Letter to the Editor: Complaints about "radical rezone" seem like NIMBYism

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

To the Editor:

In all the complaints about the “radical rezone” (like Janet Way’s, 10/4), I have yet to hear where exactly the complainers would prefer more density to occur, and why they think it would be better for the light rail line to dump its passengers out in a single-family home area. The only other rational areas of redevelopment with greater density are along Aurora and in North City, a mile or more from the future stations, totally impractical for the goal of having dense development close to mass transit. The worry over “piecemeal development” also seems misplaced. The only alternative would be systematic condemnation of properties in an expanding circle around the stations, which would probably be legally impossible because the ultimate use of the properties will be private rather than public.

Way complains that present homeowners will be “forced” to move to houses farther away. But if the redevelopment doesn’t happen, future area residents will themselves be forced to move farther away, magnifying the sprawl she says she wants to avoid.

Do these people actually oppose all redevelopment with greater density? Are they against the stations, or against light rail altogether? Do they refuse to recognize that they live in a growing urban area with limited land for homes and transportation? Where exactly do they expect future residents to live?

I’d like to see Janet Way’s own urban plan for the next 50 years, if she has one. I doubt it. This seems like a clear-cut case of NIMBYism.

Chris Nielsen
Shoreline




10 comments:

Michael October 5, 2016 at 3:11 AM  

Sooo me being a beneficiary of the MUR70 zoning I still haven't lost perspective of what other people in the area have to give up by the radical rezone. I didn't read any statement by Janet Way but the truth is people that don't want to move, for various logistical reasons including age and current opportunities, are probably wondering why they have to suffer because an irresponsible society breeds like rabbits and imports way more population than the area should support in a healthy way. Stacking up people like sardines is straight out of a nightmare in my view but so is sprawl.
Lucky for me I am going to make a buttload of money someday but other people are not. So I think empathy and compromise is a better approach than generalizing about why people feel the way they do.

Anonymous,  October 5, 2016 at 3:59 AM  

Oh my sweet summer child, don't you realize that the rezones do actually reach "a mile or so" beyond the stations? We really should go full regressive left and demand that the entire city be upzoned, don't you think? We are a first degree suburb and it should be incumbent upon us to upzone everything within city limits. Everyone is within walking distance of a bus stop, rapid ride along aurora, aurora transit center, and the future light rail stations... and add rail stops at Richmond Beach on existing rail lines...it's a waste not to. Shoreline needs to wake up, stop being so greedy with their gated communities, covenanted communities, and awful, space-taking affordable single family homes and make way for the future. Down with zoning limits in Shoreline! Zoning laws are historically and systematically racist and xenophobic and they... must... go!

Anonymous,  October 5, 2016 at 9:43 AM  

Dear Chris Nielsen?
Which Shoreline neighborhood do you live in?
Was your neighborhood rezoned?
What type of housing do you live in?
It seems everyone crying NIMBYism, and the minute public comment in favor of the rezones were from out-of-towners or out-of-rezone-area homeowners.
So please, enlighten us to how you personally are or are not affected by this rezone...
Sarah Lopez, North City

Dave Lange, Ridgecrest,  October 5, 2016 at 10:12 AM  

Chris Nielsen, Here is my 30 year expectation of current city plans, we get very little businesses that will reduce car trips in the rezones. Every zoning level allows a residential only choice even in the Mixed Use Residential areas. Some of the most active sellers are those across the street from the stations, where would you want some major retail? We are going to end up with too much residential only in the walkshed of the station. In future generations we will have to tear down those early units in order to create the walkable community Shoreline wants. As a city we hate removing existing multifamily so the problem will fester for a long time.

How big a problem is this? The traffic numbers from the rezone studies are based on communities with full business and office participation. From a resident perspective I'll walk about a quarter mile to shop at a grocery store, along the way I need the coffee shops, fixit places and things like lawyers, life insurance and accountants. It will take way after the station opens to get that much business into 2 station areas. You can bus to Shoreline Place or North City sooner. But most people won't pay for a bus if they can drive. The two rezone areas will have enough density to generate 90,000 trips a day (5 per day for the average household). About 5 percent of those trips are commuter trips on light rail. Those running errands by light rail will not be a high percentage. The rezone studies show that transit is 10% of the trips and errands will be 75% of the trips. In Shoreline those are by car for a long time to come. If you study Transit Oriented Design you'll see that business and offices are a key component. Density is not a magical dust to convince you to use transit. The studies say we have a 20 minute wait for traffic signals at 15th and 5th on 145th at peak hour. Similar waits at 155th and 15th.

