Hey, Beacon Hill. The time has come again for us to help out our neighbors across I-5. Or, if you feel (as I do) that the heart of our neighborhood is Airport Way South, then the time has come to help ourselves.
As you all know too well, we're starved for dining / drinking / art-viewing / concert-going / theater-going / antique-browsing / shopping / etc. options on Beacon Hill. But luckily we live next to Georgetown, where independent businesses are starting to fill all those needs for us. (I've got love for Columbia City too, but I have to admit, days that I don't have to contend with the madness of Rainier Avenue tend to be better than days that I do.)
I'm not sure how you folks up north by the Red Apple feel, but I swear to God, down here near Graham Street, proximity to Georgetown is pretty much the only thing we've got going for us right now.
Which is why it's so important to me that the City Council exempt the area around the residential sections of Georgetown from industrial zoning Bill 110690, which is up for a vote on Monday. The bill would limit future development greater than 25,000 square feet in Sodo -- including the area around Georgetown -- to industry only. In my understanding, this means that large buildings outside a very small slice of Georgetown could not be used for things like full-size grocery stores or drugstores. Or places that rent out artists' studios and practice spaces for bands. Or cool independent retail like that place in Fremont that houses Impulse, The Industry, and Lamb's Ear Shoes. And while I wouldn't even dare to hope that great stuff like that is on the way for us, I certainly don't want it prohibited by law!
Bill sponsor Peter Steinbrueck, whom I've admired in the past, has said this about the proposal: "You do not want big-box retail moving in to Georgetown. It would kill the place."
Thanks, Peter, but Georgetown has fought off much worse (real) enemies than (pretend) ones like Target before. We certainly don't need your protection from big-box right now.
Anyway, please help protect the South End's future by asking the City Council to exempt the residential areas around Georgetown from industrial zoning. Let them know you support Richard Conlin's efforts to amend the bill to exempt Georgetown. Ask them to at least put the brakes on this process (as Drago, Rasmussen, and Conlin have already recommended) -- this legislation is too important for Steinbrueck to just railroad through in his last weeks in office. Let them know that you live up on Beacon Hill, and you care about the future of Georgetown because it's a shared treasure for the whole South End. Tell them that a blow to Georgetown is a blow to all of us.
Here are the addresses of the City Council members. If you don't mind, please use the subject line "Free Georgetown" to help our voices all be heard in unison on this. And please mail them before Monday, when this all comes to a vote. Thank you!
Here are some places to read more about this issue:
Slog discussion at The Stranger
"Exempt Georgetown Residential from the Industrial Rezone" at Blogging Georgetown by The Paper Noose
Another post at Blogging Georgetown
Seattle P-I article
The text of the bill itself