land use

34 petitions

Started 1 month ago

Petition to 48th Ward Alderman Harry Osterman

Say No to Downzoning East Andersonville

There is currently a proposal to downzone the entire East Andersonville neighborhood from its current multifamily designation to a zoning district that would only allow detached single-family and two family dwellings. Here are some quick bullets if you’re short on time and can’t read the full text below: The downzoning proposal would permanently reduce the permitted density in the neighborhood and create lots of nonconforming multifamily (3+ unit) buildings, which would be at risk for conversion to one or two family dwellings. It would constrain the supply of housing in the neighborhood further, making it likely that home prices and rents would increase. Other neighborhoods have tried this same strategy, and the results aren’t good. There are a number of more appropriate actions that can be taken to address the issues that the Downzoning proposal seeks to address. These should be explored.  Please Read, Sign, and Share. Let’s keep Andersonville Vibrant, Weird, and Wonderful! There is currently a proposal to take East Andersonville, a historically mixed-residential neighborhood characterized with an abundance of multifamily structures, in addition to duplexes and single-family homes, and downzone the entirety of the neighborhood from RT-4 – a district that permits two-flats, townhouses, low-density apartment buildings, and single family homes – to RS-3,  a district that only permits detached single-family homes and duplexes. This downzoning would create many, many nonconforming uses and structures, and would be represent a long-term decision to lower the density of the neighborhood. While well-intentioned on the part of our neighbors, this is entirely the wrong move for East Andersonville, and we do not support the change. New housing and new residents contribute to the continued vitality of Andersonville and its local economy, and we should be encouraging sensible new development that will help to meet the growing demand for housing within the neighborhood, while respecting neighborhood character. Downzoning won't make people not want to live in Andersonville, it will simply decrease the neighborhood's ability to absorb new residents, and create much greater competition for the housing already available within the neighborhood. This permanent downzoning will also serve as a tool to decrease the density of the neighborhood over the long-term, making it more difficult for the local businesses we love to thrive in Andersonville. Why is downzoning a bad idea? Rezoning, particularly downzoning, is a blunt force approach to solving problems that more often require a scalpel. It is also quite a permanent solution - the consequences of which must be lived with for years. By all indications this downzoning will create a great deal of nonconforming uses and structures within the neighborhood. Best practices suggest that zoning changes should either reduce non-conformities in the interest of acknowledging neighborhood character and encouraging property owners to maintain or improve their investments, or to create as few new nonconformities as possible. Unless, of course, a rezoning is being used to implement specific (usually adopted) policy, in which case change would be the desired outcome. If there were a policy in place suggesting lowering the density of the neighborhood, downzoning would be a good solution. Since there is not, it is best to look for alternatives. What else could we consider? If the true goal of our neighbors is to preserve the charm and character of the neighborhood, and not just the single-family parts of the neighborhood, a more thoughtful approach might be to evaluate the potential for creating neighborhood design guidelines to ensure new structures complement the existing built character of the neighborhood. Or, if there is indeed significant historic merit, to explore designation of the neighborhood or constituent parts as a Landmark District. Alternatively, something like a Neighborhood Development Review Committee (Similar to that in place in South Lakeview) may be a more appropriate solution. The committee formalizes a process whereby neighborhood residents have the opportunity to review and vote on zoning proposals (zoning changes, variances, special uses) and provide the Alderman their consensus feedback for consideration. Additionally, the 44th Ward has a Community Directed Development Council (CDDC) which is made up of community group representatives and business leaders in Lakeview. The council meets during the fourth Wednesday of every other month (January-October) to discuss zoning and developmental issues with the Alderman and provide input on proposals.  Let’s learn from other neighborhoods. Lincoln Park, Logan Square and North Center are all great examples of what we should be avoiding in Andersonville. According to the City of Chicago Department of Buildings, since 2006, North Center has seen 774 permits issued for new construction, and 754 permits for demolition.  