If you missed the community meeting at Lowell Elementary chances are you saw fewer angry people yelling at city administrators than me.

The meeting was well attended and packed the Lowell Elementary cafeteria. At points the cafeteria seemed to resemble what I would guess lunch with elementary school students is like; lots of yelling, verging on the edge of chaos.

Two people from the Department of Planning and Development ran the meeting. It kicked off with an attempt to explain ground rules which were quickly disobeyed by angry attendants. The DPD then attempted to provide background on the issues to be discussed, including what was on-topic and what was off topic. Pointing out that parking and micro-housing were off topic was met with a lot of boos. Lastly, comments were taken from the public. While people queued up there were a number of people that thought their concerns were more important and proceeded to yell out of turn.

There was a small cohort of what you might call pro-development attendees, maybe five or six who spoke up but the vast majority of the audience were older homeowners. On one side of the comment spectrum was:

– I’ve lived here a long time

– The DPD isn’t doing enough to publicize meetings

– New development will make the sewers explode

– The city doesn’t listen enough to neighborhood residents, instead preferring to listen to future residents (not sure how that works)

– It’s a travesty that my neighborhood is changing

– The DPD are a bunch of dictators

– Development in Seattle is like the bombing of Dresden

On the other side of the spectrum was:

– New development should/is bringing a diversity of housing types

– New development is necessary to keep housing affordable

– We should accept new residents and we’ll need development to do that

A hat tip should go to the public servants who worked late. They were largely abused by the crowd but handled it well. I did speak at the meeting and I’ll publish my written remarks tomorrow (my spoken comments were much different than what I prepared).




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Owen does servicing and consulting for a software company to pay the bills. He has an amateur interest in urban policy, focusing on housing. His primary mode is a bicycle but isn't ashamed of riding down the hill and taking the bus back up. Feel free to tweet at him: @pickovven.


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