Morning Crank: The Common Canard

1. Perhaps emboldened by the Queen Anne Community Council’s successful effort to delay a proposal making it easier for homeowners to build backyard cottages, a group of Phinney Ridge homeowners plan to appeal an environmental ruling allowing a four-story apartment building on Greenwood Avenue. The attorney for these homeowners, Jeffrey Eustis, also represented the Queen Anne council and homeowner Marty Kaplan in their effort to shut down the backyard cottage rules.

livable-phinney

Image from livablephinney.org

I reported last year on the intense furor over the building, which would add 57 new studio apartments to a commercial stretch of Greenwood. The project has already been through a nearly unprecedented four design reviews, after neighbors objected about details like the lack of washers and dryers in each unit, the fact that the units will lack air conditioning, and the lack of onsite parking for residents. Neighbors also objected to the modern style of the building and the fact that the people who rent there would be “forced” to live in tight quarters.

In a letter addressed to “friends and neighbors” of the development, the group writes, “Our appeal will tackle a major error in the city’s environmental policy code that allows developers to impose the impacts of their no-parking projects on the surrounding homeowners and small businesses that depend on street parking for their customers.  Even the error-filled parking studies submitted for this permit prove that there is NO MORE CAPCITY [sic] for parking cars within blocks of the site.  Those of you who commute by the #5 bus also know that the bus is already OVERCROWDED.  We need to challenge these developments until there is adequate transit and parking provided to meet the new demand they create. That is fair growth.” [Bold in original]

The appeal asks the Seattle hearing examiner to reject the development on the grounds that it violates the State Environmental Policy Act by creating an adverse environmental impact on the surrounding area. Put more plainly: Among other claims, it charges that homeowners and small businesses will be inconvenienced because it will become harder for them to park their cars. This assumption rests on the common canard that everyone in a city must own at least a car or two, when in reality, people who live in tiny studios on bus lines in cities are far less likely to drive than, say, homeowners who live in large houses with driveways and capacious parking garages.

2. Learn to trust the Crank: Yesterday, I reported that Seattle Public School director Stephan Blanford was considering a run for the Position 8 city council seat being vacated by Tim Burgess next year. (Several candidates, including former Tenants Union director and erstwhile Burgess opponent Jon Grant, have already filed for the November 2017 election). Yesterday, Blanford got back to me to confirm that he is “giving serious consideration” to running. “After 3.5 years on the school board, I have many factors to weigh, but my progressive values and ability to bring people together to work on tough issues like Seattle Schools’ opportunity gaps leaves me feeling like it might be a good fit,” Blanford writes. “I’m working through my process now, and looking at all of the options before me.”

3. Two nights ago, in a unanimous vote, the Mercer Island City Council decided to sue Sound Transit and the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT), alleging breach of contract over a 1976 agreement that granted Island residents the ability to drive solo in the I-90 high-occupancy vehicle lanes. The lawsuit seeks to halt Sound Transit’s plans to close one of the island’s three single-occupancy access points to I-90, requiring Islanders to do what everyone else in the region does when they want to drive alone: Drive to the entrance to the freeway and sit in traffic. (The new rail station provides an excellent alternative for commuters, and people who choose to carpool or take the bus will still be able to use the HOV lanes).

Yesterday, Sound Transit CEO Peter Rogoff responded to the lawsuit. In a statement, Rogoff said:

“Legal agreements dating back to before the I-90 floating bridge was even built dedicated the center lanes for public transit. More than eight years ago regional voters approved the funding to build the East Link light rail project on those lanes. It is highly regrettable that the City of Mercer Island is now attempting to delay the project in mid-construction. Neither the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) nor Sound Transit are empowered to reverse the Federal Highway Administration’s decisions regarding access by single-occupant Mercer Island traffic to the new HOV lanes across Lake Washington. These lanes are on schedule to open in June, enabling us to stay on schedule constructing light rail. While Sound Transit remains ready to reach solutions through negotiations, the agency will take all legal actions necessary to avoid delays or increased costs to taxpayers in fulfilling our promise to voters to complete East Link. Building fast and reliable light rail service across Lake Washington is not only a commitment to the residents of Bellevue, Redmond, Mercer Island and Seattle but to every resident of the Sound Transit District. Delays to the East Link project pose significant risks of increased costs to regional taxpayers and significant delays to opening the project in 2023.”

