community could absorb additional housing and commercial density up to 65 feet high primarily West of Roosevelt Way NE, along NE 65th Street toward the freeway. In the area South of Roosevelt High School, we said that building heights should be limited to 40 feet in deference to the historically landmarked school and surrounding single family homes. If we were willing to accommodate more density in the station area, we felt that it was reasonable for the community to have some say as to where the density would be located. This approach and our specific recommendations have broad support in the Roosevelt and Ravenna communities. The RNA proposal has been posted online since 2006 [here].

DPD has reviewed the RNA recommendations and published their formal proposal on April 21, 2011; you can find this online at Then, something interesting happened. A number of committed bloggers and organizations started complaining to DPD, Mayor McGinn and City Councilmembers that the rezone plan published by DPD was not enough. In any light rail station area, they said, building heights should be much higher; 8 stories, 12 stories or more would be necessary all around the station to achieve population density sufficient to “support” the taxpayer’s investment in mass transit. Never mind the Neighborhood Plan; Roosevelt’s NIMBYs have an obligation to take much more density than had been proposed.

DPD is now trying to decide if the Roosevelt Legislative Rezone process should be “paused” so that a new rezoning process could be initiated, as the density advocates have requested. This step would be a grave insult to the Roosevelt community, and the countless hours of good-faith volunteer effort to plan responsibly for smart growth. We need to weigh in now, in numbers and with passion, to ensure that the Roosevelt Legislative Rezone process is continued and concluded.

Further Reading

For folks who would like to catch up on the recent talk about the Roosevelt rezone, here are some links to recently written posts about this topic with a variety of opinions (most recent, first):

  • Seattle’s Land Use Code: “ ‘Then, something interesting happened.’ ”

  • Crosscut: “Local leaders blunder on three big issues”
  • Seattle Transit Blog: “Opinion: For Roosevelt, 85 Feet is Plenty”
  • Roosevelt-Ravenna Zoning Issues: “Transit Oriented Development in Roosevelt”
  • citytank: “The Roosevelt Rezone Dustup Simple Issue Uncovers Complex Questions”
  • SLOG: “Burgess Calls for More Density in Roosevelt; Roosevelt Residents Push Back”
  • SLOG: “Mayor Pushes for More Density Around Roosevelt Light Rail Station”

  • What to expect from the Roosevelt Land Use meeting on Monday

    I posted yesterday about a meeting next Monday, November 15th, to discuss changes in zoning in the Roosevelt neighborhood.

    Today, thanks to a reader’s comments yesterday, I would like to more specifically lay out the topics of discussion for this meeting.

    To give you the clearest idea of the purpose of Monday’s meeting, I offer this paragraph from the November issue of the “Roosie” (the Roosevelt Neighborhood Association’s  newsletter):

    The purpose of the November 15 meeting is to review the neighborhood’s zoning recommendations and [Department of Planning and Development]’s analysis. DPD’s preliminary position is quite similar to the RNA’s, but there are few areas which need further discussion. DPD wants input from the community as they prepare their final recommendation for the City Council.

    I strongly urge you to give this article (“November 15 Land Use Meeting will Help Shape Roosevelt’s Future”) a read prior to next Monday’s meeting. In it, the RNA’s Land Use Committee Chair, Jim O’Halloran, provides the background of the 2006 Roosevelt Neighborhood Update, and explains this zoning’s importance to the neighborhood (and, by extension, ours).

    If you would like a more detailed look at the subject of the meeting, view the Zoning Workgroup Report here.

    Again, the meeting is being held at Calvary Christian Assembly (6801 Roosevelt Way NE), Room 300, on Monday, November 15th, from 7-9 pm.

    Community meeting about rezoning Roosevelt, next Monday

    One of Sislely's properties (Photo courtesy of Glenn Roberts;

    Want to know just what exactly the Roosevelt Neighborhood Association’s plan would mean for our area’s future  — and the future zoning of the Sisley properties at NE 65th Street and 15th Avenue NE?

    The Roosevelt Neighborhood Association’s Land Use Committee is holding a general meeting for the community to learn about the RNA’s rezoning plan and the city’s Department of Planning and Development’s analysis of it.

    The meeting will be held at Calvary Christian Assembly (6801 Roosevelt Way NE), Room 300, on Monday, November 15th, from 7-9 pm.

    Your participation would be GREATLY appreciated for a few reasons:

    • This is THE meeting to attend if you would like to learn about the RNA’s neighborhood rezoning plans – It is a general community meeting designed to get us Regular Joes in the neighborhood up to speed on what we could be living next to in the future;
    • The City Council is expected to act on the RNA’s neighborhood rezoning plan in the first half of 2010, and a sizeable amount of community participation is crucial for making it happen;
    • If you (or your family, or your friends) have ever driven down NE 65th Street and wondered “What gonna be done with these boarded up shacks?!” THIS meeting should address those concerns.

