Today Mayor Mike McGinn sent officials with the Department of Planning Development back to the drawing board to reconsider zoning upgrades around the future site of the Roosevelt light rail station, after the DPD recommended the bare minimum of density development in April.

"The allowed height, bulk, and scale of development on the affected parcels is not expected to substantially increase over what is allowed by current zoning," DPD director Diane Sugimura wrote in her April director's report on the upgrades.

Specifically, the DPD's proposed rezone would only result in 348 new housing units and 215,209 square feet of commercial space from what is currently allowed in the predominantly single-family-zoned area. In other words, it's a far cry from the dense urban villages that the city has committed to developing around light rail stations. (More specifics here).

And McGinn says this bare minimum is not enough (while, conversely, also putting the kibosh on building high-density towers in Roosevelt). From the mayor's letter to Sugimura (.pdf):

...I believe that given the significant investment in light rail, and the potential for good neighborhood-scale development, the city needs to take a closer look at heights above 40 feet, such as 65 and 85 feet.

I look forward to DPD coming forward with new proposals to reflect this direction, and give the council a broader range of choices. The decisions we make now will be in place for a while. It is important to set the stage for good transit-oriented development.

The mayor's letter comes days after a group of transit-oriented progressives and Roosevelt neighbors sent a joint letter to the mayor and city council lobbying for increased density to the area.

Any zoning changes would have to be approved by the city council. I have requests in to the Roosevelt Neighborhood Association and DPD for comment.