Most of this has been demolition and construction by-right of single-family homes, which the zoning permits. Adding housing units would require a rezoning, but tearing down multi-unit buildings and rebuilding single-family homes does not. This is also the case of Lincoln park, which has lost 40% of its population since the last century and has continued to lose population into the 2000s. It’s not that people don’t want to live in Lincoln Park, it’s that home prices and rents have skyrocketed, and new housing units haven’t been built to accommodate the demand for housing. Since the zoning in these areas makes replacing duplexes and single-family homes illegal, developers have started to make money by tearing down older two-flats and replacing them with luxury two-flats. Or tearing down a two-flat and building a new million dollar single-family home. When the number of housing units in a neighborhood is artificially constrained, as through a downzoning, demand does not decrease. What happens is that more affluent Chicagoans can outcompete other residents, displacing them, pushing up housing prices, and creating single-family enclaves, like parts of Lincoln Park. The way to prevent this type of thing from happening is not to downzone, but to allow more housing to be built in neighborhoods that are experiencing high demand, as is Andersonville. There are numerous examples of this within our own City. Sources: WBEZ Chicago, Daniel Kay Hertz Downzoning is just bad policy for a progressive neighborhood. From a broader perspective, downzoning to eliminate a good amount of multi-family zoning on the City’s North Side ignores larger issues of housing affordability and availability. Many cities are hesitant to make this type of move, as it is not easy to get the lost development potential back through upzoning at a later date; it’s much easier to get property owners to agree to a single-family home next door than to a multi-family building. As cities in the United States are more frequently tackling issues of housing supply and affordability, it is somewhat uncommon to see swaths of the remaining multi-family land within established neighborhoods downzoned in this manner. There’s really no upside unless you own a single-family home. Downzoning artificially restricts the housing supply, which can force rents up while also constraining the City's tax base through prohibiting the creation of new units. It fights sustainability by prioritizing small front yards (with no real potential for stormwater infiltration) and decreasing basic walkability. Lowering density in this manner may also increase transit costs per user and decrease the availability of transit service thereby increasing dependence on automobiles. In short, eliminating multi-family zoning is not something that progressive neighborhoods in progressive cities should be doing. So, Let’s think about this and not rush into a downzoning. It’s the wrong move for our neighborhood. Downzoning cannot protect our neighborhood from its own popularity. It cannot stop people from wanting to move to Andersonville, and it can't remove development pressure. Further, downzoning alone also does not provide neighborhood residents more control over the design of new buildings. Theoretically, single-family and duplex structures may be built that do not fit into the neighborhood's architectural style, and would also be considered “eyesores,” or “intrusions.” These structures could also seek variances that would allow them to achieve heights and setbacks that could be considered to impinge on their neighbors.  What downzoning can do, on the other hand, is stop new multifamily development, preventing new residents from moving into a multifamily building. It cannot, however, stop them from converting a duplex to a single-family home, or converting a four-flat to a duplex and driving up the competition and cost for the slowly dwindling number of housing units in the neighborhood. Downzoning doesn't actually preserve East Andersonville's character, but it just may create a host of new problems for the neighborhood. This is a complex issue, with passionate people on both sides. We urge Alderman Osterman to think about the many residents and businesses within the neighborhood who would be impacted, and to give this proposal the detailed and thoughtful evaluation needed to ensure it’s right for the neighborhood. We don’t believe that it is. Rezoning should be intentional. It should accommodate current development patterns or facilitate the creation of new ones as put forth in adopted policy. East Andersonville is not a single-family neighborhood, and if we want a thriving, vibrant, sustainable, equitable neighborhood, we should not look to zoning as a protective shell that will freeze the neighborhood in amber. That's not what it will do; prohibiting density provides no social, environmental, or financial benefits, and in fact comes at a cost to the very character of the neighborhood.  Thank You.

