(Ed note: Back in May, we posted a letter from Shannon about a large house being built on a tiny lot up near 55th and Kensington. The letter served as a catalyst for like-minded neighbors finding each other, researching the house and the developer and gathering to take action. We asked Shannon to come back and let readers who didn’t follow the comments on the initial letter know what’s happened since. Below is her response.)
After the initial posting in May of the Disturbing Development article (that generated nearly 150 reader comments), we’ve connected with an amazing group of neighbors throughout Wallingford who offered their services, counsel and energy to close the zoning loophole that allows developers to build in the backyards and side yards of existing homes. We’ve met with the Wallingford Land Use Council, gathered in person to share different approaches and found collaborative ways to work with city. Collectively, we’re making progress.
A Seattle Weekly story published this week which leads off with the Wallingford backyard monolith as an example of the obscure loophole. But it also shows that our three-story project built on a 1,050sf tax parcel is just the tip of the iceberg.
This spring, we thought the “Alley Skyscraper” was a unique issue for our block, but through the Wallyhood blog (and some effective research by neighbors), we’ve connected with residents across the city who have been impacted by similar projects. We’ve identified 44 new structures, but developer Dan Duffus explains in the Seattle Weekly story that he’s built some 100 of these homes on small Seattle lots. And more could be coming unless we close the loophole.
Together, we’ve taken action and encourage you to do the same:
- Sign the petition that requests a moratorium on the zoning exception until further review is performed with a panel that contains community representation.
- Learn how to avoid a similar project on your block by visiting the www.OneHomePerLot.com website that provides resources that have been gathered by those who learned the hard way.
- Write to Dept of Planning & Development leader Diane Sugimura, Councilmember Richard Conlin or the elected official of your choice to share your perspective on backyard and side yard homes.
Join us in taking action to keep backyards and side yards for our gardens, chickens and children.