Being the oldest neighborhood in Seattle, Queen Anne-ers may sometimes forget what it’s like living in a community that is still very much in development. Our neighbors just southeast of us in South Lake Union, on the other hand, know exactly what it’s like. The Lake Union Opportunity Alliance has been fighting for months to persuade the city to reconsider current plans to allow 160 ft to 300 ft towers to be built between Westlake and Aurora. They’re holding a meeting tonight (apologies for the late notice – we just found out) from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at Seattle Unity Church, located at 200 8th Ave N, and are asking the Queen Anne community for support.
“This is happening quite quickly,” wrote LUOA board member Diane Masson. “If Queen Anne does not speak up now, it will be over before we know it.”
As part of South Lake Union’s Neighborhood Plan the Department of Planning and Development has been looking into ways to height and density to bolster the neighborhood’s growth. In September 2008 the DPD proposed three alternatives for increasing height development in SLU that were evaluated in an Environmental Impact Study. However, according to LUOA, none of these alternatives are an acceptable option for South Lake Union and most of the public comments on the plans, the majority of which were against this kind of growth, were ignored. Masson writes,
What about SLU streets by Lake Union becoming wind tunnels like downtown? How is this going to affect sailing on the lake? SLU will become an extension of downtown with two towers per block. NO more sunlight on the sidewalks and people that depend on food from the Cascade Neighborhood P-Patch will get no sunlight to grow food. SLU park will have shade from 125 ft – 300 ft buildings across the street to the South blocking the sunshine most of the year. Will a family want to move to SLU if kids can’t run and play in the sun at their local park? Now let’s talk views. Almost all of Capitol Hill will have their views of the Space Needle and Sound taken away by a cement wall 160 ft to 300 ft tall from Mercer to Denny. Eastlake residents, houseboats residents and Wallingford could lose their view of the Space Needle. I-5 is supposed to be view corridor to the Lake and to the Space Needle. What about our forgotten Seniors at Mirabella? Are they going to be surrounded by tall buildings that will block light for seniors who have limited vision?
The issue, according to Masson, is very complicated, which explains why it is hard to find comprehensive explanations in the media. The plan deals with both the rezoning of UW’s Phase III Medical Center, which City Council will be voting on on Monday, January 11, and the new draft EIS Alternatives. For more information, check out the LUOA website, the South Lake Union Neighborhood Plan,
DPD will be holding another public meeting on Tuesday, January 26 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Seattle Unity Church Fellowship Hall, 200 8th Ave N, to review and comment on the draft framework and learn about the revised EIS alternatives.