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Over 100 locals express concern about development at CBRA meeting

Posted by Danielle Anthony-Goodwin on May 13th, 2014

CBRA Meeting PhotoLast week’s CBRA meeting was well attended by over 100 local residents who were there to express their concerns about the future of Ballard development to Council Member Mike O’Brien.

Council Member O’Brien chairs the City Council’s Planning Land Use and Sustainability (PLUS) committee that will be soon considering and evaluating legislation regarding new micro-housing regulations and Low Rise Multi-Family Code Corrections.

“There were several hundred people there, with many standing and others spilling out into the corridor,” says My Ballard reader Rob Lewis who attended the meeting.

According to Lewis, although Council Member O’Brien answered land use related questions for over an hour, many attendees did not get their chance to have their issues addressed.

During the meeting attendees raised concerns regarding cuts to transit and developer impact fees, issues surrounding development and parking, micro-housing, problems with Low Rise zoning, and the need for better public involvement in land use decisions.

“The crowd was clearly upset, but generally polite and gracious.  CBRA President Mike Kahrs did a great job of moderating and keeping order,” says Lewis.

Mondoman posted his thoughts from the meeting on the My Ballard forum:

I was especially interested by one audience suggestion that I think makes a lot of sense. Ballard has *already achieved* more than 200% of its residential growth goals for the mid-2020s, but seen not an increase but a reduction in transit and so forth.

What were your thoughts from the meeting? Email them to us at tips@myballard.com

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30 reader comments so far ↓

  • 1 Kylek // May 13, 2014 at 4:10 pm

    My Ballard slant aside — I’m interested to see what comes out of their online survey. No offense, but the average age in Ballard is 39. I don’t think I see a single person under 50 in that picture.

  • 2 Seattleslew // May 13, 2014 at 4:51 pm

    Though that would most likely be because people over 50 are more likely to vote and be involved in their communities…the people under 50 were just as free to show up at that meeting as the over-50s.

  • 3 Glenn Roberts // May 13, 2014 at 5:52 pm

    500 people showed up for a meeting with the city about over-development in Roosevelt two years ago. The city and the developers took notes and carefully extracted their vision of what the residents wanted and gave the developers the big go-ahead.
    Development is supposed to lower rents(it doesn’t), it does give work to many and it does fill the cities coffers with cash as well as giving the DPD the reason it needs to hire back many of the jobs they laid off back in 2008+.
    So, it’s unlikely that the concerns of the over 50 crowd will be realized despite the well intentioned engagement by the city.
    If the residents who like Ballard (now only 25% owners) could offer the city $100,000 every few months, saving Ballard would have a chance. Too late. What community is next?

  • 4 Profile photo of Mondoman Mondoman // May 13, 2014 at 8:34 pm

    Kyle – online survey? Perhaps you’re thinking of the Wednesday DPD Urban Design meeting instead?
    Glenn, one thing that has changed recently is that Council members will now mostly be elected on a by-district basis. That tends to make them more responsive to their immediate constituents’ concerns — even the non-owners.

    PS – I had a 7-year-old boy in front of me. The photo in the article only shows 1/3-1/4 of the meeting room.

  • 5 Vaughn // May 13, 2014 at 10:12 pm

    Glenn, you are totally bumming me out man. In all seriousness, this wasn’t a formal meeting with the city. It was Council Member O’Brien making a presentation to the Central Ballard Residents Association, usually about 20 to 30 people (mostly over 60, Kyle).

    Two hundred or so others gate crashed at the invitation of Livable Ballard to help make sure O’Brien, who is currently chair of the Council’s PLUS committee, was aware that folks are concerned with what’s happening in the neighborhood. He clearly got the message. Whether he’ll do anything about it is another matter.

    It may be that the end result is that O’Brien decides to run citywide, rather than for District 6, which includes Fremont (where he lives) and Ballard.

    DPD is a huge source of frustration and came up several times at the meeting, leading O’Brien to say at one point that he didn’t know many people who worked at DPD, but the ones he did know seemed nice and well-intentioned.

