Back in 2007 Wedgwood neighborhood activists got a bad shock when we learned that it was actually legal for a developer to build a new, four-story building at 8606 35th Ave NE, on the site of an old, one-story grocery store building. The new development stalled during the economic downtown in 2008 but eventually was completed as the Jasper Apartments, which opened in 2012. The experience of Wedgwood’s unsuccessful struggle to gain concessions from the apartment building developer led to the Wedgwood Vision Plan which gathered input on how Wedgwoodians want changes and development to serve the needs of the neighborhood.
Building on the documentation of the Vision Plan, in 2012 a 35th Ave Committee was formed to include input from Wedgwood and from the adjoining neighborhoods of Ravenna-Bryant, Hawthorne Hills, and View Ridge. Over the past two years the 35th Ave Committee, comprised of volunteers from the above neighborhoods, has done the groundwork for “having a say” in future development all along the commercial corridor of 35th Ave NE from NE 65th to NE 95th Streets.
In 2014, as was done with the Vision Plan in 2010, consultants were hired with grant funding to help guide the neighborhood planning process specifically for what could potentially be built along 35th Ave NE from NE 65th to NE 95th Streets. For this Future of 35th Ave NE Project, in 2014 three public workshops were conducted with an average of 75+ participants at each event, to look at what is “doable” under current City of Seattle zoning and streetscape guidelines. If old commercial buildings along the 35th Ave NE corridor are torn down and new, taller buildings are built by developers, how can we intervene and influence what is built?
The Future of 35th Ave NE Project has a timeline (included as part of the grant funding requirements) and is close to completion now. All the input and data from the work done in 2014, will be processed into a document for use in interaction with the City of Seattle. Everyone is encouraged to submit comments by the deadline of this Friday, August 15. (Please note that you should send comments to email@example.com or enter comments on the project page, not on this blog post.)
For an overview of the info, there are resources available on the project page: A Zoning Cheat Sheet; Streetscape Design Guidelines; an “About” statement which outlines the history and purposes of the project; and Frequently Asked Questions which addresses issues such as whether tall buildings will be built, whether there will be bike lanes, and what will happen at the conclusion of the Future of 35th Ave NE project.