News

Poor Planning

South Lake Union Splinter Group Has Rival Plan for Neighborhood

  • comments (9)
  • Print

Until last week, everything appeared to be going as planned for the South Lake Union Friends and Neighbors Community Council (SLUFAN), the group that submitted a neighborhood plan to the city in June that would increase density and allow towers as tall as 400 feet. But on August 28, a group of about 50 mostly white-haired residents who sternly objected to skyscrapers in their neighborhood held the first public meeting of a new rival group, Lake Union Opportunity Alliance (LUOA), which is drafting an alternative plan that would dramatically lower maximum building heights in the neighborhood.

"I would lose my view of the Space Needle, and I believe that is a very strong part of the culture here," Eastlake resident Brian Ramey said.

According to the city's comprehensive plan, South Lake Union needs to absorb 8,000 new households in the next 16 years.

Although SLUFAN's highest-density proposal would increase the population more than three times that amount, one of the group's four proposals, for moderate height increases, matches the wishes of the new group. So the emergence of this new rival organization isn't so much about the content of SLUFAN's density proposals, but about SLUFAN failing to incorporate neighborhood residents from the outset. Currently, of the 13 board members, only one is a neighborhood resident. Diane Masson, a South Lake Union resident, was kicked off the board after she opposed the 400-foot tower plan. The rest of the board consists of business interests, including South Lake Union developer Vulcan, PEMCO Insurance, Sellen Construction, and the Seattle Times.

SLUFAN president Steven Paget says he "would like to have greater residential representation on the board." He adds, "There was plenty of opportunity for residents to get involved in the process." The organization's bylaws, however, call for just one neighborhood representative.

Diane Sugimura, director of the city's Department of Planning and Development, responded to the new group at last week's meeting, telling them she would "see what we can do to work with the community." That could require the city to spend more money providing staff and materials to LUOA, as it did for SLUFAN, to help draft a fifth neighborhood plan. recommended

dominic@thestranger.com

 

Commenting was not available when this article was originally published.

Comments (9) RSS

Oldest First Unregistered On Registered On Add a comment
1
Bunch of old fogeys. "I'll lose my Space Needle view." Oh boo hoo. Kill yourself.
Posted by Dooker on September 5, 2008 at 11:47 AM · Report this
2
Ditto^^
Posted by drunkel on September 8, 2008 at 12:32 PM · Report this
3
But it's not fair nor correct for a neighborhood to be led by a board of strangers who live outside the neighborhood. A neighborhoood association should be represented by members of its community. It's pretty ridiculous that their bylaws allow only one residential representative. It's an obvious abuse of power by the board to retain its power.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I don't care that their changing the neighborhood of South Lake Union. But I do care about the process of how they are doing it. Proceeding without consent of the community is like raping a disadvantaged woman.
Posted by Saechoi on September 9, 2008 at 12:35 PM · Report this
4
There is nothing in the SLUFAN bylaws that limit residential representation to one board member.

This is a factual innacuracy.

There is one seat on the board mandated to be held by a member of the Cascadia Neighborhood Council as part of the inclusionary policies. THAT is part of the bylaws.

No one is excluded for being a resident.
Posted by Noel on September 9, 2008 at 8:28 PM · Report this
5
growth will happen in South Lake Union......for the wealthy.
Posted by shawn douglas on September 9, 2008 at 10:11 PM · Report this
6
just an FYI, for other neighborhood districts....

the I.D. has a 7 member board, 5 elected reps and 2 appointed by nickel's office.

that the board is made up only of commercial interests interested in the sole purpose of increasing FAR and building height, so they can increase revenue, is laughable. seriously, i wouldn't be surprised if diane was laughing her ass of right now.
Posted by moi on September 9, 2008 at 11:57 PM · Report this
7
There are educators represented, community-based nonprofits as well.

Yes, there needs to be outreach, which is being planned. There is already room for residents at the table via the SLUFAN structure.

But to uniformly cast the SLUFAN board as big business is really truly incorrect.

I might point out the Ms. Diane Masson represents a multi-state development company, and does not live in the neighborhood. That the agency responsible for the "Mirrabella" development on Denny is feeding this supposed controversy is fairly ironic.
Posted by Noel on September 10, 2008 at 8:28 AM · Report this
8
does the space needle really hold significance for people here?
Posted by toto on September 16, 2008 at 9:20 AM · Report this
9
It has nothing to do with the needle holding significance or whining about the loss of their view.
Bottom line, to allow developers to come in and plan/(changes to) your neighborhood where you and others of the community have resided for (possibly) decades is just plain tacky and is piss poor city planning/developing. The nay sayers say nay now, and poke at these residents, but wait until developers come to your neighborhood with a McDonalds or a Wal-Mart.
No one ever went to Paris to see a Wal-Mart. And people who have moved to that area did not do so to see the back of someones apt building.
Posted by elizabeth joslin on September 18, 2008 at 8:33 PM · Report this

Add a comment