  • 6 Youngin // May 14, 2014 at 6:30 am

    I think all those old people should just move up to Edmonds or something.

    Clearly, Ballard is too hip for them.

  • 7 Anon // May 14, 2014 at 8:40 am

    Give Ballard true mass transit, via grade separated light rail. Until then, complete moratorium on development.

    I don’t mind smart development. Development without thought to transportation isn’t smart development.

  • 8 Uncle Pete // May 14, 2014 at 8:42 am

    Ballard hip? LMAO. The people buying these cookie cutter condos or paying high priced rent in these cheaply constructed apartments should go take a long walk off a short dock. Corny hipster white folk, smh

  • 9 Kylek // May 14, 2014 at 9:54 am

    Mondoman — Correct, I was confused about the context.

    Anon — I couldnt agree more about building rail to Ballard. Its long overdue. Though I disagree about it as a condition for development, its probably a moot point. 2014/2015 will likely see overdevepment, stabilized rents, and will lead to the end of this develpment cycle.

    Others, you couldnt be more correct. Ballard is horrible. No one wants to live here… its too crowded.

  • 10 Kylek // May 14, 2014 at 10:28 am

    SeattleSlew.
    Like I said, no offence. Older people are more likely to show up at these things and more likely to vote, you are correct. My only point was that this group is not representative of Ballard residents (or even Ballard voters) for that reason because they are so clearly skewed older. Average age of 39 and trending younger/more urban minded.

  • 11 Sam // May 14, 2014 at 10:42 am

    “the average age in Ballard is 39″

    Yes, because what about the pro-density 2 year olds?

  • 12 Ballard Homeowner // May 14, 2014 at 10:49 am

    As someone under 50 – a Ballard resident in his 30 with a kid – I can say the timing of this meeting (early evening on a school night) pretty much ensured that the next generation of Ballard would not be able to attend. I submitted my comments online and I suspect most of us in that same boat did too. Asking for more parking is honestly pretty foolish, driving in Seattle is actually declining. We need more real grade-separated mass transit and if we want affordability there has to be increased density. We can’t lower demand for what has become a great place to live.

  • 13 yayunicorns // May 14, 2014 at 12:25 pm

    I’m 35 and I was there. Pretty sure the couple who were 5th gen ballardites were under 40 too. And the lady from my yoga class. And….

    Kylek, you would’ve known this if YOU came to the meeting.

  • 14 Mike Kahrs // May 14, 2014 at 1:56 pm

    I want everyone to know that no one “gate crashes” our meetings because all our meetings are open to the public. We know that land use is a big topic in Ballard and has been for the past few years and that the meeting would be well attended by both members and non-members. All Ballardites, members or otherwise, are welcome to come to our meetings.

    For those concerned about microhousing, there is a City Council landuse committee meeting the 19th at 5:30 on the proposed microhousing zoning changes downtown.

    Mike Kahrs, CBRA President

  • 15 yayunicorns // May 14, 2014 at 2:34 pm

    @Mike Kahrs. Can you tell myBallard to post when and where the next meeting will be? You said the date, but not the location. And a lot of people don’t read these comments to know there’s another meeting. Thanks!

  • 16 Strangel00p // May 14, 2014 at 2:39 pm

    Yes, Ballard Homeowner! I’m even 49 and my husband is 50 (gasp!) with a kid and we support development that includes better mass transit (with light rail), separated bike lanes, and low-income housing.

  • 17 Strangel00p // May 14, 2014 at 2:40 pm

    Any meeting like this is sure to bring out negative opinions. People who are fine with the way things are are simply less motivated. I bet O’Brien knows this, so keep that in mind.

  • 18 Norse // May 14, 2014 at 4:52 pm

    yayunicorns – The next meeting is on 5/19 @ 5:30 pm in the Bertha Landes room at City Hall.

    The meeting is concerning microhousing and small lot development.

