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Seattle NIMBYs Protest Dense Development, Cite Eastern Bloc

A zoning bill has stirred up the fear that dense development projects will transform Seattle into a "Soviet cityscape." Residents accuse developers of using loopholes to squeeze in pricey, out-of-character townhomes.
June 23, 2015, 7am PDT | Philip Rojc | @PhilipRojc
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Oran Viriyincy

Vociferous and hyperbole-laden opposition greets a zoning measure headed to the Seattle City Council. During a recent public hearing on land use, "more than one person who slammed the legislation, claiming it wouldn't do enough to halt out-of-character development, said the council will determine whether Seattle remains a garden city or acquires a bland, Stalinist cityscape."

"The bill [...] would adjust zoning changes enacted in 2010. Since then, many residents have complained about developers taking advantage of loopholes to construct buildings with more height, more bulk and more units than planners thought the 2010 changes would allow."

The critics say new development will not address Seattle's rising costs. "'I regularly see affordable housing torn down … and replaced with expensive town houses,' said Carl Winter, of Capitol Hill. 'This rewrite hastens that process because it gives developers more financial incentives to tear down existing houses.'"

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Published on Sunday, June 7, 2015 in The Seattle Times
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