Yesterday Nina Shapiro continued with her ongoing coverage of Seattle developers utilizing a zoning code loophole to build big-ass houses on small-ass, backyard lots. On Monday, the Seattle City Council unanimously approved a measure that will immediately suspend the loophole that has allowed Duffus, and an array of other builders, to erect three-story houses on undersized lots throughout the city.
As the post notes:
The emergency legislation, put forward by Richard Conlin and following a Seattle Weekly cover story on such development, created a storm in recent days.
A slew of media quickly put together stories on the controversy. Tangletown resident Peter Krause, who has been galvanizing opposition to backyard homes ever since one began going up a couple doors down from him, says he woke up at 4:30 yesterday morning to find a news crew broadcasting on his street.
"Quickly shaved, popped a breath mint and did an on-air interview at 4:45," he says. Krause and neighbors like him hold that such projects are monstrosities that block their sunlight and privacy.
Some bloggers, though, have reacted negatively to Conlin's measure, saying, like Duffus, that undersized lots allow for urban density in a city bereft of building space. (See posts in PubliCola and the Seattle Transit Blog.)
Meanwhile, Duffus has been circulating an e-mail in the real estate community, calling the bill a "taking" without "due process" that would most severely impact senior citizens (his reasoning being that seniors own many of the lots that are being subdivided). He asked for help in lobbying the council.
The Seattle City Council's decision, while not without its critics, was lauded by at least one Daily Weekly commenter.
Commenter conemo writes:
Thank goodness the greed has been stopped. Thank you City Council for standing up to the practices of developers like Dan Duffus.