Neighbors fight back against high-density Fremont development

A proposal to build a high-density apartment building across from B.F. Day Elementary School in Fremont has sparked a particularly loud outcry from neighbors.

How loud? A petition with 155 signatures. 115 public comment letters. And an editorial with the headline, “Even as a newbie, I know tiny apartments don’t belong in Fremont,” that was linked on the home page of the Seattle Times.

The subject of the outcry is a proposal (.pdf) for a 3-story apartment building at 3959 Fremont Ave. N. with 29 units — 26 of those “small efficiency dwelling units” — in the space of two lots. It’s located on the northern edge of the Fremont Urban Village, which allows higher-density zoning.

“On Fremont Avenue, profits can still be made reasonably with a handful of high-density homes like my own instead of a maximum-density sardine can with six times the population on the same amount of land,” writes neighbor Angela Elson in the Times editorial. “(The project) sets a precedent for other venerable neighborhoods facing hatchet jobs to accommodate more and more people.”

Neighbors point out the building has no parking and the entrance is situated on a narrow alleyway, not on Fremont Ave. Complicating matters is all the kids from B.F. Day Elementary who frequent the area, and neighbors are worried that it’s unsafe.

While many proposed developments spark an outcry — we’ve witnessed many of them — these neighbors are particularly well organized. It will be interesting to see how the city responds.


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Uff da
Guest
Uff da

Not only NO, but HELL NO! Is this some monstrosity which is the result of the so called “Grand Bargain” negotiated by accused pedophile Mayor Ed, and bought off on by Mike O’Brien. Oh yes, O’Brien is in the pocket of developers and does not give one whit about District 6, which elected him to Council.

There are limits to increasing density and this goes way beyond reasonableness. No parking, should be enough to kill it outright, and we are getting too large a supply of these micro units, which are essentially unlivable long term.

Timothy
Guest
Timothy

That editorial from the smug writer is the worse.

“I just moved here, you can shut the door now.”

What a whining cry-baby. Yeah, let’s drive-up the cost of housing more by requiring parking. Loser

Dave
Guest
Dave

I love how people think they get to decide what amount of money people get to make with their own property. The irony isn’t lost on me how much NIMBYs sound like “build the wall” Republicans.

#MAGA

Uff da
Guest
Uff da

I’m guessing you young boys (maybe 23-30) live alone, or maybe share a bed with a partner in your 500 square foot efficiency unit. Wait to see what kind of housing stock you need in 10 years or sooner, when you get tired of going out for drinks Thursday night, and then try to figure out where you will go for dinner on the week-end. Perhaps by then Amazon or some other tech outfit will just decide they don’t need you anymore and hire some other 23 year old, or they just decide Seattle is just too expensive a place to have office space.
They have no investment in infrastructure or tooling, so they can move in a heartbeat, leaving Seattle with housing stock maybe nobody wants. Yeah, you guys are great thinkers.

Pat
Guest
Pat

This city is growing and Fremont = downtown Seattle. Those who want to dictate who their neighbors are and how much they make can move to Innis Arden and make room for those of us who can’t afford luxury apartments on our not-tech-career-but-none-the-less-downtown wages. We won’t even mention it as we serve you your burger the next time you come visit.

John
Guest
John

No parking is crazy, this isn’t about affordable living it’s about developers maximizing their profits enabled by the political oligarchy of Seattle. Who ever said you had the right to live any neighborhood you wanted? All the discussions about this come off pretty entitled, we would all like to buy a better house in a prime location that’s not how markets work. You want something different move farther out or change cities, lots of people have to commute in this world.

darrel e.
Guest
darrel e.

Oh, good, more rich people trying to prevent people with less money from sullying their beautiful neighborhood.

darrel e.
Guest
darrel e.

Also, the outrage about capitalism is awfully selective. Why is it an outrageous injustice that people who build homes might make some money? When someone opens a new restaurant or dry cleaner or whatever in the neighborhood, I never see anyone freaking out about how awful it is that they’ll be allowed to potentially make a profit. Why is making money by building homes for people uniquely evil, when most other forms of capitalism don’t seem to bother the same people? I’ve never heard a remotely explanation for this odd discrepancy.

Mina M Atri
Guest
Mina M Atri

I am so sorry ,the way the city is growing without a plan or a place for our young people.This is not the dream we wanted for you,it’s one thing to put one person in to a tiny apt. and force them to live in a cubical. I’d rather see a 2br.apt for sm. Family or roommates.so that people can be with people not in a box.

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John
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John

Fremont is rapidly moving to a place where it not practical to live. Lanes are getting narrower and are being replaced with humongous bicycle lanes on already gridlocked streets. Traffic control is still in the early 20th Century with in-synchronized time clocks controlling signals that don’t even differentiate days of the week. Energy is wasted idling at time clocked controlled intersections. The city is still cutting it’s south end off from the rest of the city bye the Mission Blvd. Freeway connector, known as The Great Wall of Fremont. Much of the day travel is difficult at best and it’s getting worse with every new high density complex is opened. Planning? What planning?

darrel e.
Guest
darrel e.

John, none of the problems you list effect people who choose to live in Fremont without a car. (And there are many of them, and plenty more would love to if they could afford it.) So this is a terrible reason to to ban housing well-suited for people without a car!

