Poor folks live in SFZ too.


There's a reason why she's not convinced.

Look at the maps you published this week of where her votes came from.

Yup, rich view SFH precincts.

Not a coincidence.

It's also why she takes our 1/3 transit 1/3 bike/walk 1/3 cars money and spends 80 percent on suburban car owners only.

Because she works for the suburbs, not for Seattle.


What a load of crap.
The single family house up the street from me in Greenlake was torn down, along with the 100 year old cedar tree, the garden space bulldozed into concrete, and the musician's family who lived there was kicked out.
How is that environmentally productive?
Seattle housing policy is bulldozing cheap housing, and replacing it with corporate and Republican owned buildings. And The Stranger leads the charge for more of the same.


Out of all the Stranger writers, there's just something about Lester Black's uber-priviliged suburban white boy cum urbanist thinly veiled I-hate-you-daddy-ing that just grates on me. The harder he tries to effect a reasoned politics, the more it becomes apparent he's bleating loudly at whatever signalling makes him seem the least like himself. Which inevitably end up in poor journalism lapsing into hollow screed.

By contrast at least Rich Smith comes across as actually motivated by ideology, which leads to decent journalism most of time. Or Mudede. He seems driven by abstraction, which makes for a fun ride, notwithstanding that the lap bar probably isn't gonna stay down the whole way. Even young Keimig and Burns, who seem to react politically on impulse, at least validate their takes by acknowledging emotion and uncertainty.

But every damn political take out of Black is like he's trying to convince the dinner table at an Evergreen College low income student group house that he belongs there too. All style zero substance.


@6 Still sore about the Garfield Street Bridge thing, eh?


Lester Black never met a developer he didn't like.
Lester Black proud to carry water for the 1%.
Because that is exactly who would benefit from the destruction of the remainder of Seattle's wood structure housing stock.


@7: Yawn. The tired old "still sore about ..." retort just doesn't have any zing juice anymore.


@9 Got a response out of you!

I don't know why somebody would go to the trouble of typing up a three paragraph essay, remotely psychoanalyzing Lester Black unless they had a bee in their bonnet about something.

Is "bee in their bonnet" too archaic you you youngsters?


The UN still a thing?


@10: "bee in your bonnet" is one of my favorites. I've even had multiple bees in my bonnet.

Clara T has observations and options that others agree with. Not quite the same as a a bee in a bonnet.


Seattle SFZ isn't the same as Sammamish SFZ, which is what the UN report is concerned about. You might take that into consideration before advocating turning Wallingford into Marzahn West.

Clara, most of the student group homes at Evergreen are SFZ, or rural.


Poor folks live wherever they can because there isn’t a choice. That is if they have somewhere to live the way things are now.

Most of the places available have been torn down or are in the process of - thanks to greedy rich people.


Sorry, I don't believe single family zoning is bad for the environment. I understand there are some economies of scale in terms of infrastructure, but multi-family housing always seem to come at the expense of green spaces, trees, and views of the sky. You have to argue your ass off til hell freezes over to convince me that the kind of overcrowding seen in a Manhattan can possibly be good for the environment. Besides, Manhattan is an open air paradise compared to some cities in the Far East.

The UN can say whatever it wants. I'm not buying it. Seattle doesn't need to be any more crowded than it is. If you're pissed it's expensive to live here the solution isn't more high rises clustered together. It's you moving your ass somewhere else.


BTW, about 40% of the lots in SFZ are multifamily housing. Jus sayin.


@16: Apartments are generally much smaller than single family houses, so right off the bat, there is less cubic footage to heat and/or cool. Also, four or even five of the six walls comprising a typical apartment are shared with other apartments, so they share the heat they produce and there is a lot less heat loss. In dense cities, most people get to their jobs via public transit, and they can usually shop within walking distance of their apartments.

As for new developments taking down trees, that's not been my experience: in my neighborhood (Central District), they are displacing massive, ugly parking lots. And if people don't have the option to live in an apartment in a dense city? The developers really will mow down a bunch of trees and live in the suburbs, as American public policy has encouraged for 70 years now.

As for tall buildings blocking views of the sky . . . well, I'm not sure what that has to do with CO2 emissions and climate change, but, yeah, OK.


Housing not being a commodity anymore and the human right to basic, decent, shelter would be revolutionary but at this time in this century is it only a dream? It could be turned into a goal to achieve a more beneficial environment for our world before it is too late for humankind to survive in a destroyed environment.

At present we have numerous, luxury, unoccupied residences that are used to hoard wealth by the very rich. This may well be the first issue to attend to.


Single family housing does not cover 75% of Seattle land mass. This is a giant lie repeated by corporatist cheerleaders posing as journalists like Lester Black. The truth is more than half the single family zoning in Seattle is Parks, open spaces, protected forest wildlife habitat, golf courses, alleys, parking strips, and public rights of way - all zoned single family, and it is shrinking with each new upzone. The actual land mass that is buildeable for single family housing is closer to 25 - 30 percent, about the same as multi family housing.
The fact these clowns like Lester Black keep repeating this giant lie proves they are not journalists at all. They are nothing but corporate Density Bolshevik lobbyists.


