Meeting Minutes from InspireSeattle Social on July 9, 2016

Growth in West Seattle

Hi everyone.  Below are some key points from our eight-member panel we co-sponsored with Sustainable West Seattle last weekend at the West Seattle Summer Fest.  The panel discussed the extensive growth happening in West Seattle, which is also occurring all around Puget Sound.
     - Dave Gamrath

Impact Fees – the absence of impact fees on Seattle development was a key topic of the conversation.  Impact Fees were a big "miss" for the City of Seattle when creating their development plans and zoning / permitting rules.  When a developer takes an existing commercial lot with little to no housing on it, and converts it to 100+ apartments or condos, THERES AN IMPACT!  Examples include the impact on the local schools (classroom size), the impact on the sizes and number of parks needed for the new tenants to recreate in, the impact to water, sewer, garbage collection, the impact to parking as well as the impact to overall quality of life.  These factors are what Impact Fees are meant to address.  Many surrounding cities who were experiencing growth at the same time as Seattle were able to successfully incorporate Impact Fees into their development plans. What happened to Seattle?  Since the late 80's it seems like Seattle has been "boom minded" and not smart growth minded.

Green spaces – In the city’s calculations of “green spaces”, West Seattle Golf Course and the area around the West Seattle Stadium are taken into account when calculating them.  Some would argue that commercial developments like a golf course aren’t in the true spirit of green spaces.

Calls to action – The 90 minute panel closed with the moderator Chas Redmond asking the panel for suggested calls to actions so that we all can get involved on these development issues.  Suggestions included:

  • The Seattle City Council and Seattle Mayor are the heavy hitters that weigh in on all the goals and budgets of the Department of Planning and Development and other planning/zoning departments. 
    - They are your points of contact and feedback when voicing your opinions
  • YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION IS A GREAT PLACE to find "power in numbers"; they are surprisingly influential.
  • All Engineers and Architects out there please consider volunteering with your community for planning purposes.
    - You'd be surprised how much impact donating 1% of your time can have.  We need experts!
  • GreenSpaces Coalition has a petition to save the tree on 39th.  All community members are encouraged to sign it now!
  • Two great things that people interested in getting involved can do are:  1)  Find and Visit 1 of your neighborhood association meetings!  And 2)  Find and Visit 1 Design Review Meeting; Thursday evenings 2x / month at the WS Senior Center


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