In general, I think your attitude reflects a kind of bias many people have but don’t realize. The simple fact is that there are many locations in the city that, because of planning/infrastructure/transit choices governments have made, it’s inconvenient to live without a car. Most carless people accept this–if we choose to live here, it’ll be difficult and inconvenient. That’s just the way it is. Perhaps it’s time for car people to accept the same reality. The vast majority of the region caters to you, your lifestyle has been subsidized considerably in the long history of public resource investments, but maybe there are a few areas in the city where your car-centric lifestyle might not be practical.

SER
Guest
SER

3959 Fremont Ave is a short walk to a grocery store and at least 6 different bus lines (5, 28, 31, 32, 40, 62). There are few areas where the market would justify residences without parking. Local businesses would also likely appreciate knowing that the residents are more likely to shop there rather than just hop in their cars and go outside the neighborhood.

I appreciate the concern from residents that many people who move to apartments without parking still have cars and wind up parking them on side streets, making it difficult for visitors to the area to find parking — a growing concern in Fremont. But I do think a balance can be struck. Frankly, I’ll often just take an Uber/Lyft to a neighborhood where parking is a challenge rather than waste time wondering around looking for parking. I lived in New York for 15 years so I got used to the idea that your own private parking place within the city was a a fantasy (unless you were exceptionally well off) and you got around on public transit or a cab. Seattle isn’t a small town anymore.

david
Guest
david

Exactly, SER. If you think the government should force auto-centric development in this location, you’re basically saying you think it should be illegal for developers to build housing for people without cars pretty much anywhere. Even though nearly a third of apartment dwellers in Seattle don’t have cars, they should all be forced to pay for car storage (which, don’t kid yourself, parking requirements do that) just in case. It’s grotesque.

Kip
Guest
Kip

I think a lot of youngsters who are on the side of developers fancy themselves to be libertarians. They aren’t old enough to remember what a lack of regulations looks like. I, for example, remember when the surface of lake Erie was a glittering sheen of dead fish. I also know what it is like to watch your employees look for housing in Seattle and wish you could pay a higher salary so that they could afford a 435 sq ft apt. where you have to climb into a pipe-like tunnel built into the wall to sleep for $1600/mo. More power to the Fremont neighbors!

Zerb
Guest
Zerb

Not sure some folks here commenting realize that gridlock will affect them, regardless of whether they own a car; until we have transit that is not riding on roads, in traffic, the buses will also be just as stuck in traffic as well. That’s why adding many units/high density can be a problem; there is no real plan for mass transit+ population density increase until 20+ years from now, and what they’re building in 20+ years won’t meet the capacity of tomorrow, since they’re making it to meet today’s transit needs, not tomorrow’s. What an F-ing disaster waiting to happen; one day I’m buying a scooter to get around since 2 wheels will be the only way to move at all at this rate…

Matt
Guest
Matt

One solution is that apartments without parking should only be rented to people who certify that don’t have a car (or that it’s parked in someone else’s garage). That would help. What would really help is to stop treating housing like any other free-market commodity.

Truth
Guest
Truth

@Matt: If that ever comes to fruition (spoiler: it won’t), I foresee a group of hand-wringing NIMBYs going apartment door to apartment door (with pitchforks and torches of course), demanding to see papers for your car. If there are any discrepancies, they will drag your car out in the street and torch it.

Also, nothing makes my morning like reading about someone blaming 5 feet of bike lane (humongous if you’re as naive as John) for Seattle’s traffic woes. You mean if we add 5 ft to every road width in the City, all congestion will just magically disappear? We’ve been so blind!

Concerned Ballard Parent
Guest
Concerned Ballard Parent

I never understood the argument about how apartments without parking should only be rented to people without cars? So the argument is if someone owns a house with a garage they are entitled to street parking only?

Old Ballard f@rt
Guest
Old Ballard f@rt

“I think your attitude reflects a kind of bias many people have but don’t realize. ”

Darrel’s way if saying he’s sooooo much smarter than you. Which also explains why people hate college educated white urbanists so much.

common sense
Guest
common sense

Yeah and people just love old people. That’s why they sit alone in a nursing home after their kids abandon them.

Steve Bj
Guest
Steve Bj

Seems to me that Joni Mitchell had some thing to say about this sort of “progress” –

“Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you’ve got
Till it’s gone
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot”. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=xWwUJH70ubM

Gregory AI
Guest
Gregory AI

that’s pretty ironic Steve BJ, because “putting up a parking lot” would be progress to so many here that like to drive everywhere and have somewhere convenient to park.

Ballard used to be full of parking lots! Driving up 24th (where the old QFC sat waaaay back on the same lot as the current store) you’d see nothing but seas of asphalt wherever you looked! There were parking lots all over the place– was that really paradise??

FFS
Guest
FFS

Oh the humanity! Oh, the parking! FFS, don’t you people realize that requiring parking to be built actually PUTS MORE CARS ON THE ROAD! If you need a place to park your car then you should buy or rent a place with parking. If people are demanding parking, the developers will build it. Parking minimums just subsidize car ownership, forcing people who don’t need parking to pay for those that do.
FFS, just hop on a bike.

Narcissistic Dog Owner
Guest
Narcissistic Dog Owner

I hope this development includes a nice rooftop doggie park for my precious num-nums!

1st Common Sense
Guest

Too many people, not enough space, for anything! A very unattractive place to live especially if you have kiddos. Glad to be recently out of the ghetto!

FredB
Guest
FredB

This is not “high-density.” Go to Belltown for high density. This project helps diversify our housing stock, which is great.
Oh, and that Seattle Times op-ed writer was pretty darn smug.