If you enjoy the work I do here at The C Is for Crank, please consider becoming a sustaining supporter of the site! For just $5, $10, or $20 a month (or whatever you can give), you can help keep this site going, and help me continue to dedicate the many hours it takes to bring you stories like this one every week. This site is funded entirely by contributions from readers, which pay for the substantial time I put into it as well as costs like transportation, equipment, travel costs, website maintenance, and other expenses associated with my reporting. Thank you for reading, and I’m truly grateful for your support.

45 thoughts on “Morning Crank: The Common Canard

  1. Pingback: Morning Crank: Kind of the Magic of the Place | The C Is for crank

  2. “I appreciate that you’re now being explicit about your desire to transform a public resource into a private good, because it’s convenient for you to do so. ”

    This comment made every minute I’ve ever spent reading comments worthwhie.

    Like

  3. “But the presence of SFH zoning, restrictions on density in the name of livability or even “charm”,… these things do not prejudice, and especially not on the grounds of race, age or sex.”

    Actually, they do. Been obvious since the idea came up:

    Sometimes forgotten in light of the Court’s decisive opinion in Euclid
    is the decision of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District
    of Ohio, which the Court overturned.59 In a decision holding that Euclid’s
    zoning ordinance violated the Due Process Clause, Judge Westenhaven
    saw past the facts of the instant case, which involved a
    property owner that wished to use its land for industrial purposes, to
    write that “the result to be accomplished is to classify the population
    and segregate them according to their income or situation in life.”60
    The only reason why one household might live in a mansion, another
    in a duplex, and a third in an apartment, Judge Westenhaven concluded,
    was socioeconomic status.61 Thus, economic exclusion and, by
    extension, racial exclusion, were at the heart of zoning from its inception.
    And, though Judge Westenhaven’s opinion reflected the prevailing
    white supremacism of his times in suggesting that the Louisville
    ordinance struck down in Buchanan might have been more justifiable
    than Euclid’s ordinance,62 it was clear at the time that economic exclusion
    meant racial and ethnic exclusion, as well.63 (from http://scholarworks.law.ubalt.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1048&context=ubjld )

    Like

      • Not in this case. HUD 2013:

        Exclusionary zoning is a major barrier to unrestricted residential choice. Exclusionary
        zoning is any land-use practice, such as minimum lot-size zoning or a growth control that raises
        housing prices by restricting the supply of buildable land or the size of buildings that can be
        constructed on available land. Protecting the environmental assets of a locality is usually the
        primary stated motivation for such zoning practices. However, an unintended indirect effect, or
        even an explicit motivation for a zoning practice may be to make housing less affordable. There
        may be a fiscal motivation for exclusionary zoning, as lower-income households may cost a
        locality more in services than they contribute in tax revenue, or there may be a fundamental
        opposition to socio-economic integration. Whatever the rationale, raising the cost of housing is
        one means of excluding marginal renters and homeowners, which include lower-income
        populations (from https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=HUD-2013-0066-0002)

        Like

      • But how much have they changed in this case? You’ve got a neighborhood made up of mostly wealthy homeowners, some of whom are fighting to make sure they don’t have to share their neighborhood with people who can only afford very small studios without laundry, parking, etc. What’s changed is that those people are claiming they have other motives, beyond simply keeping poor people out. But if they’re successful, they’ll have achieved greater socio-economic segregation in Seattle, by ensuring there is nowhere for people with less income to live in Phinney Ridge. Whether that’s their primary goal, secondary goal, or indirect consequence of their campaign, it’s a straightforward fact they’re fighting for economic segregation.

