On January 26th, members of the Lake Union Opportunity Alliance (LUOA) Board met for an hour with Mayor Greg Nickels, Deputy Mayor Tim Ceis, Director Diane Sugimura of the City’s Department of Planning and Development, and Nathan Torgelson, Mayor’s staff. Representing LUOA were John Pehrson, Kevin McCarthy, Diane Masson, Tim Soerens, and Lloyd Douglas.
We presented to the Mayor, the background on LUOA, our activities to date, and our advocacy position which is:
- Do a comprehensive Urban Plan and Design on what kind of community we want and what public amenities will be included and how they will be funded, before setting the zoning. The current city planning seems to be doing it backwards, define the zoning and then maybe we’ll add the public amenities. That backwards approach hasn’t worked in Belltown, why would we believe it would work in SLU.
- Eliminate the City’s Alternatives #1 and #2 – they would rezone all of South Lake Union (SLU) outside of Cascade to either 300’ or 400’ and even upzone Cascade to 160’. This would create a ‘mountain of concrete’, 3/4 mile long and 1/2 mile wide, that would be up to 100’ taller than the top of Capitol Hill and Queen Anne. They would potentially add up to 130 towers of 300’ or 400’ height. These alternatives are inconsistent with the Seattle Comprehensive Plan, the SLU Neighborhood Plan and the comments of 80 to 90% of the public. These alternatives have been criticized in writing by the Space Needle Corporation, Washington State Department of Transportation – Aviation Divison, the Floating Home Association, and about 30 individuals.
- Include the LUOA Alternative that has 240’ height only along Denny Way, steeply steps down to 40’ at Lake Union, and includes provisions for public amenities, view corridors, green streets and a active center for the neighborhood.
We believe the Mayor understood our position and the support we had from the community, and that he and the City will take our position into account in future actions. We were told that in about a month the City will select the alternatives to be studied for the EIS. We did not receive any commitment to include our LUOA Alternative, but, in our opinion, it would be difficult to ignore the 80 – 90% of the public comments that support this position.
After the meeting, KOMO radio and KING 5 TV interviewed Kevin McCarthy and Diane Masson on our position and the about the meeting with the Mayor.
We will continue to work with the City to further our position that has grown out of our public meetings and the work of the board of directors and will keep you all informed.
John Pehrson, President
LUOA Board of Directors