The solution is to put density around our existing business centers like Shoreline Place and Town Center on Aurora with buses, Shoreline Center will be a large enough single development to create a working community, if the School District lets it and there are plans for buses. On 15th we have North city and an area around 145th again with buses. We have an old business center at 165th and 5th. The Council threw a chunk of density on the corridor up to 165th the other night with no business study whether that was enough or too little. Currently Metro has no plans to support the library and Crest Theater with a bus from the station. From my perspective I want density where we have businesses and I want single family/lower density around the station so buses can get to the station and our seniors and limited mobility can get to the station more easily. We are going to have 48 buses an hour using the new station on 5th Avenue, how many cars can the fight and stay on time?

threeheadedtoad October 5, 2016 at 11:28 AM  

I have to say, this isnt NIMBY at all. Developement and change are inevitable. What most Shoreline residents I have spoken to want, is developement that takes neighborhoods and neighbors into consideration. Higher density does not equal better. Most people who move to Shoreline move here for the neighborhoods, yards, and not being "in the city". If you bring the city to our neighborhoods, the people who are the core of this city will leave. Either by being forced out to demolish their house, or because of the killing of the neighborhood by high density construction. We are already seeing developers clear cutting plots when they arent supposed to. They just get a fine, and continue on their way. We are seeing neighbors being forced out of their houses so a future light rail or transit station can be built. We are seeing more and more of the reasons we either came to Shoreline, or choose to stay in Shoreline. I for one, dont oppose growth completely. But, it has to be done the right way, and at the right time. I am not opposed to light rail, but again, right place, right time. The middle of established neighborhoods is NOT the place, and now is NOT the time. Do you really think people will move from a condo in Belltown, Seattle, the eastside, etc., just to live in an apartment or condo in Shoreline? I dont think so. People come here for the yards, houses, neighborhoods, parks, and schools. All that will change when this high density plan becomes real.

Anonymous,  October 5, 2016 at 3:44 PM  

Very well said. Thank god someone stood up to Ms Way's NIMBY mafia.

Its very easy to oppose something but extremely hard to propose a solution, especially one that works for everyone. Sign me up for initiatives that are for saving parks and streams; I will totally get behind those initiatives. However, Ms Way's goals seem to be more about blocking any change to her neighborhood and if she doesn't get her way, stalemate the rest of the city's economic development. Shoreline is no longer the sleepy suburb stuck in the past. And there is no reason why it can't be a thriving suburb with parks, businesses, employment and population.

I hope that there is more effort and organization from folks who want to make shoreline a great next generation city. I think the city council needs to make effort to reach people like us, so they don't only hear from Ms Way's do-nothing folks.

Dave Sanders

Anonymous,  October 5, 2016 at 6:07 PM  

Careful, Chris...they'll brand you as a plant from the Developers!
and I agree with you. I'm looking forward to growth in Shoreline

Denise Estes,  October 6, 2016 at 4:01 PM  

You're right. Shoreline is no longer a rural town. Because of all the transplants from other cities and states, those of us who were born here, grew up here and had hopes of retiring here some of us will no longer afford to continue live here. Just remember when a city grows too big too fast, it will also fail. Fast. I'm afraid this is just the beginning of the end of Shoreline, which I think is very sad to say the least.

Anonymous,  October 8, 2016 at 11:48 PM  

Where were all of you opponents of light rail and the development that would occur 7 years ago when 58% of the voters approved the project? Evidently you didn't have the foresight to realize that neighborhoods would transform. People need to get their heads out of the sand and realize that the Shoreline that was developed in the 1940s no longer serves the needs of today's society. As sad as it is, that's just the simple truth.

And no, I'm not a representative of the development community. I'm a 40-something event manager who grew up blocks from the 185th St station site and attended two of the neighborhood schools (North City and Shoreline -- go Spartans!) and has been priced out of Shoreline forcing me to add to the congestion that drives through the city each and every day.

Anonymous,  October 9, 2016 at 12:34 AM  

Sorry anon 11.48... the vote for ST2 was not for light rail AND (RE)DEVELOPMENT). It was for ...LIGHT RAIL... and only LIGHT RAIL. Sorry to hear you've been priced out of Shoreline... have you looked into the affordable rental units at Malmo, Polaris, and Echo Lake? There's plenty of vacancies. Plenty of condos for purchase, too. Or did you have hopes to buy an affordable single family home here for purchase or rent... because the rezone is REDUCING the supply of single family homes.

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