It's the hysteria heard 'round the world:
Residents of some conventional homes and apartments near McConnell's worry that micro sprawl could overcrowd their neighborhood infrastructure, adding to traffic congestion and making already scarce parking even harder to find.
"These are like boarding houses on steroids," said Carl Winter, founder of the group Reasonable Density Seattle and a resident of the neighborhood. "I'm living the nightmare."
Micro developments have drawn criticism for not facing the same level of design and environmental review that a newly constructed conventional apartment undergoes because a single-dwelling is defined as a unit that includes its own kitchen.
Sorry to break the news to Mister Winter (mister is probably an inappropriate title for a child throwing a tantrum), but having the city count microhousing units differently, subject them to a superficial design review, and make them undergo an environmental review won't wake him from this nightmare. Some of those changes aren't bad—if done with a light touch. But Winter's nightmare is what he considers overcrowding—an ostensibly inhumane concentration of people living in Capitol Hill, a neighborhood that he apparently believes should be a moderate-density haven with ample parking for house owners.
But Capitol Hill, and the rest of the central city, is destined to be high density. Streets will be more crowded and parking more scarce. It's already been zoned for that density. Sixty-five foot and forty-five foot buildings—and even taller in some places—are going to dominate much of the area in zones that allow multi-family housing (condos, apartments, aPodments). That's only 11 percent of the city, overall, but that's what will get built there. The question is how difficult it is to build them. aPodments are typically built on just single or double lots—they're small by nature—so further review of impacts and design flexibility will yield indiscernible changes to their design. However, Winter's campaign of obstruction will drive up the prices, making the rentals less affordable for workers. But his nightmare—his fear of more people, of more renters, of parking at a premium—is going to get worse. And worst of all, he's foisting his nightmare on others by pushing more low- and mid-wage workers out of town.