Roger Valdez from Smart Growth Seattle was at a community meeting yesterday, the topic of which (sadly) was downzoning one of the most booming and popular neighborhoods in Seattle, Capitol Hill. Via Facebook, he passed along this quote from a young person who sees the true value in new construction, and why places like Capitol Hill need to be epicenters for continued growth. It was so well said, and personal, that I wanted to share it here as well:
"I also want to bring something else in that I think a lot of us are losing track of.
I think many of you feel that your values are slipping away, that the community is changing and that there is nothing you can do. But I actually see that happening in a different way.
I think that we need to stop and ask ourselves a question: why do you want to live in Capitol Hill? Why do people who are my age move here to Capitol Hill? Why do we move to Seattle when we could live in other cities – the weather is dreadful! So there are other things about here that are bringing us here. And the main thing that I think it is, what it all boils down to, is our spirit of inclusiveness.
That was my story. I moved here from my small town that I grew up in. I wouldn’t dare get caught dead walking down the street holding hands with another man. And Capitol Hill was the neighborhood that really called out to me – “that’s where I want to live!” And I think there a bunch of other people out there like me.
I just want to talk about the trade offs inherent in what we’re doing and what this process is . . . there are trade offs. There are multiple sides to what we’re doing here.
To restrict growth whether either because of fear of change of fear of losing our parking spot, really, I think, goes against our culture of inclusiveness, against what makes Seattle what it is, what makes Capitol Hill what it is.
By restricting growth we’re essentially telling people you can only live here if you have enough income to get a mortgage on a single family home or pay crazy high rents because there are just so many more people looking for apartments here than there are apartments in the market.
If inclusiveness is our competitive advantage as a city, which I believe it is, then we should be doing everything we can to accommodate growth here, in the right form, in both this neighborhood and other neighborhoods around Seattle with similar characteristics. We should be welcoming growth not pushing people away, not condemning them to live across the lake or places that are less awesome than this.
…that’s who we are as a city.
Keep my face in your mind. We’re the people who want to move into the apartments in neighborhoods like this, to make it a better place. We can all change together.