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Taller Buildings Likely Near Roosevelt High School

Liz Jones

In Seattle's Roosevelt neighborhood, a controversial proposal for taller buildings is closer to approval. This week, a majority of City Councilmembers expressed support for the plan. KUOW's Liz Jones has more on that story.


This debate centers on just two blocks next to Roosevelt High School. Much of that property is run–down and dilapidated. The controversial landlord wants to redevelop, but only if the city allows taller buildings. A neighborhood group is fighting to keep the height limit at four stories.

This rezoning issue is coming up because Roosevelt is home to a future light–rail station. That requires an update of the neighborhood plan, which has recently gotten hung up on building heights.

However, on Wednesday, a majority of City Councilmembers indicated they'd approve buildings up to six stories — or 65 feet tall — on those two blocks. Sally Clark heads the city's Land Use Committee.

Clark: "The conclusion I come to is that actually the 65–foot level yields better design, yields more potential for affordable housing units, yields better sidewalk spaces and overall a better chance that we get the kind of development that we want."

Clark says unfortunately, her position is at odds with a very involved neighborhood group.

Jim O'Halloran heads a land–use committee for the Roosevelt Neighborhood Association. He says they support more density, just not right next to the high school.

O'Halleran: "It's out of the comfort zone of many neighbors. It's probably within the reality zone for a developer. And it's challenging, it's awkward, it's not going down real easy but I think that's where we're headed."

O'Halleran sees the writing the on wall, and that wall goes up to six stories. Although he doesn't like taller buildings on those two city blocks, he admits he won't miss the blighted property.

The developer who's working with the landlord says the six–story rezone would work for them. They previously said the four–story limit was a deal breaker.

The full council is expected to vote on the Roosevelt zoning plan before the end of the year.

I'm Liz Jones, KUOW News.

© Copyright 2011, KUOW

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