Seattle Residential: I Do That: The Growth of Cities: My Comments on Zoning

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



Comment balloon 19 commentsGlenn Roberts • June 22 2011 10:15PM


Glenn, Good luck with the fight!  Controlling growth in a rational manner can be quite the challenge.

Posted by Liz and Bill Spear, RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton) (RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 over 9 years ago

Thanks, Bliz. Several meetings this week have the direction of our progress here taking unsual turns.

Posted by Glenn Roberts (Retired) over 9 years ago

Glenn this is a very important topic. Residents need to get involved and stay involved. Our city was planned with family living in mind, schools, parks, neighbourhood stores in all sections, then as you said developers got involved and our city became a money making machine for them. Houses were being built so rapidly the roadways couldn't keep up. Finally, after years of congestion and confusion it is straightening out.  Seattle shouldn't be caught 'sleeping'.

Posted by Al & Peggy Cunningham, Brokers, Our Family Wants To Help Your Family! (RE/MAX West Realty Inc., Brokerage) over 9 years ago

What makes Seattle a desirable place to live, for one thing, is the unique village-like neighborhoods. Making them little cities ruins that atmosphere for most residents.

Posted by Glenn Roberts (Retired) over 9 years ago

we are fighting the addition of a hwy through some of our neighborhoods right now.. (and losing!)

Posted by Sheila Newton Team Anderson & Greenville SC, Selling the Upstate since 1989 (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - C. Dan Joyner) over 9 years ago

Sheila - More roads don't make traffic better, they just invite more travel by car. Keep fightng.

Posted by Glenn Roberts (Retired) over 9 years ago

Fantastic explanation and information.  The zoning in Marana, AZ seems to be much more PRE-thought out than Tucson.  With one freeway slashing diagonally through the city and no major transportation alternatives, surface streets are really clogged when our winter population tops a million.  City planning has a lot of challenges.  Seattle has some terrifically-defined neighborhoods that really add to the character.  I love the percentage of construction that must go towards beatification and art in the downtown sector.  Too cool.

Posted by Cara Marcelle Mancuso, Call a Marana neighbor, I'm THERE! LONG REALTY (Long Realty - Dove Mountain, Marana AZ) over 9 years ago

Cara - efforts are being made everywhere to get people out of their cars and on to public transportation. Many good and bad decisions will be made before we can get drivers out of single occupant vehicles whenever possible.

Posted by Glenn Roberts (Retired) over 9 years ago

Glenn, It is important to keep what makes your area unique and what works for people. Washington City is now trying to re-build their downtown area to become walkways to shops, parking in the rear of businesses on the ground floor with huge plate glass windows, industrial-type condos on the top floors. It looks great on paper, the real test is follow-through. The best to you.

Posted by Wanda Kubat-Nerdin - Wanda Can!, So Utah Residential, Referral & Relocation REALTOR (Red Rock Real Estate) over 9 years ago

Wanda - everyone is using the walkable/bikeable theme to promote thir concept of development, but in truth, not all "building" does not work in every location.

Posted by Glenn Roberts (Retired) over 9 years ago

Houston has no zoning laws!!!!!!!   Which leads to multi-million dollar faux Italian Villas being built on the footprint of a 1950's rancher with 1950's ranchers as neighbors.   However, we've got Nazi like HOAs and the master planned communities have all the charm of Stepford!

Posted by Alicia Barrington, Houston Home Staging Presents Alicia Barrington (THE ORIGINAL HOUSTON HOME STAGING) over 9 years ago

Tom - Sometimes I think we don't have zoning here either.

Posted by Glenn Roberts (Retired) over 9 years ago

Sometimes the community can take things too far, and it usually has something to do with someone disliking someone else. Not allowing potted plants on the ground out front if they can be seen from the street…. No window coverings with anything other than a white backing….

Posted by Jim Frimmer, Realtor & CDPE, Mission Valley specialist (HomeSmart Realty West) over 9 years ago

Jim - People in power often have strange ideas concerning the common good. Thankfully, the right to vote makes change possible.

Posted by Glenn Roberts (Retired) over 9 years ago

We have a brouhaha going on down here because the County is updating its General Plan, and lots of developers aren’t happy!

Happy Wednesday!

Posted by Not a real person over 9 years ago


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