Back when everyone was beefing over the bill to require density around transit stations, one of the biggest beefs was the issue of local control. As Councilmember Sally Clark (who remained neutral on the bill) put it, "I'm a believer in the sanctity of grassroots urban planning."
With the bill dead, grassroots urban planning it shall be--at least for now. Tomorrow night, Sound Transit will hold a meeting to get community input on what development around the Capitol Hill station should look like (Seattle Central Community College, room 4106, 6-8 PM). Such input has already led the agency has adjust its design plans to allow for more development. Notes a press release sent out by King County Councilmember Larry Phillips yesterday:
[F]eedback resulted in design refinements that enhanced transit-oriented development opportunities around the station entrances. Those refinements include reducing the size of the station entrances, allowing buildings over the station box, shifting the station vent location, and extending Nagle Place to increase site access. These changes have resulted in a substantial increase in the amount of property that will be available for redevelopment after construction.
Perhaps station design is different because it doesn't involve height limits, but community demand for more density marks a departure from the debates over the 2005 Broadway upzone, which many community activists opposed.
Of course, Capitol Hill is already an urbanized, walkable area, so at this point, discussions of how to make best use of a transit station are in a way just tinkering (albeit wise and necessary tinkering, given the opportunity and cost of the investment). Beacon Hill, by contrast, is not so walkable. (Walkscore ranked it Seattle's 49th most walkable neighborhood. As a First Hill resident, I remain bitter that they got a station and we didn't.)
So on Saturday, Beacon Hill will have its own meeting--sponsored by the city--to review its neighborhood plan (9 AM - 2 PM, El Centro de la Raza). According to Beacon Hill Blog, this is a follow-up on a pancake breakfast last year in which Beaconites(?) made a long list of what they want from their neighborhood (.pdf). Sadly, pancakes won't be served at this one.