(October 12, 2016) – Traditional "Large Lot Zoning" is "Greener" than "Smart Growth" within Urban Growth Boundaries . . . Copyright 2009 – 2016 . . . Tom Lane . . . Photographing California, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Oregon, and Seattle, Washington.
(November 29, 2011, Tom Lane) Smart growth was on the ballot in the Seattle area in November, 2011. Depending on your perspective, you either won or lost.
For example, statewide Initiative 1125 (which I discuss at other posts, add link), lost by only a few percentage points. If passed, this would have banned light rail on Interstate 90, and banned higher toll rates during commute hours (among other objectives).
As you can see from the map below, 1125 was voted down in counties surrounding Seattle and Spokane, but most counties statewide voted for it. Of course, most counties surrounding Seattle and Spokane are brainwashed into thinking that we’re experiencing a “transportation crisis,” requiring billions of dollars for light rail.
This is despite very good and inexpensive solutions to gridlock, that have been proven to work in most U.S. cities for decades (i.e. more buses, more freeway lanes, etc.). The rest of the state is similar to most of the U.S., and fails to see a transportation crisis requiring higher tolls and light rail. Instead, they see plenty of open land, and gas tax monies going to waste on light rail, instead of more freeway lanes. Indeed, light rail will only take between 1% and 3% of cars off the road in Seattle.
Please Click This Link to hover over each County on the map for election results –
Car Tab Proposition 1 Defeated in Seattle City Limits
In Seattle, Proposition 1 was defeated, 60% voting no. If passed, this regressive tax would have increased car tabs by $60 to pay for bike lane improvements and streetcars that nobody will ride.
Bellevue Candidates Opposed to Light Rail (“East Link”) – Very Close
In Bellevue, just east of Seattle, City Council candidates on the ballot who opposed light rail through downtown Bellevue (“Eastlink”) lost, although anti-rail incumbent Councilors Jennifer Robertson and Kevin Wallace will continue on the council.
Unfortunately, anti-light rail opponents Aaron Laing, Michelle Hilhorst, and Patti Mann lost the election.
Normandy Park City Council Turns Sharply Left
In Normandy Park, south of Seattle, the City Council turned sharply left, in a bitterly contested battle between custom home builder and private property rights crusader Todd McKittrick, versus current smart growth Mayor and Puget Sound Regional Council board member Shawn McEvoy. McKittrick only lost by a handful of votes. Stacia Jenkins also won by a handful of votes, although her party affiliation is unknown, given her opposition to increasing the City’s property tax rate in 2012. Despite the smart growth and eminent domain controversies, unopposed candidates Doug Osterman and Susan West won with over 95% of the vote.
In November, 2012, Normandy Park became the subject of controversy once again, when Councilor John Rankin, Mayor Clarke Brant, and resident Karen Steele formed a citizens group to significantly increase property taxes, INSTEAD of cutting the inflated City budget. City Councilors voted 6 to 1 to place Resolution 853, which is Proposition One, on the November 2012 ballot. Stacia Jenkins did not vote to place this item on the ballot, and therefore appears to the only fiscal conservative on the far-left Council.
If you vote NO on Proposition One, you are voting NO on the levy lift. If you vote NO, then your taxes will NOT increase. I’ve discussed this at this post, where you can read why Stacia Jenkins opposes the increased property tax rates: http://wp.me/pMHrW-1yE
New Black Diamond City Councilors Will Stop Smart Growth
In Black Diamond, 30 miles southeast of Seattle, where Yarrow Bay construction plans to build over 6,000 smart growth dwellings, the anti-smart growth residents threw out the pro-smart growth incumbents. Black Diamond resident voted overwhelming (over 75%) for anti-smart growth candidates Tamie Boxx-Deady, Ron Taylor, and Joe May.
Meanwhile, many political controversies and scandals emerged after the election.
In Richmond Beach, just north of Seattle, where developer Blue Square wants to build high density smart growth at Point Wells, a citizen advocacy group successfully stopped the development in the _____(Snohomish County court).
