How dare you look at things in context. This is America.
Thank you. Please write about urban development more, Dan. The tyranny of wealthy single-family home owners is stunting this city.
The Stranger puts articles out about how shitty it is that development is happening, at an alarming rate, in Seattle.Then there's these articles about how we need to accept it and we should stop whining. Are writers at the Stranger having these debates in the office or something?
What about the middle class families who deal with overcrowded schools and playfields? Do we need to move to the burbs to make way for temporary residents?
I'll see the what Savage said and raise: DTMFA. Why are you still married to this jerk, LW? All this drama with the two cars or the no cars or the townhouse is code for what this is *really* about. Your so, so *over* marriage. Not failed marriage! Successful marriage, until it wasn't. Congratulations on making it this far! Now chalk up a win and bow out. You and he and Seattle (and your townhouse, like you care about the damn house *wink* *wink*) were successful for a long time. But no more.

It's over, sad townhouse LW. DTMFA already.
Townhouses do not create overcrowded schools, voters do.
Yes, and someday this will be you when and if you finally can afford to buy a home here, or when and if you have a family and there are nothing but chicken coops available. Seattle doesn't have residential neighborhoods anymore; instead we have single family homes that haven't yet been converted into Bauhaus-inspired, chicken coop-developer profit machines. I've done the math- I can convert my SFR into maybe 20 units and generate some astounding cash flow. Maybe I will, what it's like to live in an ex-neighborhood where single family bungalows are being bulldozed to build broom closets for millennial with no kids (yet). Fuckit. The sooner the better.
Ban the use of any new residential construction space for off-street parking and the dream will live on! Moving your vehicular lifestyle to a well-serviced public transportation neighborhood is the problem. How many suburbanites would transplant to Capitol Hill if they knew they'd have to drive around for 20 minutes every night to find parking?
Note the opening line "I own property on Harvard Avenue." Not "I live on Harvard Avenue." It doesn't sound to me like she lives there currently, unless she's phrasing things oddly.
"Density!" Says the guy who lives in a huge single family home surrounded by rich neighbors with NIMBY trigger fingers.
@cornichon. Actually, poor government creates crowdedschools. We're way behind on k-12 construction. And density makes it more expensive to get land to build on. So we aren't even trying.
"But it shouldn’t always be about the people that are coming. What about the people that are here?"
That's what the Duwamish should have said, and possibly did. After that, no one can complain about newcomers.
@9 No, she wants you to know that she's not a goddamn renter.
Sad Capitol Hill townhome woman is the worst:

1. Dan is correct in guessing that her home was built recently. According to King County records, it was built in 2008.

2. She pleads for the council to give preferential treatment to people who are already here over newcomers. She moved to Seattle in 2014.

3. She spent nearly a decade as a site acquisition manager for a Bellevue real estate development company.
I've lived here my entire life - I never came here - and I own a townhome built after 2008. So fuck the lot of you!
What is the point or thesis behind this diatribe? The history lesson is fun and all, but where are you going with this Dan? What is the significance behind all the sound and fury?

Actually, Seattle still has lots of residential neighborhoods full of modest single-family homes with prices well within reach of a first-time buyer with some savings and a steady job.

Affluent white people are terrified of them, of course, but that doesn't mean they don't exist.
@17 My point. These residential neighborhoods have not yet been engulfed by the development blob. It's coming for you, soon enough.
All very interesting comments, but the lady crying in the meeting was low hanging fruit for journalists looking for an easy target for a snarky post. Time to move on to more powerful evil doers with your superpower of snark, Stranger.

Dan, this is such a shitty, snobbyass post. I don't understand why someone isn't allowed to be upset that a building containing 44 new tenants is moving in right next door. Dan, you apparently live in a single family house in the city surrounded by other single family houses. Would you be cool with a building containing 44 tenants moving in RIGHT next door to your house? Think about it. Suddenly you're dealing with the noise and traffic of 44 sets of strangers, and their guests, day in and day out, right on top of your back yard. Aren't YOU the NIMBY, here, Dan?

When you buy a house, you buy a house. You don't buy the neighborhood, or your neighbor's house. If your neighbor wants to develop their land and build units, you absolutely have the right to try to talk them out of it. You have the right to be upset if they do what they want to do rather than what you want. But it is not a municipal problem for apartments to be constructed in land zoned for apartments. Its the plan. We need the plan in order to manage this city's growth.

People don't have to like their neighbors, but that doesn't give them the right to get rid of them.