        Like

  4. I thought the “no parking required” rule only applied to areas around light rail stations or similar great bus service. This building is served with just one bus route. It’s a false notion that most of the tenants will have no automobiles.

    Like

    • There are more costs to increased density than just loss of parking and demand for transit. Sewers, for example. They are kinda nice to have…

      Like

    • My understanding, although I could be wrong, is that the rule you speak of turned on the frequency and span of service, not the presence of multiple routes. With the recent upgrades, the 5 surely qualifies; it has 15 minute or better frequencies for 17+ hours a day on weekdays, and around 15 hours a day on weekends, and an overall span of service of almost 20 hours a day.

      The building is slightly less than 1/2 mile walk to the nearest E stop. Probably not close enough to count for that rule, but certainly close enough to use. The E has even more frequent service, connects to a wider array of destinations to the North, and has a 24 hour span of service. The hill isn’t for everyone, but in all likelihood the building will attract many young and able-bodied folk who can make use of the E as well. Speaking as someone who has always relied on transit in Seattle, I would consider it an attractive location.

      Like

  5. “However; as the article states, there is more demand for low income housing in Seattle than supply”

    People holding up new affordable housing because OUR PARKING agree there’s not enough, try to hold it up anyway. smh

    Like

    • Bryan, I’ve enjoyed hearing your perspective. You’ve clearly arrived at this place through experience, some study, and deep thought about what you’d like to see Seattle look like.

      Having lived here five decades I’d like to point out that we are discussing how the city should react to a surge in demand. Demand works in funny ways, but it does in part take feedback from supply.

      You suggest that we should adjust the economic landscape of the city to adjust to this moment’s demand and to right a historical wrong which you say is ongoing. You also feel that economic rent-seekers are driving nearly all policy contrary to yours. Sometimes it’s greedy landlords, other times it’s homeowners defending what they call a “lifestyle” and what you call “equity in their investment.,” but no matter what it’s sucking economics away from, I guess, people who work rather than invest?

      I suggest that we should adjust the supply of our city based on what we want our city to look like. That will attract demand. You want x% of units to be affordable at 60% AMI and doled out by politicians to public servants and teachers? OK. You want better transportation to areas with workforce housing? OK, there’s an idea. But the fundamental mistake you are making Bryan is that you are reacting to the demand in the market today and deciding how to change the infrastructure of the city based on a moment in time. Urban planning takes planning. Decisions are made, certain things are won and certain things are lost, there are tradeoffs but it is part of a plan. Your sole goal seems to be lowered rent, lowered housing cost and increased density in the urban core of Seattle. There are cities like that. Omaha, Kansas City, Chicago, Raleigh, Denver, Minneapolis. But these cities are usually looking for diversity for their economic engines, or have large employers who depend on a certain cost of labor. Seattle has always attracted free spirits, entrepreneurs and innovators. Maybe it’s the weather, maybe it’s the log lady, maybe it’s the weed we’ve been growing here for over 100 years now. I dunno, but one thing we really don’t need is a way to bring more people here in commodity-type increased density housing. Making that sort of housing will bring more people. And by the way, rent won’t go down.

      Like

      • Thank you for the kind words.

        At root, I want every city to a place where people can live near good jobs, because until we make drastic changes to the way things work, basically people need to work to live.

        Some cities have a problem: not enough good jobs. Hard to solve.

        Some cities have a different problem: lots of good jobs, but not enough housing. That’s easy to solve. More housing!

        9X% of people don’t move for housing, they move for jobs, because 9X% of people can afford
        approximately nothing without a regular paycheck.

        When I see the phrase “what we’d like Seattle to look like” I don’t think buildings and lot sizes. I see people at all levels of income being able to live near good jobs. Maybe that means we look more like Topeka. Maybe that means we look more like Paris. Today making this a reality, given our population, job base, and landmass, looks like something more dense than what Seattle is today, but way less dense than Paris.

        Like

      • Your sole goal seems to be lowered rent, lowered housing cost and increased density in the urban core of Seattle.

