Seattle Residential: I Do That: June 2011

The Growth of Cities: My Comments on Zoning

Few cities, if any, appeared on the scene over night (remember, "Rome wasn't built in a day?). Even well planned cities have taken unusual twists and turns along the way from ground breaking to current habitation. And no two cities have ever taken identical paths. Builders of condominium complexes establish and record a comprehensive set of rules and regulations for the future use of that which they build, as required by law. But there is a point when the people who have purchased the various units have  greater interest in the complex than the builder and the balance of power shifts. The owners start to amend the rules and regulations. The landscaping changes. When more owners are involved in the day to day process of maintaining the property, the better the property becomes.

Small townIn many cases, when there is a predominance of rental units in the building, the property is not so well maintained. For this reason Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac require a high percentage of owner occupants or they will not accept the mortgage terms.

Cities usually have a cause attached to their location. A river allows for river transport of goods. The bay off an ocean demands a port. Mountain passes define routes, and where routes cross, trade has been going on for centuries.

SeattleOnce a town or city has begun to grow, interested parties make rules and set up enforcement policies on how the inhabitants should get along. And as towns become cities the management becomes more complex.

City management systems include mayors and councils and more rules and regulations are made. There comes a time when the managers start asking neighborhoods to reoprt on their wants and needs. There comes a time when city managers tell the neighborhoods that they must plan for the future. They ask the neighborhoods how they are doing and how they want to grow.

Some neighborhoods heed the call and engage. The people that live in these neighborhoods meet and talk and tell the city managers how things are going. Neighborhoods are made up of people. Some academics like to do studies and they come up with things called demographics. These academics go deeper into there studies and say that if this then that. They start forgetting about the people that live in the neighborhoods.

You may think I'm wandering, but I am not. Seattle has asked it's 37 urban villages to come up with plans for growth and greater density. The Roosevelt neighborhood has done that. The Roosevelt neighborhood has come up with a zoning plan that allows for greater density and allows for a density that sustains a new light rail station to be built there. But certain elements fo the city are aligned with developers who have decided that blocks which they control would be better suited to growth and that the people who live in the neighborhood are just being selfish is wishing to control home their homes are impacted.

It's a sad day when communities loose control to developers. Don't let it happen to you. If you live in a Seattle neighborhood, support Roosevelt's Plan for the future. And Roosevelt will support your cause when the going gets tough.  Great neighborhoods make great cities.

 

 

 

 

Glenn Roberts
Retired

 

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Comment balloon 15 commentsGlenn Roberts • June 22 2011 10:15PM
The Growth of Cities: My Comments on Zoning
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