Gas Stations: Casualty of Seattle's Changing Zoning Priorities
Nathalie Graham reports from close to home in Seattle, where two gas station closures in the University District are only the tip of the iceberg.
"Michael Buhr, CEO of Filld, a gas delivery start-up (a burgeoning industry that we need to delve into another time), said the number of gas stations within Seattle city limits is down 20 percent," according to Graham.
Graham credits the declining number of gas stations in the city to zoning the "citywide upzoning" that is also known as the Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda (HALA). As a result of HALA zoning changes, "gas stations occupy space that's about to become even more valuable. They're situated in areas zoned for buildings many stories higher than a slanted Chevron roof dares to go."
Meanwhile, in the surrounding communities of King County, exactly the opposite dynamic is at work. According to Graham, "the Bureau of Labor Statistics quarterly census shows a slight uptick from 2015 to 2017 in the number of gas stations in King County (which also includes cities like Bellevue, Issaquah, Burien, and Federal Way). In 2015, there were 435 gas stations in King County; as of 2017, there were 481."