On Tuesday, October 22, Seattle City Council Member Nick Licata got an earful from local developers. It seems his latest proposal--aimed to get more information about large-scale multi-piece developments--struck a discord with folks who own multiple properties.

Faye Garneau, treasurer of the Aurora Avenue Merchants Association and a property owner in the North End, calls the development disclosure unnecessary. "There's so many checks and balances right now, it seems unfair to put another layer on," she explains. Plus, she argues, most property owners don't know what they're going to do with their properties 10 years in advance, as Licata's proposal requires.

The city's Department of Design, Construction and Land Use acting director Diane Sugimura also criticized Licata's proposal in an October 11 letter. The extra layer of regulation, and difficulty for property owners to foresee development, were her top concerns. "I do not believe this would send a good message about Seattle's business environment," she concluded.

On the other hand, Licata's "Large Development Disclosure Ordinance" has neighbors thrilled. If it's enacted, developers who own over five acres in a small area will have to give the city information about overall development plans. Currently, those developers only have to let the city know what they're up to on a parcel-by-parcel basis. Under Licata's proposal, property owners like Paul Allen, who owns over 45 acres in the South Lake Union neighborhood, would have to present information about their grand plans for the neighborhood even if they're only developing one parcel. That information is a boon to neighbors, who will be able to negotiate with property owners about development impacts.

Licata's neighbor-friendly plan is clearly targeted at specific Seattle developers. In fact, as far as Licata's staff can tell, only two current property owners are affected by the proposal: University Village near Laurelhurst, and Allen's Vulcan Inc. Residents in the South Lake Union area wondering what Allen plans to do with his properties--like the site of the Lillian Apartments building that was razed two weeks ago--would get answers if Licata's proposal passes. And University Village's neighbors would have more information about traffic management. So far, Allen's Vulcan and University Village haven't commented on Licata's proposal.