        You’re aware that Seattle was just found to be the 9th most expensive city in the world for rent, right? If you had the great good fortune to buy your home some time ago, you’re protected from that gruesome fact.

        http://www.kiro7.com/news/local/seattle-listed-as-5th-most-expensive-city-in-us-for-renters/494907578

        Seattle has always attracted free spirits, entrepreneurs and innovators.

        one thing we really don’t need is a way to bring more people here in commodity-type increased density housing.

        If you want the former to continue to be true, you need to re-think the latter view. “Commodity-type” housing is just housing–it’s what well over 90% of our housing stock is. If the dreamers and innovators are going to come here, that’s where they’re going to live. If we go down the road you’re suggesting–restricting housing and driving up the price of it–we’re going to make life more and more brutal for renters (and buyers) who aren’t wealthy. Eventually the dreamers and innovators will go somewhere else, and Seattle will be restricted people with very good, high-paying jobs and trust-funders, and the low and middle income workers in the city will be condemned to lenghy commutes. That’s a high price to pay to satisfy your disdain for your free parking being slightly less convenient.

        Like

  6. Seems like at this point we should be able to settle the question of how many renters in a building like this actually own cars with actual real world data and not speculation. Is the Janus apartment building across from the Greenwood Fred Meyer occupied yet? It would be a good benchmark, but others are surely available as well. Just have the DOL pull the stats on how many cars are registered to addresses in those buildings.

    We also need serious developer impact fees like other neighboring municipalities have. It shouldn’t be cheaper to develop a building like this in Seattle than Bellevue but it is because we don’t expect developers to contribute to expanding infrastructure when they profit from the opportunity provided by upzoning. What will it cost to add 4 or 5 more runs of the maxed-out 5 bus route during peak hours? Shouldn’t those who profit from creating the additional load on transit contribute to addressing the problem?

    Like

    • Suburbs have impact fees because to bring a building online they have to build new physical infrastructure. That is not the case in Seattle.

      “Human beings” cause a need for more bus service, not buildings. So the implication is people should have to pay some sort of entry fee to live here.

      Bus service, sewer service etc are funded by ongoing taxes, so as soon as somebody starts living here they are paying into the cost of operating all that–no fees needed.

      Like

      • Increased sewer capacities are not covered by taxes. in fact in Seattle the cost of sewers is not covered by taxes at all, it is covered by utility bills. But when we reach breakpoints that require increased capacity, rates for all increase. yes, in the very long run, there is really no higher marginal cost for extra capacity but in the short run, we reach break points and additional charges come on line for everyone in order to increase capacity. We’ve dealt with sewer systems. There are no further economies of scale after you have a system the size of Seattle’s but there are increased costs to expanding capacity in a dense city (purchase of ROWs, siting of equipment, increased power capacity).

        Like

    • “Is the Janus apartment building across from the Greenwood Fred Meyer occupied yet? It would be a good benchmark, but others are surely available as well.”

      That wouldn’t be a good benchmark at all. Janus is providing much larger apartments (their smallest studio is a fair bit larger than the largest apartment planned for Phinney Flats) with a lot more amenities at a much higher price point, and they’re providing a good deal of (expensive!) underground parking.

      Like

  7. Add parking to the project. That’s the simple request. 35 additional cars, ( a number we could quibble about indefinitely) is going to be a major problem for the neighbors. That’s the street parking capacity of the two blocks of Phinney Ave between N 67th St and N 70th St. (There is no N 69th St) Where are those cars going to go? Do you think the tenants of this proposed building want to compete for parking on a daily basis? Do you think that will enhance the quality of life in the neighborhood? The City’s ordinance allowing projects like this to be built with zero parking does not eliminate cars or produce more forms of mass transit, but it definitely helps the developers bottom line. It creates strife and animosity. Adding parking will improve the residences quality of life in a small but meaningful way and will eliminate a large portion of the neighborhood’s objection to this proposed project.

    Like

    • “Do you think the tenants of this proposed building want to compete for parking on a daily basis?”

