I had the wonderful opportunity to give a summary of the changes to the comp plan to a gathering of Neighbors for More Neighbors recently. Here’s what I said:
The second draft of the comp plan is out. A “wide spectrum” of comments were received, and our comments were heard. I’d like to give a huge shout out to all my friends who commented “ban cars”. The other end of the spectrum also had their comments heard. Many of our requested improvements and changes were not implemented, though some of them were.
From the Executive Summary, a few key takeaways:
- Fourplexes everywhere is now threeplexes everywhere. This is because of the requirements to stay within the overall requirements that currently apply to detached single family homes. Boo.
- Corridors in North and South, north of Lowry Ave and south of 38th St, now have 4 story limits instead of 6 stories, and the corresponding interior areas there are now 2.5 stories. Boo again.
More details that I took from the second draft:
- Sustainability language was added to the visual quality of new development. (+)
- Softened language around storefronts of taller buildings. (~)
- Shadowing is a concern now. (-)
- Softened language around solar access, which addresses my concern about people installing solar panels to block new development. (+)
- Snowmelt paths and preventing re-freezing of paths are concerns now (++)
- The elimination of off-street parking minimums is still there, and parking maximums are set to be evaluated (hopefully lowered) (+)
- Driveways and curb cuts are addressed positively regarding new developments (+)
- NOAH (Naturally Occuring Affordable Housing) is defined now, and is better addressed than it was before. (+)
Whether you’re passionate about supporting the comp plan because of climate concerns (did anyone have the stomach to read that climate report?), addressing racial injustices, addressing the looming housing crisis, or just seeing the way forward – there are a million reasons we all said it didn’t go far enough in the initial version. This draft has been watered down, but it’s still good. It’s still worth supporting.
We know there’re people who will oppose any change to the status quo. They are loud, and powerful, and they know how to use their privilege. The comp plan in its current form will be threatening to them. That’s why we need to show up to support it.
Some actions you can take to support it, as suggested by Lauren and Janne:
- Email the mayor, email the whole city council. Tell them your story. Tell them why it matters to you. Tell them that a 13-0 vote is not in our best interests as a city.
- Show up to testify at the planning commission, on 10/26. Or show up to testify at city council, on 11/12.