It’s embarrassing to see people say that unrestricted zoning laws are giving in to corporate interests. Zoning laws that make property ridiculously expensive is what helps developers. Conservative nimby bullshit made this place expensive so that greedy homeowners could have their property value increase and keep out the riff raff. Zoning laws are regulating a market to only go up, which is unfair. Nobody did any work for their home value to increase. What’s it called when you get a bunch of money without doing anything of value? This city is already fucked. Decreasing sfz will keep it from getting worse, like the bay area. Nothing will fix it. But yes. It’s irrefutable that adding when you add jobs without housing all of those workers will have to commute from further away. Likely from a larger, more resource costly home. Which is terrible for the environment.


"Terrible for the environment" is such a convenient retort.


The horror of the SFH! A yard where you can do your own composting of food scraps and yard waste. A yard where you can grow your own organic food or even keep chickens for eggs. Space to accomodate cisterns or other rainwater gathering systems. A roof for solar panels. The ability to upgrade windows ect for better heat retention or install an on-demand water heater. The choice to get rid of the lawn and replace it with something more sustainable. The opportunity to grow tons of flowers for pollinators. My god I can barely stand to think about it.


Dealing with climate change and homeslessness is compliated and can't be solved with one idea or report. I think that Mr. Black is reporting on ideas and reports. He gave Mayor Durkan kudos where she has been forward thinking in the work the city has done (although ending snidely because she is wealthy). I am not sure what @6 is so angry with Mr. Black about, but good for you Clara T for reading journalists with different view points of your own, all of us could use some diverse points of view in our life. But maybe keep your rants to yourself. Plus the bio doesn't mention he went to Evergreen


The City's new rules re 50% floor space ratio are actually a big improvement on what has been happening, and will stop the worst of the SF mansions that have been going in. For example, the 5000 sf lot across from us in Phinney Ridge now has a 4000 sf+ atrocity where a small house used to be. That makes no sense at ell - triples energy consumption but still houses only one family. It will not be legal under the new rules.


@4 - If the sf house is replaced by, for example, 4 apartments or townhouses that use far less energy than the old house and enable 3 more families to avoid a long polluting commute into the city, I'd say it's VERY environmentally productive. That is true whether or not the new buildings a "corporate" or not. I'm not making any judgment about whether it is good for our music scene, which seems to be a big part of your complaint.


@26: Your extension argument is a red herring as populations need to maintain a fertility rate for a society to keep functioning.

A world without hearing children laughing and playing is a very sad one - like in the backyard.


@24 I've lived in triple deckers with all of these things:
A yard
Composting of food scraps and yard waste.
Growing your own organic food
Cisterns or other rainwater gathering systems.
Upgraded windows ect for better heat retention
Tons of flowers for pollinators

Plus the triple deckers had the advantage of "families like ours could afford to live there" and "our landlords could afford to become owners by subsidzing their mortgage with rent."

(It was too long ago for on-demand water heaters or residential solar to be an option, but they did have roofs.)


There are 21,224 parcel acres (this does not include city owned open space or rights of way) in Seattle zoned single family residential versus 3,716 parcel acres zoned multi-family residential per DPD:


@ 33 The chart you reference is from February 2013 - 6 years ago. We all know that since then Seattle has been hugely upzoned. Around 100,000 housing units - have been added since then - most of them apartments, townhomes and condos. Last year we just upzoned the Urban Villages in 27 neighborhoods in Seattle. The building permits are just starting for those areas and all will allow multi-family and townhomes. Your data is not relevant anymore.


@34: SFH are still in Queens and Brooklyn in NYC. Like all great American cites, they're here to stay.

Yeah, and you had to drag up all that potting soil in the elevator.


@34 -- If the old numbers are out of date, what are the new numbers?

By the way, your comments about the number of new units is irrelevant. You are focused on the number or new units, while @33 is focuses on the land. The vast majority of the land zoned for housing is zoned single family (and a lot of it is zoned for very large lots) despite the minor changes to the Urban Villages boundaries. By the way the "urban village" concept is not unique. Other cities -- like Toronto -- have tried it as well. The result -- whenever and wherever they have tried it -- is high housing prices. The only way to get low housing prices is to allow development over a very large area (like Montreal has done).


@10 - I think bonnets are probably too archaic for most non-Amish readers here. Bees are still very much in style.


@34 "hugely upzoned"

LOL; I have not seen new tabular data, but you can look at the new post-May zoning change map at the first link here and compare it to the map at the second link from before the upzone to get a measure of how "huge" the changes were (tldr: the 2019 zoning changes affected less than 6% of single family land):


Wow! I can tell that Seattle is suffering from a shortage of qualified workers, particularly journalists. Opinion pieces such as those written by ManBun do not represent well researched data: not thorough, but always representative of one side of the coin of truth. The Stranger is losing its authority to speak for anyone in Seattle except its staff. I suggest less ideology and more reality.


35 This is not the 1950s and nothing stays the same. We hope if we work for it, it will change for the better such as everyone having the opportunity for a decent life and a comfortable home.


@16. The classic faux liberal/progressive... who is all for progressive change until it impacts her life.

Well congratulations, you get urban chickens, another forest dies to expand Sammamish, and more people drive cars to work then ride buses. Sounds very eco friendly, those urban chickens!


I know I ask this every time this issue comes up, but I still don't have an answer:

After zoning regulations are changed, is there an expectation that existing SFH homeowners will tear down their homes, and build low income housing?


waiting for Stranger article about Dan Savage and rest of home-owning Stranger employees moving into apartments....

Please wait...

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