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Changes to Seattle's single-family zoning could improve housing picture, city report says

Mike Rosenberg, The Seattle Times on

Published in Business News

It's easy to see why: People who bought into quiet, suburban-style streets often did so because it provided the space, quiet and parking they craved, away from the hustle-and-bustle of downtown. While plenty of residents in those areas have come around to the idea of added density as they watch their kids grow up and be priced out of the city, the idea of changing neighborhoods midway through the game has not sat well with a lot of homeowners.

"Homeownership is a key for neighborhood quality," said Toby Thaler, president of the Fremont Neighborhood Council, who was critical of a lot of the recommendations made to add density to single-family zones. "If you let the entire single-family zones become rental, the cohesion of the neighborhoods, especially the close-in ones, is essentially going to get eroded away. It's a disturbing trend and it's part of the whole erosion of homeownership."

Frank Fay, a member of the Wallingford Community Council, said existing zoning citywide includes plenty of room for more development in non-single-family zones.

"There's no lack of places that can be developed for more dense housing," Fay said. "There's no reason that you have to rezone single-family zones for that."

Thaler also noted that most of the planning-commission members are involved in the development community in some way: "There's almost no public-interest representation on that body."

Parham countered that most of the commission members are homeowners and many live in single-family zones.

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"That's a false argument," Parham said. "We're all citizens of Seattle and live in neighborhoods just like everybody else."

(Staff writer Dan Beekman contributed to this report.)

(c)2018 The Seattle Times

Visit The Seattle Times at www.seattletimes.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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