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”