New land use changes come before a City Council committee Nov. 28, and while they still could dim developers’ hopes for non-industrial expansion in the blue-collar Duwamish and Ballard/Interbay zones, they’re not the drastic downzone that the mayor originally wanted.
Councilmember Peter Steinbrueck brought forth a compromise that caps office and retail uses in industrial areas zoned IG2 — usually located away from rail terminals or docks — at 25,000 square feet, not the 10,000 square feet the mayor had wanted when he first issued the legislation this summer.
Department of Planning and Development spokesman Alan Justad says Steinbrueck’s proposal still gets a tentative thumbs-up. The size restrictions are “a little less in IG2, but they’re close. We feel positive about that. Basically it’s the mayor’s proposal still.”
Other ideas floated by Nickels — setting up a transfer-of-development-rights system to keep property values low, and clarifying land-use code to precisely define a “research and development laboratory” — are going to be considered next spring by a community panel of organized labor, neighborhood activists, and business and property owners.
Camp sweeps called out
Two city councilmembers signed on to Council President Nick Licata’s letter calling for a halt to the mayor’s stepped-up sweeps of homeless people’s encampments [“Nickels and Camping,” Nov. 21].
Licata and councilmembers Sally Clark and Peter Steinbrueck co-signed the letter, which states that “basic survival gear is being taken away and discarded” by the city and asks that the sweeps be “postponed until the City Council is briefed and the current policies and practices are reviewed by key stakeholders.”
Why didn’t the council’s point man on social services, Tom Rasmussen, sign onto the letter? Rasmussen, says aide Brian Hawksford, wanted not to call for a halt to the raids but to ask the mayor “to notify the entire council at least two days in advance” of them. The idea was to “at least give the council time to respond if they felt it shouldn’t happen,” says Hawksford.
The letter may not have been necessary; The Seattle Times reported Monday the city has halted the operations while it revises its procedures. The mayor’s staff hasn’t said when the rules will be done.
Private donations to the Elizabeth Gregory Home, a University District non-profit giving 11 homeless women a roof over their heads and a chance to get back on their feet, have postponed a funding crisis that the Seattle P-I revealed in a Nov. 14 story. But the agency could still face closure as early as January, says director Kimberly Jackson.
Jackson says the nonprofit, which was launched by University Lutheran Church in 2000, is seeking public money to continue serving the women, two-thirds of whom have been victims of domestic violence. She plans to meet with city officials and discuss funding opportunities in coming weeks.