Andersonville Residents Against Downzoning
45 supporters
Update posted 4 months ago

Petition to Sally Bagshaw, Goran Sparrman, Jenny A. Durkan, Mike O'Brien

Battery Street to become a "Dead Zone" in the heart of the Seattle

By signing this petition you can help support the ongoing community effort to improve the Battery Street Corridor and mitigate the impacts of the current plan to fill the Battery Street Tunnel. Seattle can’t afford to support this plan to fill the Battery Street Tunnel without demanding improvements. What's the Better Alternative? Battery Street is situated in the heart of Seattle's Belltown neighborhood which connects three popular destinations – Pike Place Market, Seattle Center/Space Needle, and South Lake Union. The Battery Street Corridor runs 7-blocks (between Western Avenue and Denny Way) and offers an opportunity to connect the Central Waterfront to Denny Park while providing new urban space for public recreation, stormwater collection, green street improvements, pedestrian priority zones, and bicycle / bus upgrades. The Current plan to fill the Battery Street Tunnel does not provide for green street improvements or water reclamation solutions, and leaves behind a "dead zone" in the center of Belltown with the potential risk for groundwater contamination impacting Elliot Bay. What are we Doing Now? We are actively working with city officials and community stakeholders to advocate for vital improvements along the Battery Street Corridor which were overlooked in the approved plan. Our proposed improvements would create a clear connector between the Central Waterfront and Denny Park linking it with the heart of Belltown. We are urging officials to include provisions for green stormwater infrastructure and funds for a designed park between Western and 1st Avenue that will retain features of the tunnel’s iconic south portal. We are also asking for bicycle and pedestrian priority treatments, street trees and other features that offer environmental benefits and quality of life improvements for the residents of Seattle. Download Recharge the Battery: Connecting the Central Waterfront to Denny Park You Can Help "Better the Battery" This appeal to the City of Seattle petitions to support proposed improvements for the current Battery Street Tunnel decommissioning plan. These proposed improvements would have minimal impact on viaduct deconstruction, BST decommissioning, and North Surface Reconnection plans – and would better reflect our community needs and sustainable values. Belltown neighbors and Seattle residents need to demand this large public investment in a Battery Street Tunnel landfill do more for the future of our city and the long-term environmental health of the region. Please sign and share this appeal to show your support for improving the Battery Street Corridor, and creating a neighborhood connection between the Central Waterfront and Denny Park.

Recharge the Battery
1,396 supporters
Update posted 5 months ago

Petition to Lauren Matsumoto, Tulsi Gabbard, Senator Gil Riviere, Della Au Belatti, David Ige

To save Mokuleia/Dillingham Ranch from development

Dillingham Ranch Aina LLC, affiliates of Kennedy Wilson INC. are attempting to tear up one of the last known legacy ranches on Oahu by turning it into a subdivision for multi-millionaires. What is now fertile land will become asphalt roads leading to 70 lots and a wastewater treatment plant! These lots being labeled as "farm dwelling" Ag lots will be unaffordable to TRUE farmers who honestly rely on crops annually to make a living for their families. Once construction starts there is no reversing it. THIS DEVELOPMENT SETS OUR FUTURE FOR MOKULEIA IN STONE! Some critical issues: Cultural:  Threat to cultural sites and Hawaiian gathering rights. There is a significant amount of archaeological sites scattered throughout the property of Dilllingham Ranch. Water:     Kennedy Wilson INC has stressed that they will not upgrade the current pipes that lead out from their property to the approximately 100 residential customers who currently solely rely on Dillingham for their water (City water cannot come out this far) in the Mokuleia community. This burden has been put on each individual home owner. Most are elderly and are on fixed incomes. This may force them to sell their property under market value and move from homes that have been in the hands of these families for generations. Sewage:    Kennedy Wilson will have to build a private wastewater treatment plant (WTTP). This alone is a threat to the largest aquifer on our North Shore that runs underground from Dillingham Ranch all the way into Haleiwa's First Hawaiian Bank. If this becomes contaminated it will jeopardize all farmers and future generations to come. As stated in the EIS "the alluvium layer is thin and unable to effectively impede the flow of groundwater to the ocean" (pate 3-15) this could potentially lead to sewage contaminating our beaches.  Traffic Impact:     Traffic will increase along Farrington Hwy which leads up to Kaukonahua Rd. This development will take approximately 10 years to complete, which means current Oahu residents will have to share the road way with a significant amount of semi-trucks, utility vehicles and the already increasing amount of military vehicles. When completed an increase in traffic coming from Dillingham will be a permanent problem with the only resolve being in the hands of future taxpayers NOT KENNEDY WILSON INC! THE EIS CAN BE FOUND ONLINE AT: search under Dillingham Ranch. Comments are a critical part in fighting this. By law Kennedy Wilson must reply to each one! PLEASE PASS THIS MESSAGE ALONG TO EVERYONE AND ANYONE WHO HAS LOVE FOR OUR AINA! IG, FACEBOOK, TWITTER...... PLEASE GET THE WORD OUT!!    

Jennifer Green
8,652 supporters