Proposed rezoning nettles Needle – and others

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A rezoning proposal that would result in a considerable increase in density and building height in the South Lake Union/Cascade neighborhood has drawn considerable attention from historic preservationists and the city’s most iconic landmark.

Space Needle, LLC has engaged in a vigorous media campaign challenging zoning rules that might allow new developments to block traditional view corridors toward the Space Needle. Pointing out that the images of the Needle have been used in the logos of various Seattle sports teams, as well as on the long-running sitcom, “Frasier,” the Space Needle’s new KeeptheView website argues that “Views of the Space Needle are for everyone and should continue to be enjoyed from neighborhoods, local parks and community spaces.”

Historic Seattle has expressed concern that there is no preservation mitigation in the proposed legislation, even though the 2012 Environmental Impact Statement for the rezoning had stated that there would be no negative impacts on historic resources. The organization, which is dedicated to preserving Seattle’s architectural legacy, pointed out in a recent blog that economic development and historic preservation need not be mutually exclusive.  Arguing for preservation of neighborhood character, not just individual historic landmarks, Historic Seattle suggested that there is great potential for the creative adaptive reuse of some of the venerable warehouses and commercial buildings in the Cascade neighborhood.

The proposed rezone is slated for a Seattle City Council committee vote on April 22 and may be considered by the entire Council in early May. For more on the story, read this report from KPLU.


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