      Anyone who doesn’t want to compete for parking on a daily basis won’t rent an apartment without dedicated parking.

      Like

      • Very free market thinking there, Bryan. However; as the article states, there is more demand for low income housing in Seattle than supply. So, it would be more logical to assume, anyone who gets a unit in the proposed building project will take it, regardless of their car ownership status, and parking availability.

        Like

      • What about the neighbors who invested in converting their off street stalls into DADUs to help solve the housing crisis which is obviously the proximate cause and main driver of 4,500 heroin addicts living in tents? (Sarcasm) Where will they park?

        Like

    • Parking spaces drive up the cost of housing.

      The parking demand is saying this: “Because I’ve grown accustomed to convenient, free car-storage on the taxpayer’s dime, I’m entitled to have that privilege forever, and in order to protect it, other people should be faced to pay for private car storage, even if they don’t have a car to store.”

      That’s an obscene request.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Your view on parking is not completely without merit. However, demanding everyone to adopt your view, immediately without adequate mass transit options, without taking into consideration the overwhelming public outcry from the surrounding neighborhood, is out of wack. One might even consider it obscene even.

        Like

      • Unless of course the obscene requester is in fact a, (gasp) taxpayer. Then it’s a fair and equitable request. The cheapest place to add density is low cost areas, folks who live there generally need cars for economic mobility. Adding density and taking away their parking takes away their mobility. Someday they won’t need cars, someday cars will fly, but for now and the next twenty years, a car and free and easy parking at home helps give people an economic leg up as they avail themselves of rapidly changing opportunities including school, different jobs, and part-time work. Can one of you relentless densifiers tell me what exactly is the “canard” at hand here? I propose that the canard is the idea that a denser Seattle is a better or more equitable Seattle.

        Like

      • Unless of course the obscene requester is in fact a, (gasp) taxpayer.

        To state what should be obvious, the people who’ll live in this building will be (gasp!) taxpayers too. The argument you’re making is that one group of taxpayers, local homeowners who currently get free and convenient car storage, should be able to force another group of taxpayers to buy car storage whether they have a car or not, so they’ll be less likely to use the free car storage their taxes also help pay for.

        Like

      • No, the argument I’m making is that there is nothing obscene about the expectation that one’s property tax, whether paid directly by an owner or indirectly by a tenant, should entitle one to some local public services, like fire service, police, storm drains, and, wait for it… on-street surface parking.

        For many households below AMI the presence of free on-street parking is an enormous factor in their ability to advance economically and educationally. People moving up the socioeconomic ladder have an ever-changing variety of schedules and destinations. In the world envisioned by you relentless densifiers someone working through an AA degree who then switches to a nearby four-year college all while working a variety of jobs at varying shifts and perhaps has a child would have to move residences with nearly every new twist in the road. Further, she would be faced with a housing market that has nearly no liquidity since below-market-rate units are deals that are “too good to give up” even if it means an unreasonable commute.

        By the way, we oppose relentless densification for many reasons, most of them related to our self-interest. So we aren’t just “looking out for the little guy.” Is that “naked selfishness” allowable by the overseers of decency?

        But it is notable how certain groups have a relentless fervor for densification and a hatred of rent-seeking. This fervor blinds the followers to the externalities of statist intervention in a reasonably governed free market wherein the participants know what to expect.

        If the war on rent-seeking succeeds, we pity the recent homebuyer, saddled with a 30 year mortgage and a residence that saps income via capital expenditures yet never appreciates even as other costs grow.

        Like

      • Obscene: We, all or mostly homeowners whose wealth is increasing every day through no effort on our part, will band together and take collective action to use the force of law to push the cost of parking into the rent of renters who are able to afford only the most entry-level apartments, who, through no fault of their own, are also probably falling further behind every day in their ability to ever buy any home here.

