Recently I’ve been doorbelling in Greenwood, Fremont, and Ballard. I did some steep stair climbs in Fremont that reminded me of the training I did years ago hiking up Mt. Si with phone books in my daypack to prepare for a climb of Mt. Rainier. And one evening was pretty soggy, which reminded me that, well, we do live in Seattle after all.
In upper Fremont I heard concerns about a proposed 32-unit micro housing project. I spoke with five households about this project. They described a battle that has been going on for 2 ½ years among residents, the developer, and the City. Some of them formed a group and hired an attorney. The ongoing saga has caused stress, uncertainty, and discord. Afterwards, I researched the public record for the project. Here are comments from two residents that were submitted:
“As a member of this neighborhood I would like say that I highly oppose the construction of this new micro studio building. It is absolutely unreasonable to build this at this location where the zoning (without public notice) changed from Lowrise 1 to Lowrise 2. The parking and population in this neighborhood is already beyond capacity and this new building would be a nuisance to our neighborhood, daily lives and general well being.”
“Our family is a car-lite renter household that has resided in Fremont for nearly 13 years. We have two children, one who walks to BF Day on a daily basis. I commute by bus to daycare downtown with our three year old. My wife picks up both children on our minivan (a non-electric cargo bike!). It is important that this project, and more like it, are built in Fremont. The median home price in this neighborhood is now over a million dollars. Just a few lots to the north, townhouses were built and sold for this price. Remodeled/redeveloped single family homes in the neighborhood go for $2,000,000. Middle class families like mine, and those less fortunate than us, will have no shot for security of tenure if the only thing that is built around here is million dollar plus homes.”
There are no easy solutions. One thing is clear - there needs to be a better mechanism for discourse and timely resolution. Perhaps a version of the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods’ Early Outreach for Design Review program would be beneficial.