I almost feel like the NIMBY term is inaccurate, because it implies development is happening where the activists actually should have control (their backyard). Its actually happening on someone elses land. Maybe NIYBY (Not In Your Back Yard) would be better.
Savage: snotty, wealthy, priviliged, snarky White Male. Purveyor of self-righteousness to the masses. What a prick.
I'm sure Dan, husband, and European rent boy would have a lot less to say if a big apartment building started bumping up against his single family home. Don't get me wrong, I agree with a lot that he's saying. If this affected him, however, he'd be saying something else.
The problem of that 44 human pantry in Harvard Ave is not the added density, but the fact that apodment buildings look like miserable shit. I sympathize with choking-lady: living in a nice street where people take care of their houses yet next to a pile of plastic shit is like barfing through grinding teeth. If the developer took a modicum of care on building something minimally pleasing, much of the criticism would fade away.
@20, Your comment doesn't make much sense. This woman chose to live in a neighborhood zoned for dense, multifamily development. She is now complaining about the same type of zoning that has been in place for decades in her neighborhood and the same type of zoning that allowed her townhome to be built in the first place.

If's not as though the zoning changed after this woman bought her home. If she didn't want to live next door to a multifamily building, she shouldn't have bought a home in that neighborhood.

Zoning really isn't that complicated. It's when people like this woman feel that our laws shouldn't apply to them or their neighborhoods that we have problems.
Exactly. If you can see where you live on one of those "downtown seattle" maps at bus stops, don't be shocked when apartments get built on your street.
@25 Zoning can be changed. The low rise residential zones were significantly up zoned in 2010, increasing the housing capacity by many thousands of units. Most people living in these areas had no idea this change was occurring because there was no outreach worth beans.
I am very upset by all the young married gay & straight couples having kids & raising them in the city. They are ruining the character of the neighborhoods my son was brought up in here in Seattle...
@24 - That's a design review board issue, not a density issue. And even as an urbanist, I agree - some of the mixed-use/multi-family dwellings built in this city in the last 5 years are monstrosities (see: pretty much everything built north of Market in Ballard).

Some of the amendments discussed at this meeting were aimed at improving the aesthetics of the built environment (I'm for more of the "wedding cake" layouts that step back from the street and maximize light, trees and air, not giant boxes). But a majority were pretty plainly being used as Trojan horses for knee-jerk NIMBYS who would do anything to encase their neighborhoods in amber to preserve their street parking. They want suburban amenities in an urban environment. I have absolutely no empathy for someone who fails to look at a zoning map before buying property.
@27 "Most people had no idea" Pu-leeze. This is a presumably educated grown woman who worked in Bellevue real estate for 10 years. She knew full well that her new neighborhood would grow—she just doesn't like how it's growing!

What I don't understand is why she thinks she has to buy a second car? Shouldn't they be downsizing?
@27, Yes, zoning can be changed, but that is not what happened in the case of this woman. She bought her house in 2014, nearly four years after changes were made to the lowrise zones.

And let's be honest about those changes made in 2010. They were made in large part due to neighborhood activists who had complained about the "ugly blight" of 4-plex and 6-plex townhomes that were being built in the City. In other words, the changes to the code were made because people didn't like the type of townhome that this woman is now trying to protect. Here's a link to an article that Erica Barnett wrote about the changes at the time:…

While you may describe these changes as "significant", I think that others might describe them as "minor modifications". Either way, these changes, made four years before Sad Townhome Woman moved to Seattle, did not fundamentally change what could be built on the property next door. Whether she moved to her neighborhood in 1969, 1999, 2009 or yesterday, it has always been zoned for dense multifamily development.
Dear City of Seattle,

Please change our zoning from SFR to multifamily. I want to sell off our front yard. I promise not to cry.

Best Regards,

Catalina Vel-DuRay
Sometimes I picture Dan living in a Rainier Beach house and it makes me giggle.
Doesn't Dan live in a townhouse-style thing?
Sad Town House Lady (STHL) is my "neighbor". I put "neighbor" in square quotes because neither of us live there.

My wife and I currently live in Amsterdam and rent out our townhouse in STHL's four-pack. There are neighbors nearby, also in 21st-century buildings, who resented our 4-pack because it was too modern and dense for the character of their neighborhood when it was built in 2008.

STHL bought her townhome in 2014. She currently lives in Bellevue and rents hers out as well. Based on her testimony, I guess this is an emotional issue for her because all those UPS trucks are going to make the street less like nice, quiet Bellevue.

I also find this an emotional issue, and hope for increased density to make it feel more like vibrant, bustling Amsterdam.

The real shame, here, is that the City tries to make everyone happy instead of clearly deciding and communicating the intended character for neighborhoods. It's unlikely that STHL and I would have chosen the same street in a more explicitly planned city.

Please wait...

Comments are closed.

Commenting on this item is available only to members of the site. You can sign in here or create an account here.

Add a comment

By posting this comment, you are agreeing to our Terms of Use.