Monday, August 25, 2008

This week at the Guild

Wes is away, so I'm stepping into the breach.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

The Mean Recess bus

A fixture in Wallingford is the amusing "Mean Recess" bus, aka the "OO!" bus. I mostly see it parked around the intersection of Bagley and 46th.

The identity and purpose of the bus (other than to exhort people to "stop whining") remain a mystery to me. Quite possibly it is connected to the eponymous Seattle-based band "Mean Recess".

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Two new signs in Wallingford

Sutra, at 1605 N 45th St, opened in July. I think this awning was just installed, though.

Here's their menu for last Friday and Saturday (click through for a larger, readable image). I didn't see a more recent one posted.

Fuel Coffee put a new sign up about three weeks ago.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

This week at the Guild

This week at the Guild, originally uploaded by weskimcom.

Note: new movies starting on Wednesday this week because of the Olympics beginning this Friday.

Monday, August 4, 2008

New marquee

I was told there is going to be a "recording studio and shop" in this space on Meridian at 46th.

Multifamily zoning in Wallingford

Back on July 8, Mayor Nickels proposed an overhaul in rules governing areas zoned for multifamily housing, as well as changes in Seattle's townhouse design requirements. (See Seattle P-I article "Nickels calls for mandatory design review of new townhouses", July 9.)

This got me wondering about the areas of Wallingford that are zoned for multifamily units. Some are obvious: the area just to the north of Lake Union, and strips along major business district streets such as 45th and Stone Way. But some of the areas where townhouses can be built are still primarily dominated by single-family homes. I was surprised, a few years ago, when a large structure went up at the corner of Meridian and 46th, where a modest bungalow had stood, since I hadn't realized that the block was zoned to allow such things:

While that building (on the right in the picture) was under construction, I happened to talk to the owner of the adjacent house on 46th, a lovely old craftsman. She said she wanted very much to stay in her house, in part because she was afraid that if she sold to a developer it would lead to a "domino" effect in which all the single-family homes on the street would get replaced by condos. But at the same time she was distressed by the idea of having such a large building looming up over her house, and this made her reluctant to stay. On top of that, she was receiving dozens of mail solicitations a month from developers who wanted to buy the house.

Some time after that conversation, the smaller multi-family unit on the left in the picture above went up where her house had been.

If you are curious about whether your own lot is zoned for multifamily housing, you can find out by entering your street address on this web page at the City of Seattle's Department of Planning and Development web site: . You'll get all kinds of interesting data on your parcel, including a map of the surrounding streets and their zoning. Click on the "base zone" link to see a key that explains the zoning code. (Anything that starts with "SF", for example, is zoned for single family housing.) The area where the buildings pictured above are located is zoned "Lowrise 2".

You can also download detailed zoning maps (in pdf format) of different areas of the city from the same site, at . But be forewarned: they are complex and not easy to read.

I myself am of two minds when it comes to the kind of development that has happened at 46th and Meridian. I know that higher density is good for neighborhoods, good for transit, and good for the environment. At the same time, I hate to see lovely old housing stock replaced with buildings that at best fit in awkwardly with what's around them and at worst are downright ugly. It's unclear whether the mayor's new proposals for townhouse design will make them more or less attractive.

Friday, August 1, 2008