In Bellevue, a study from the research firm _____ concluded that light rail in downtown Bellevue would cause significant economic damage to Bellevue. One out of every ten Bellevue businesses will close their doors. This report can be downloaded, at ____.
Meanwhile, Snohomish County (north of Seattle’s King County) executive Aaron Reardon was just re-elected, but now faces a Criminal Investigation by the State Patrol for using public monies to pay for trips with his girlfriend. Perhaps if he’s convicted, then he will be forced to resign, and Reardon has a huge influence on smart growth policies, serving on the Board of Sound Transit.
And, this week in Normandy Park resident Lisa Hadley is suing the City of Normandy Park, for eminent domain of her Estate along the shores of Puget Sound. Land use attorney Brent Carson of ________(firm) tells the B-Town Blog that he is concerned about the way that the City of Normandy Park and the Cascade Land Conservancy are handling the acquisition of approx. 32 (verify) shoreline properties in southwest Normandy Park.
Finally, moving beyond the Seattle region, smart growth controversies are appear elsewhere in the US after the election. In Durango, Colorado, La Plata County Officials cancelled their comprehensive smart growth plan, after $300,000 in consulting fees, and 150 public meetings. La Plata County Officials engaged themselves in an unprofessional and bitter debate, quite typical of politics in the 4 Corners area.
Why 1125 Didn’t Pass – Tim Eyman conducts Post Election Poll on 1125
At this other post, I discuss Tim Eyman’s findings on why 1125 didn’t pass in Washington State:
Tom Lane’s Other Posts on I-1125, Light Rail, and Kemper Freeman
Before proceeding, click the following link for a list of all of my posts. (Posts and Photos Copyright 2010-2011, Tom Lane, except the Video screenshots from Firefox, with appropriate credit provided.)
Second, please click this link, for my I-1125 You Tube Video page.
Third, for my letter to public officials advocating a yes vote on 1125, click this final link. Note: Neither the 2nd or 3rd link appears in the first link above.
Based on all these lawsuits and consultant payments and legal fees, is smart growth really worth it?
I’d rather see the tens of millions go to the poor. Normandy Park spent at least $150,000 for its smart growth project developed by Bill Grimes, from a grant from the Washington State Department of Commerce. Now, the City will pay expensive legal fees in King County Superior Court.
The other cities, contractors, and consultants in various Seattle suburbs also spent hundreds of thousands of dollars. Millions of dollars were spent on both sides of the I-1125 and Proposition 1 debates (not to mention the I-1183 Alcholic debate).
Acquisition of private property with eminent domain in Normandy Park costs millions of dollars. When students can’t even afford to attend the University of Washington, why are we spending money to acquire land for salmon recovery, considering that most of our salmon harvest is from clean waters in the Gulf of Alaska – not polluted Puget Sound (ref: Phylates article)?
Why not spend these tens of millions of dollars on homeless shelters and other philanthropic activities for children, disabled, and the elderly? Why not just recognize that smart growth will always result in heated debates, and just drop the concept in favor of traditional Post WWII, Mid-Century Modern Suburbia on quarter acre lots, such as the Somerset neighborhood in Bellevue?
Smart growth proponents will have a long list of confessions to make when they meet their maker. They think that nature is more important than people, to the extent that they are willing to spend millions of dollars to advocate for smart growth and light rail. They do not think that land can be used as a resource. The majority of Americans believe that plants and nature exist for the judicious use by human beings.
We want large yards with organic permaculture gardens and orchards, bike trails extending through suburban forests, and fishing in local lakes and streams. To the smart growthster, they want to stop all of this activity, and crowd us into 3 story suburban smart growth townhomes, and 10 story downtown townhomes all over Seattle.
Meanwhile, the relegate natural areas off limits, outside the city limits, and sometimes advocate for “roadless” areas in national forests, and are opposed to domestic oil natural gas pipelines. This sort of radical nature worshiping is opposed by most of us. And, most municipalities across the country do not even have any aspects of smart growth.