        Really cool: We, all or mostly homeowners hose wealth is increasing every day through no effort on our part, will band together and take collective action to use our community connections to find a way to add 35 parking spaces to the neighborhood. We’ll find out who’s willing and able to expand parking on their property, who has slack spaces part-time or full-time they are able to rent or share, whether local businesses would rent to share parking in off hours (e.g., overnight), and who might be willing to voluntarily park a bit further away as a matter of course.

        Like

      • the argument I’m making is that there is nothing obscene about the expectation that one’s property tax, whether paid directly by an owner or indirectly by a tenant, should entitle one to some local public services, like fire service, police, storm drains, and, wait for it… on-street surface parking.

        But, of course, you’re not applying that argument consistently. Your suggestion is that one group of taxpayers should have an entitlement to a particular service from the government (convenient free car storage), and should not be required to pay for their own car storage, while another group of taxpayers should be forced to pay for their own car storage, to prevent them from using the public amenity. That’s openly discriminatory.

        Like

      • no, it is openly logical. someone who wishes to have car storage will pay the market price of car storage in some form. If there is ample on-street parking then the marginal price of car storage will be low. If the on-street parking is saturated by demand from the stall-less units then everyone pays more for parking, either long-time residents who have to build their own off-street parking or new residents who have to pay a premium above their unit’s rent to rent a parking stall. Everyone who acquires rights to a parking stall pays the market price at the time of acquisition. By building units and not providing parking you increase the market price of parking.

        Like

      • And (just a pet peeve here) your (and I’m addressing anyone that has tossed this word around lightly as you do, so please djw172, don’t take this personally, I’m against the trope) Your use of the word “discriminatory” is inflammatory, wholly inaccurate, and part of what makes formerly progressive people disenchanted with the actual real-world opportunities for progressive movements in the United States. We have heard all the logical steps required to show that a current state of affairs “makes or shows an unfair or prejudicial distinction between different categories of people or things, especially on the grounds of race, age, or sex.”
        No doubt, our society and all societies are full of inequities many of which are even being amplified by current policy. But the presence of SFH zoning, restrictions on density in the name of livability or even “charm”, the requirement that new units to a city full of drivers come with parking, the requirement that developers incur the cost of sewer upgrades, increased road wear and tear, pedestrian safety … these things do not prejudice, and especially not on the grounds of race, age or sex.

        Like

      • someone who wishes to have car storage will pay the market price of car storage in some form.

        Um, OK. If that’s the case, why on earth use the government to force some people to bundle car storage with apartments? Let the market sort it out, if this is true.

        If there is ample on-street parking then the marginal price of car storage will be low.

        Yes…

        If the on-street parking is saturated by demand from the stall-less units then everyone pays more for parking, either long-time residents who have to build their own off-street parking or new residents who have to pay a premium above their unit’s rent to rent a parking stall.

        Of course if demand for free parking is saturated it isn’t the fault of the residents on the new apartment building alone. It’s the fault of everyone using the free parking, including other residents and visitors.

        If free parking on the government dime becomes sufficiently inconvenient that homeowners decide to add parking to their property, that is well and good–it’s up to them if convenient car storage is worth it to them. The same holds for apartment-dwellers; if the convenience of on-site parking is worth it, they can move to a building that provides it. Most do! I fail to see the problem here.

        Everyone who acquires rights to a parking stall pays the market price at the time of acquisition.

        Ok, but forcing a building to build stalls means it’s not a market price, because it’s not determined by the market. It’s determined by policy. There’s research that demonstrates that parking minimums have created an oversupply, that forces non-car owners to help pay the costs. Here’s a good place to start to learn about that:

        http://www.sightline.org/wp-content/uploads/downloads/2013/12/Who-Pays-for-Parking-Sightline-Dec-2013.pdf

        As the above study shows, if you’re serious about relying on markets, you shouldn’t be interested in forcing the developers to build it. It distorts the market, which ends up forcing apartment-dwellers without cars to subsidize their neighbors who drive. Surely we can all agree that’s not fair or reasonable? If there’s a demand, the market will pick it up.

        By building units and not providing parking you increase the market price of parking.