  • 19 Eve Austin // May 14, 2014 at 4:58 pm

    Where do the statistics come from that only 25% of the dwellings in Ballard are owned? It appears to me that the city has overbuilt here because half of the apartments aren’t even lived in. The eyesore on Market and 24th is a joke. And, since when does having bars everywhere constitute hip? Lastly, the increased building of four townhomes on a space where one home once stood, in a nice family neighborhood of Ballard, is just greed. There is no other way to put it. Ballard is getting a really bad reputation, but we still have time to put a stop to it.

  • 20 john // May 14, 2014 at 6:31 pm

    It is entirely too late to save ballard, The place is a nightmare!

  • 21 Sam // May 14, 2014 at 8:07 pm

    “The place is a nightmare!”

    No doubt, and all these people keep moving here! What gives?

    And will some think for one second about the poor cars?

  • 22 KyleK // May 14, 2014 at 8:48 pm

    Sam — Here is some demographics information from 2010. Ballard has trended younger since then. At the time, 39 was both the median, the mean, and the most common age, actually.

    http://www.city-data.com/zips/98117.html

  • 23 Ballard Mom // May 14, 2014 at 9:33 pm

    Ah now you’re saying median age, not average age. Keep changing lanes honey.

    Not to worry, you’re an urbanist and developer shill, we can tell you’re lying because your lips are moving.

  • 24 Vaughn // May 14, 2014 at 10:00 pm

    Just to state the obvious: it was a very representative crowd. It was representative of the CBRA membership and folks who are concerned about development. And, yes, O’Brien did say he hears from folks with different opinions.

    In fact, it’s hardly a secret that O’Brien’s constituency is primarily the pro-density environmental community. That’s one of the reasons why it was important for folks to turn out and show there is another perspective. The other reason is I think he’s smart enough to recognize that not all growth is created equally and that his agenda (and the community) is better served by enacting good legislation, closing loopholes, and addressing unintended consequences.

  • 25 Youngin // May 14, 2014 at 10:23 pm

    It’s too late to ‘save’ Ballard.
    That is a joke in itself.

    And yes, many bars = hip.

    Get with it, square momma.

  • 26 KyleK // May 15, 2014 at 8:48 am

    Ballard Mom: I provided backup to what I was saying, its called “facts.” Just because you don’t like them doesnt make them lies. Also: Mean = average”, FYI.

    Vaughn: All true. My initial comment was based on my confusion about what the post was referring to before I accidentally engaged Sam and Ballard Mom in a flat earth discussion.

  • 27 Norse // May 15, 2014 at 1:21 pm

    yayunicorns — My mistake on the location — it is now in the City Council Chambers, 2nd floor at City Hall. Time is 5:30 pm

  • 28 Copperluvr // May 15, 2014 at 11:34 pm

    I imagine Ballard is trendy and urban and “too hip” to someone from Ellensburg or Yakima. However, Ballard is a suburban area, confined to a couple of blocks,

    with poor planning for what has happened to it in the past 5-6 years. Just look at the nightmare of an intersection of Market and 24th. And talk to the folks who bought small condos (compared to the tiny condos being sold now). During the past 10 years, many lost thousands of dollars on their homes within a year of purchase.

    Being older gives you that perspective. Stereotyping is a sign of ignorance.

  • 29 Eve Austin // May 21, 2014 at 2:55 pm

    Kyle, It appears that your data covers only 98117. Where is the data from 98107? These are both Ballard zip codes. And, you still haven’t addressed all of the empty apartments in Ballard. Additionally, if people are so excited to hang around bars and what you consider a “hip” area, why don’t you move to Bell town. You obviously aren’t married or have children or you would be more considerate of them in this area.

  • 30 Kylek // May 21, 2014 at 3:33 pm

    Eve.

    I never said anything about Ballard being hip. I only provided some demographic information for Ballard and noted that the picture was a thin slice of that demo.

    Absolutely correct about the zip, I missed that it was only looking at 98117. People in 98107 are significantly younger.

    http://www.movoto.com/seattle-wa/98107/demographics/

    I don’t know what your Belltown comment means or your married with kids comment means. Both comments seem to suggest I’m some kind of interloper. This aspersion is the very weakest of all internet ad-hominen arguments.

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