High five: Neighborhood land use blog keeps the discussion honest

Update: Well I guess I was too hasty to heap praise on Glenn Roberts and his blog. As Matt the Engineer points out in the comments the “density advocate is arrogant” idea is alive and well. I still think the Zoning Issues blog is a good idea and I hope Roberts keeps it up. But I also hope that we can start to move away from the idea that you have to live in a neighborhood to have an opinion about what goes on there. That’s why I wrote this post. Please read it again if you haven’t already. 

So I have not read through every post on Glenn Roberts’ Ravenna-Roosevelt Land Use blog. But here’s why I think it is important both to the ongoing Roosevelt zoning discussion but for land use around the city.

First, Mr. Roberts isn’t saying “damn these outsiders drifting into town trashing our plan!”(at least not that I have seen). All I have seen on his blog and comments here is honest criticism of the ideas an approaches some of us have for Transit Oriented Development and density. I like the fact that the blog hasn’t resorted to name calling or neighborhood xenophobia. I hope that it can be an example for other neighborhoods and even cities as we continue to expand the scope of our discussions about land use from the neighborhood to the city and regional level.

Second, the blog is a resource for neighbors and others as well who are trying to track land use issues. Those of us who try to keep up with this stuff can attest to the fact that in spite of all the information that is on line and presented at meetings, much of what goes on with land use happens in conversations. A lot of evolution happens over e-mail, beer, and coffee. Summarizing some of that or sharing the latest updates about what’s going on is a great service. Reading permit applications or code without a filter isn’t very helpful.

And third, it’s about land use! Don’t be afraid, wade in. The biggest canard about land use is that “it’s too complicated.” The basic principles aren’t. Land use is about, you guessed it, how we use our land. We get to decide how that’s done. Sure, figuring out the setback requirements and FAR for a mixed use project down the road is a pain in the neck. That’s complicated. But getting engaged in the discussion of what we want to see in our neighborhoods and communities is not. Land use is too important to leave to someone else, and Mr. Roberts blog helps by getting people engaged. I hope it will continue long after the dust settles (if it does) over the latest zoning discussion.

Lastly, I have commend to you his latest post about Queen Anne. It appears to be a spot on mockery of density freaks like me. I found myself nodding and saying “yeah, bulldoze Queen Anne.” I’ll admit I agree, in principle, with his numbered points about density:

I don’t see any drawbacks to this plan and am expecting a lot of support from the blogging community.

  1. There will be thousands of new jobs in the building industry.
  2. After the 20 year build-out Seattle reaches carbon neutrality.
  3. Noise from I-90 and I-5 and other transit corridors has ceased.
  4. Millions of trees flourish in rural areas.
  5. There are no more commuters, so the light rail system is used only for transporting food and clothing into the city to be distributed to those living here.
  6. There will be no more NIMBYs. All of us will be living in the same neighborhood, and decisions will be made for us.

Won’t it be great?

Yeah, actually Glenn, it would be!

Frank Lloyd Wright's Golden Beacon: I'm ready to move in!

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10 Responses to High five: Neighborhood land use blog keeps the discussion honest

  1. Thanks, Roger, for the mention. I appreciate your stance on these issues and that it isn’t property specific. I had hoped in my blog to open a door for many neighbors and others to speak their piece, few few have taken the opportunity. So, much like yourself, I write my take and reactions specific to our neighborhood. Should you want to do a guest post and address our neighborhood, just ask me. BTW, don’t read back too far. I’m no saint.

  2. Glann,

    Same offer goes for you and others. In fact, put something together for this week. Do you have any thoughts about the back and forth between Jon Fox and Dan Bertolet? Is there a right time or a wrong time for input from folks inside and outside the neighborhood?

    No saint here either, but thanks for keeping up the discussion and the forum whether people use it or not. We’re on our way. Look at us, we’re not talking about the tunnel!


    • Tunnel, what tunnel? I thought the monorail was a done deal. Where are they with that now? Ballard has a couple of 8 story buildings selling (renting) like hotcakes (brussel sprouts) from the future there, and they are actually going to build on those vacant lots sometime soon. The monorail is coming! Repeat.

      It didn’t see any Bertolet/Fox back and forth? Where’s that? ( I didn’t read the old links.) Anyway..I may come up with something for SLUC, but this week is full. Look for me in July, when summer fully arrives and when we might really know what the mayor, the DPD and the City Council think about the various proposals in Roosevelt.

  3. Matt the Engineer says:

    I haven’t read much of his blog yet, but I’m not sure comments like this should be commended so wholeheartedly.

    [Glenn] The comment of yours I linked to was in response to the Bertolet/Fox back and forth. You posted that comment yesterday. Have you forgotten already?

  4. Wow. Looks like Glenn HAS weighed in on the Fox – Bertolet exchange. Thanks Matt.

    As I said, I haven’t completely run Glenn’s stuff through a sieve. All of us have posted stuff I am sure we would like to at least amend, even if it’s for something stupid like a left out word or whatever.

    My hope is that we can go forward without advancing the line of argument that only people from 6 blocks around a project should be able to comment or influence a project. As I said, I welcome the worst offenders (people I disagree with) to show up and trash my favorite project–even though they don’t live in my neighborhood.

    Call me arrogant. Call me wrong. Just don’t call me an “outsider” and discredit my views because of that.

    • UZC – Come to the meetings and speak your peace. Let us know who your are and what you have to say. You won’t catch me in West Seattle or Othello telling residents what they should do…other than they should fight for what is best for their neighborhood. Great neighborhoods make great cities. It’s not the other way around.

  5. Pingback: SeattleScape » Blog Archive » Time to add more options at light rail stations?

  6. PitersGriffing says:

    I found the answer in google, remove the topic pls.

  7. Justin Blog says:

    Hi there this is somewhat of off topic but I was wanting to know if blogs
    use WYSIWYG editors or if you have to manually code with HTML.
    I’m starting a blog soon but have no coding skills so I wanted to get guidance from someone with experience.
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