        You do nothing of the sort, because you haven’t made the choice to live there with a car. If future residents choose to avail themselves of free on-street parking, and that makes relying on free on-street parking more inconvenient, those who experience that inconvenience might be motivated to find a market alternative or car storage. And that’s fine! If you want really convenient car storage in the city, you should be prepared to pay for it. The government shouldn’t be in the business of restricting other people’s rights in order to provide you with privileged access to a public good. Public goods are for the public!

        Your preferred policy is to force some people into a market, while protecting other people from having to enter it. That’s not a market-based approach. Which leads to your next post….

        As for taking offense at the use of the term discriminatory, I’m sorry, but the shoe quite clearly fits. Your preferred form of discrimination

        IF you hold the view that “we need the government to force people to provide for their own car storage to keep on street parking available”, that in itself is not inherently discriminatory. But your preferred policy solution–to force the cost of private parking on one segment of the population, while protecting others–is clearly discriminatory, on its face, against apartment dwellers and newcomers. (If it makes you feel better, I’ll concede that’s not as wicked as racial discrimination, or gender discrimination. But it’s not good,either). If you responded to the feared future parking shortage by also proposing to force homeowners to build garages, that would not be discriminatory. But as long as your preferred policy solution puts all the cost on a specific class of persons, it’s a textbook definition of discrimination.

        Like

      • You’re a decent lawyer and I appreciate your responses but my overall point is that preserving a certain aspect of lifestyle is not discriminatory any more than property rights that begin in a sandbox are discriminatory. Once something becomes mine, not yours, there is an element of discrimination.

        Anonymous Friend, I think the question we are debating is, do current stakeholders have a moral right to protect their stakes? You say no because it is discriminatory, I say yes, even though life’s tough and there is discrimination. The law says what it says which is a nuanced complicated thing with a history of overt discrimination on hateful grounds and a current structure of “progressive” principles which become abused and politicized by hateful people like Kshama Sawant.

        Now that we have pulled away from parking a bit, what we are discussing could be argued about for just about everything related to property regulation and in every town hall meeting or backroom “citizens advisory council” zoning discussion.

        To your point about “you’re not Mr. Free Market after all because you want parking regulations to benefit yourself” Correct, I’m not Mr. Free Market. Freeish Markets work well at one thing, setting prices. That’s all I suggested. Correct that when government comes in and regulates and says “the current ratio of residents to parking spots should be maintained” then we no longer have a free market. But the stakeholders in that area did not arrive at that ratio over night and when developers respond to demand from a relatively free global labor market and when developers usually have a time horizon of 18-36 months from the time the parking decision is made to the exit, I think the moral rights of the long-time stakeholders are justly protected by the law and a governing process that slows the animal spirits of capital and labor.

        Bryan K would say this is exclusionary. Sure. All property rights are exclusionary. I just don’t think it’s hateful, prejudiced or discriminatory in the sense described above.

        Like

      • You’re a decent lawyer

        Just for the record, I’m not a lawyer–I didn’t mean to present myself as such.

        but my overall point is that preserving a certain aspect of lifestyle is not discriminatory

        It all depends on how you do it. Your proposal is to make one class of persons pay, and protect another class of persons from paying, to prevent a feared parking shortage. Putting people into two classes and treating them differently is the very essence of discrimination.

        Once something becomes mine, not yours, there is an element of discrimination.

        But we’re talking about access to a public good, on-street parking. It was never yours. It belongs to all of us.

        Bryan K would say this is exclusionary. Sure. All property rights are exclusionary.

        Of course they are. This is my sandwich, therefore you can’t eat it. Same with your home–I can’t sleep there! The problem with this argument is that just because you got used to access doesn’t mean you have a property right. (Your argument is structurally similar to the Mercer Island residents who feel they’re entitled to SOV access to HOV lanes in perpetuity because they got used to it and they like it.) I appreciate that you’re now being explicit about your desire to transform a public resource into a private good, because it’s convenient for you to do so. It’s you’re right to attempt to do so, but why should the rest of us take seriously a selfish effort to horde a public resource? If, say, a corporation tried to horde public water rights (this happens all time) because it helps them make more profits, that’s their right, but the rest of us should resist. Public goods are for the public, and in the midst of a housing shortage and affordability crisis, driving up the cost of housing so that some homeowners continue to get privileged access to a public good is very much not in the public interest–we need more housing, without making it extra-expensive.

