On the heels of releasing the full Crown Hill Urban Village Community Survey Report last week, the Committee for Smart Growth met with our City Councilmember Mike O’Brien to discuss the results of the survey and determine next steps to address some of the issues the survey raised.
The survey included a question that responded to a specific request by Councilmember O’Brien last May for a list of priority infrastructure needs so his office could work with us to address the problems.
At the meeting, we shared that comments offered on the survey suggest many, though not all, in our community are dismayed and angry about the City’s plans to upzone our community, and many residents fear for their future here in the neighborhood.
We made it clear that the vast majority of respondents like and strongly support the recommendations we’ve been advocating to the city:
- Meaningful planning before zoning (87% strongly support)
- Infrastructure investments tied to growth (84%)
- Develop arterials first – before rezoning single family or expanding the urban village boundaries. (78%)
In response to the strong neighborhood support for developing arterials first, Councilmember O’Brien remarked that he “believes there is a path to customize zoning to fit our neighborhood”.
We spent a good deal of time reviewing the infrastructure and transit priority list requested by Councilmember O’Brien and discussing the most urgent infrastructure and transit needs our community faces and needs resolved as we take on more growth. To recap, community members ranked police response time as the biggest priority concern, followed by faster and more frequent transit service downtown; with lack of sidewalks north of 85th being the third highest priority. Councilmember O’Brien proposed next steps and a timeline to move forward on addressing several of these priorities, and had already begun work with Seattle Public Utilities to look into the flooding problems North of 85th Street.
Committee members also raised the issue of our ranking through the Growth and Equity Analysis* used by the City to determine potential displacement of existing residents – particularly renters – due to growth, arguing that the model’s conclusions that Crown Hill Urban Village was a “low displacement/high opportunity” area and an urban village with “very good transit service” needed additional review before being applied as a determinant of zoning and future community investments. Councilmember O’Brien agreed to review the inputs used in that model and work with our neighborhood to refine it and make sure it truly represents our community accurately.
Councilmember O’Brien stayed two hours speaking with us in what was supposed to be a 45-minute meeting. He assured us that he will follow up in the fall on several of the top issues we’ve identified and committed to specific actions to address several concerns. He remarked, “Community engagement such as what is happening in Crown Hill Urban Village helps me with policy making, and I believe it strengthens the community“.
We will in turn share any updates with you, our neighbors, as we continue to work on ways to mitigate the impacts of growth in our community. We will also communicate when we need your help to advocate to the Council and the City, so that working together we can make sure Crown Hill Urban Village grows to benefit everyone – current residents and our new neighbors.
* The Growth and Equity Analysis is a very large .pdf download