Historic older buildings with low income housing already are being advertised to developers as tear-downs in anticipation of the zoning change
Councilmember Rob Johnson and city planners quietly buried the ‘Ave’ upzone into their 350-page HALA-MHA plan even though it was not included in the “preferred alternative” nor was it subject to environmental review. Only months later was it added while 29 citizens groups were in he midst of appealing the larger plan.
When the City Council approved the UDistrict upzone in February 2017, they postponed upzoning of the Ave – the area from 52nd south along both sides of the Ave to 41st. That area was slated for an upzone from 65 to 85 feet. But because of a strong showing from affected small businesses demonstrating what a threat this was to the historic character of the Ave and it’s businesses, the Council, including even Johnson, agreed to pull zoning changes for the Ave. out of the plan.
Instead, they passed a resolution postponing plans for University Way until the impacts of upzoning there could be better understood. A pledge was made to take several steps including conducting a survey of small business needs, how they felt about the upzones, and how it might affect them. The resolution also referenced the need to undertake a thorough evaluation of the historic character of the ‘Ave’ and identify specific strategies that could be adopted to preserve both its historic character and ensure that longtime small businesses would not be displaced. The resolution likely would not have been approved without Rob Johnson’s stamp of approval.
The Ave’s small businesses cheered. And then, at their own expense, they contracted with Peter Steinbrueck of Urban Strategies to complete the required survey which was presented to the Council last year. But to date, steps have not yet been taken by the City Continue reading