        I would also council you to take a look at the study I linked above. Right now, most apartment buildings over-supply parking. That means that there are a lot of apartment-dwellers without cars (around 30% of apartment dwellers in the city don’t have cars) who end up paying for parking anyway. So more units without attached parking will move us away from that unfortunate scenario. I think it’s a good thing when people decide to go car-free; it reduces congestion and supports public transit. We should have a city that forces fewer of the carless to pay for car storage they don’t need.

        Like

    • It’s also remarkable how quickly the anti-housing crowd shifts gears. Usually they pretend their agenda is a form of class warfare against the rich, because the new housing will be expensive and only for rich people. Then, for a project like this they make a 180 degree turn, outraged at the very thought of sharing a neighborhood with the kind of people who can’t afford in-unit laundry and A/C.

      Liked by 1 person

      • No one in this twisted tale is “anti-housing”. They are “anti-density.”
        Every pro density argument we have heard is based on an intellectual assumption, or perhaps a religious conviction, that by packing human beings in like rats, a more just and equitable city will grow. The millions of people who made a choice to live in a less dense area come in all colors races genders religions etc… choosing less density is not bigoted. Choosing more density is not necessarily high minded or altruistic.

        Like

      • It’s amazing Bryan, something was offered at a below market price and demand was high. “I’m shocked, shocked! To find gambling going on here….”

        Like

  8. “large houses with driveways and capacious parking garages” haha, you must have the neighborhood around that development confused with a different one.

    Like

  9. Canard: “an unfounded rumor or story”

    I think the statistics on car ownership and the uses of cars (commute to work, school, childcare) are well founded and relatively undisputed within a range.

    I think the canard that high-density housing vitiates the need for cars is widely spread despite evidence to the contrary (actual use of cars in high density areas with access to transportation)

    Thank you in advance for allowing the posting of a contrary opinion, I appreciate your well-written work and the passion you bring to it.

    Like

  10. (edited for syntax and grammar)

    Do you know what Sound Transit does when it wants something? It FILES A LAWSUIT!

    Sound Transit and WSDOT are the Plaintiffs in hundreds of cases against property constituents including homeowners, tenants with rights, etc… I’m not saying this is bad or unfair on the face of it, but when you get a letter saying that your property is going to be taken away and you need to incur legal costs to fight for fair market value (which is determined by appraisers and usually backward looking without taking into consideration relocation costs or the dynamics of today’s real estate market) it can be more than a shock, it is life-altering.
    As someone who has been sued over 12 times by Sound Transit (and always amicably resolved the suits outside of court) I can tell you that when an army of lawyers backed by a $54 billion taxpayer funded blank check knocks on your door and slyly jokes “the train’s a-comin’!” it is not unreasonable to lawyer up.

    Like

  11. Do you know what Sound Transit does when it wants something? It FILES A LAWSUIT!

    Sound Transit and WSDOT is the Plaintiff in hundreds of cases against property constituents including homeowners, tenants with rights, etc… I’m not saying this is bad or unfair on the face of it, but when you get a letter saying that your property is going to be taken away and you need to incur legal costs to fight for fair market value (which is determined by appraisers and usually backward looking without taking into consideration relocation costs or the dynamics of today’s real estate market) it can be more than a shock, it is life-altering.
    I’m not saying anything about the merits about Mercer Island’s complaint, but as someone who has been sued over 12 times by Sound Transit (and always amicably resolved the suits outside of court) I can tell you that when a $54Billion taxpayer funded blank check army knocks on your door and slyly jokes “the train’s a-comin’!” The reaction of lawyering up is not unreasonable.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s