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December 14, 2011 at 1:08 PM

Council committee approves higher density in Roosevelt

Building heights up to 65 feet near  Roosevelt High School were approved by a Seattle City Council committee Wednesday, over the objections of many neighbors who wanted to preserve views and avoid density across from the historic high school building.

The Council voted down an amendment by Councilmember Nick Licata to limit buildings in the three blocks south of the high school to 40 feet. The vote was 5 to 3, with Councilmembers Jean Godden and Bruce Harrell joining Licata in urging lower heights.

Neighborhood activists argued that they had accepted much greater density around what will be a future light rail station, including buildings up to 85 feet in the Roosevelt commercial district. In exchange, they said, they wanted to protect the blocks around the high school.

Melissa Westbrook, a Roosevelt resident, said she thought the city’s goal was to balance greater density around the light rail station with the livability of the neighborhood.

“I’m not seeing that balance,” she said.

But the majority of the Council said the city would have more control over the design of future buildings at 65 feet and can require additional features on the block, including a “greenway” with slower traffic and trees and a prohibition on retail on the ground floor of new buildings facing the high school.

The entire rezone package is scheduled to go to the full council for a vote Jan. 17.

Comments | More in General news, Government | Topics: density, Roosevelt, Seattle City Council

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