A Love Letter From John Fox


This gem arrived in my inbox yesterday. I did not read it until today. I thanked John for his directness. It’s refreshing to get this kind of e-mail directly from the source. That’s how it should be. It’s posted in full.

However much I respect John’s consistency and his adherence to his principles, he’s just plain wrong. If only I was the master mind of land use in this city! I can assure John that if I had anywhere near the influence he credits me with we’d be doing a lot more than the modest proposals he is so against.

The irony is, as John well knows, being right is different than being influential. My group! Honestly John if you only knew.

On Jun 12, 2012, at 11:27 AM, “john fox” wrote:

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: john fox
Date: Tue, Jun 12, 2012 at 11:21 AM
Subject: SEPA Changes and Potential Elimination of Public Input
To: sally.bagshaw@seattle.gov
Cc: john@russelljonesrealestate.com, tim.burgess@seattle.gov, sally.clark@seattle.gov, jean.godden@seattle.gov, bruce.harrell@seattle.gov, nick.licata@seattle.gov, mike.obrien@seattle.gov, tom.rasmussen@seattle.gov, mike.mcginn@seattle.gov

Dear Council member

I am writing you today regarding the proposed changes to SEPA under the Regulatory Reform Proposal currently being considered by the PLUS Committee.

One of the main concerns about the proposed changes to SEPA is the potential elimination of public input on current and future projects. As our city faces an unprecedented wave of development it is most important that affected communities have a voice in what their neighborhoods will become. I urge you to slow down the process until further public comment can be had in the matter.

Historic preservation is of the utmost importance and for that reason the language regarding historic preservation should be moved from the Director’s Rule to the CODE providing historic buildings the protection they deserve particularly when threatened with demolition. I would also urge you to eliminate the under 4000 square foot rule that allows buildings to be demolished without public input if the property is not currently tied to development.

Allowing residential uses in currently commercial spaces is not a well thought out idea. As the economy improves these spaces will have businesses return to them and if our goal as a city is to provide amenities close to where people live than this seems counter productive. Particularly if the goal is to get folks to walk more rather than driving. This part of the package should be eliminated altogether.

PLEASE close the POD loophole! Enormous projects like these should have a public review! I do think they can be a good thing in moderation. Therefore a distance requirement should be imposed ie. 2500 feet apart. We don’t want entire blocks lined with them IMO.

I am part of the neighborhood group that opposed allowing commercial uses in residential zones. One of our biggest problems with the Reform package is that the public WAS NOT included in shaping the proposals. AT ALL. It has been well documented that a gentleman named Roger Valdez was in charge of the secret negotiations to bring forth the proposals. After the defeat of the commercial uses idea Mr. Valdez launched a nasty attack via print media on those that dared stand up and oppose his group comprised mainly of individuals in the development community. This attack was unprofessional and irresponsible to the group he represented as well as the PLUS Committee and insulting to all of us. Totally inappropriate behaviour. Council members Clark and Conlin were quick to distance themselves from him but the fact remains that HE led to Roundtable that came up with the proposals. For this reason alone I am amazed that the PLUS Committee is moving forward with the remaining items on the agenda. The Reforms have clearly been tainted by Mr. Valdez and should be held until more public input can be gathered. I find it ironic that he was with the Dept of Neighborhoods presumably helping folks to find their voice and when we expressed ours we were verbally smacked down by this man. Surely you have read the garbage he has written. Would you want him in charge of changes in your neighborhood? Interestingly enough he hasn’t spoken out at ANY of the Plus meetings personally. I have been to 4 of them now. And no I am not a pearl clutching NIMBY who belongs in Laurelhurst. Nor am I or our group anti density as Mr. Valdez claims.

Perhaps one of the most concerning comments made by Mr. Conlin on a Seattle Channel show regarding parking was “We need to get Seattle out of the zoning business.” Isn’t that what city governments do? Is Houston our model for the future Seattle?

Please hold off on the rest of the proposals and seek public input which should have been done in the first place. I would be happy to participate in a final solution if asked.I am confident that a truly flexible plan could be developed that would please both residents, preservationists and the developers who are going to invest in our neighborhoods.

Thank you in advance for your kind consideration.

John Fox

Capitol Hill

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One Response to A Love Letter From John Fox

  1. Pingback: The Seattle Problem: Two Steps Forward, Two Steps Back - Seattle Transit Blog

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