    For more information about this meeting, contact

    Sisleyville EIS Scoping Comments Deadline Nears

    NOW is the time to send in your thoughts about the proposed rezoning of the properties around 15th Ave NE and NE 65th St, if you haven’t already.  The deadline for public comments about the Environmental Impact Survey for the Roosevelt Development Group’s proposed zoning changes is next Wednesday, September 1.

    If you feel well-informed on the issue, feel free to skip down to the “How should I send in my input?” part of this blog post and start there.

    For the rest of us (myself included), I’ve hunted down answers to some common questions about the scoping process AND what the content and form of our comments should be.

    What is the scoping process?

    I found the following description of the scoping process in the Enviromental Scoping Information Report (EIS) for the East Link Project (applies to our situation as well; emphasis mine):

    The purpose of scoping is to determine the range of alternatives and identify the potentially significant issues to be analyzed in depth in the EIS. The scoping process is also intended to eliminate detailed study of those issues that are not significant and those issues that have been addressed by prior studies. This scoping process includes public meetings at which anyone may have their oral comments recorded and/or provide written comments. Written comments are encouraged throughout the scoping period.

    In other words: Developers want to make big changes in your area. Here are their plans. What do you think?

    There have been two public meetings on the Roosevelt/Ravenna rezone issue where public comments were recorded (sort of; DPD tries to explain what happened here, Glenn Roberts gives his impression here). Now the comment collection window is closing. It’s time to let the city know what YOU think about these rezone plans!

    Why should I send in my input?

    Again: Developers want to make big changes in your area. Here are their plans. What do you think?

    It’s in OUR neighborhood where these proposed changes may take place, OUR backyards. It doesn’t matter whether you support the rezones or not: You should let your City know what you think, either way.

    What should my input look like?

    The Roosevelt Neighborhood Association has an excellent list of comment suggestions (MSWord doc) that will help you organize your thoughts in writing (no matter what side of the issue you’re on):

    • Briefly explain who you are and why you are interested in the project.
    • Comment only on issues relevant to the decision being made.
    • State informed opinions and, where possible, include data to support your opinion.
    • Keep focused on your objective.  You want DPD to hear your concerns and be compelled enough to investigate further.
    • Ask for studies that you think are important but have not been provided.
    • Ask to be added to the project mailing list and request a copy of the notice of decision. (You must give your mailing address, because notices are only sent through US Mail.)

    The DPD has already identified six key elements for discussion in the Environmental Impact Survey for the Sisley properties (DPD Notice of Determination of Significance):

    • Height, bulk and scale
    • Land use
    • Parking
    • Housing
    • Shadows on open spaces
    • Traffic and Transportation

    Now, the Roosevelt Development Group has outlined six different proposals for the EIS which were on display at the last scoping meeting on July 21st.  You may want to address specific plans in your comments (for instance, the plan that rezones the area for 160-foot-tall buildings). You can find a description of those alternatives here. Graphics of the six alternatives are also online (pdf, 5.6 MB file).

    If you want to be a Thorough Theodore, you may want to apply ALL SIX key elements (Height, bulk and scale; Land use; etc.) to ALL SIX of the RDG’s six proposals.  Yeah, that’s a lot of work, but that’s what happens when a developer throws six different proposals out all at once.

    If you like some direction on which of the six proposals you should spend your time on, Glenn Roberts (Roosevelt-Ravenna Zoning Issues) has the following to say (emphasis mine):

    I agree with almost every remark made [in the scoping meeting transcripts]. And strongly agree that only Options #1, 2, and 6 be studied in the EIS. #1 is no change, #2 is the Roosevelt Neighborhood Association rezoning plan, and #6 (because it is so patently ridiculous) the 160′ RDG proposal.

    How should I send in my input?

    • By email: You may send along your comments to Shelley Bolser ( at the Department of Planning and Development.
    • By fax: (206) 233-7902
    • By mail: Here is a Blank RDG EIS Scoping Comment Form (pdf) you can mail in, also to Shelley. This comment form includes the list of six key elements for discussion mentioned above.  The address is:

    City of Seattle
    Department of Planning and Development, Attn: Shelley Bolser
    700 5th Avenue, Suite 2000
    PO BOX 34019
    Seattle, WA 98124-4019

    However you choose to send your comments in, INCLUDE THE PROJECT NUMBER: 3010100.

    TO SUM UP:

    1. Print out this page. Read the top.
    2. Read about the proposed rezoning alternatives (all six).
    3. Look at these comment-making suggestions.
    4. Think.
    5. Write.
    6. Send it to the DPD by September 1.