"The False Promises of Up-Zoning Reform: Lessons Learned From the Seattle Neighborhood that Inspired the Movie ‘Up’", is the story of what’s happened to the Ballard section of Seattle since zoning was changed in 2010 to allow greater residential density. It includes a live video-linked interview with community preservation activists in Seattle about their first-hand experience.
Outcomes include higher housing costs, with the areas with the highest density experiencing the highest increase in rents, displacement of workers, elimination of middle-class housing, loss of trees, green space and local businesses, and development outpacing the capacity of transit and other infrastructure.
The parallels with Newton are striking, including a pro-growth media, “engagement theatre” for residents, developers promoting density as “green,” with organizations like the Sierra Club arguing for more intense land use, but promises of better public transit decades away.
It’s an hour and 13 minutes, but I promise you will find it worth your time and quite compelling. Here's why it's relevant to the mayoral race. Two of the three candidates with a realistic chance of advancing to November, Ruthanne Fuller and Scott Lennon, both voted for the Washington Place rezoning to MU4 and special permit, and support more such high-density MU4 projects. Amy Sangiolo voted against the Washington Place rezoning and special permit, wants to preserve more of our existing naturally affordable (smaller) housing, and emphasizes the need for commercial development that will be sufficient to offset the negative fiscal impact of additional residential development.
Please share this information with your Newton friends and neighbors. It’s not too late to keep what happened to Ballard from happening to Newton, but we need more people to be informed about what’s at stake, and vote on Tuesday.