Neighbors want 5-year delay in City Light’s plan to sell properties

Ballard neighbors who attended last night’s community meeting with Seattle City Light asked the city for a lengthy delay in plans to sell seven surplus properties.

More than 20 people commented at the meeting, and neighbors’ concerns mirrored earlier feedback from Groundswell NW and the Seattle Green Spaces Coalition: the neighborhood needs more time to evaluate potential options for community use.

Ballard writer Peggy Sturdivant commented at the meeting, and she sent us this account:

In perhaps the most straightforward comment of the evening, Dean Hoshizaki asked for a show of hands as to how many in the audience thought the substations should stay in public hands. Most raised the hands and he said, “Let the record show it’s unanimous.” With his follow-up as to whether the audience would choose between sale to a church, club, organization or non-profit, he said, “Let the record show it is about 70%.”

Many speakers called for Loyal Heights in particular to be retained for open space/potential park, especially in light of exceptional trees on-site and interest from the adjoining owners in “making it happen.”

The twelve-year tenant of the only commercially zoned parcel, the 14th & Leary site (Auto Connectors NW) and their supporters asked for the businesses there to be allowed to continue benefitting Ballard as employers and revenue providers.

Anne Brink O’Leary had created a diagram (above) showing how many trees could be planted, especially given an arborist’s comment that the City of Seattle has determined that we are not meeting tree canopy goals. The number was 405. Robert Drucker, who was involved with a former planning effort for the Sunset Substation commented on the fact that City Council changed the disposition rules, reducing notification area and need to align with neighborhood plans. The closing speaker identified herself as a Fremont renter with a two-year old who spoke to the necessity of having small nearby open spaces for the increasing number of rental families without vehicles.

No one made public comment in favor of selling the substations at the hearing. Consensus was that sale at this time would be short-sighted and not justified by the estimated revenue. Whether for continued tenancy, affordable housing, parks, P-Patches or green space, all of the public comments asked for a delay of five years on the sale of these properties and greater effort in community outreach during the process.

Today is the last day to file for public comment in writing. Comments can be sent to and

9 comments on “Neighbors want 5-year delay in City Light’s plan to sell properties”

  1. Well done! I only made my public comment in favor of saving the Green Spaces, do I can’t do it again, I think. But please keep encouraging people to get involved!

  2. A P-Patch would be great! The wait lists for plots are years long, and a community garden is a great addition to any neighborhood. Not sure if it will get enough sun, but one can always grow kale.

  3. You want trees, move to the countryside. This is a city. You want to help the environment, stop sprawl, and keep housing costs down? Build dense housing.

    The hypocrisy’s of the old left in Seattle is as breathtaking as their skyrocketing home values (which they seem to love).

  4. ” Most raised the hands and he said, “Let the record show it’s unanimous.” ”

    Why not have a web poll and really make it feel “democratic”.

  5. There is no reason why a city can’t have trees and green spaces. Trees help clean the air. Open spaces give neighbors a place to walk their dogs. They give children a place to play.
    I agree with building dense housing. Urban sprawl is a terrible ugly thing that eats up farm land and wild places. Housing costs in Seattle are out of reach of many people and many of us have become homeless. We need to make the developers pay the City so we can provide affordable housing for residents who may not draw high salaries like people who are moving here to take jobs at the big companies like Amazon and Microsoft. Developers are making huge profits buying up single family homes and building three-story townhouses. They can afford to pay fees to provide affordable housing.
    I get daily letters containing offers for my property in Crown Hill. The last one contained the news that the City is considering imposing fees for affordable housing, and if I wanted to maximize my profits, I should consider selling as soon as I could. They said I should travel the world or send my children to college. I have to laugh. I have no children and I am going to stay right here as long as I can. In 20 or 30 years, when my heirs sell the property, I am certain it will be worth even more. For one thing, my neighbors and I built a pocket park next door ten years ago. It makes my house worth even more.
    We need to keep amenities like parks and pea patches in order to keep the amazing quality of life we have in Seattle. We can do this by building UP, not OUT.

  6. “I am certain it will be worth even more.”

    Of course your house will be worth more, especially if you fight new development and pretend a few trees in Seattle will save the planet.

    Classic NIMBY.

    You think you’re a “liberal” but in the end, all you care about is “I am certain it will be worth even more.”

  7. We are living beings. To thrive, we need a healthy environment. That means clean air, clean water, places for outdoor recreation, places to sit under a tree. Even an urban ecosystem has to be healthy.
    Ballard’s tree canopy is only 7%. The City has a goal of 40%, but has no plans to reach that goal in Ballard! Some of these sites have had trees for decades. Losing them means we’d have even less tree canopy.

  8. Thank you for your response.
    You do not know me, and your wild guesses about my motivation miss the mark.
    What matters to me is the quality of life in Seattle.
    Green spaces contribute to better lives for people who live here, and children who are raised here.
    Your political opinions are interfering with your perception of reality.
    Go for a walk in one of our local parks; walk on a Puget Sound beach; climb a local mountain trail. It will help clear your mind.

  9. You live in a city. Want clean air? Drive less and build more homes, more densely, in the city so people can live near their work and not commute. I bet everyone drove their Subarus to this meeting to help prevent more housing being built for folks who need it.

    The hypocrisy of rich, white “environmentalists” who think saving a half dozen trees is better for the planet than sprawl and high housing costs.

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