Media Coverage

 

Citywide News Coverage

Seattle Times article with details about the changing face of Seattle’s residential architecture: “Seattle on average now sees one home teardown every day. The average demolished home is a 1,300-square-foot, single-story structure built more than 70 years ago with a small yard. The replacement house is typically more than twice as large — 3,000 square feet and two or three stories — usually with a radically different, boxlike architecture.” [publication date: 8/28/16]

Seattle Times article detailing how 1,500 Seattle homes were torn down and replaced with a home at least two times larger between 2012 and 2014. [publication date: 11/27/15]

Seattle Times profile of Roger Valdez, the widely hated developer lobbyist “who has characterized homeowners as angry, entitled, immoral, classist and racist; as zoo animals and as bloodthirsty dinosaurs. That’s just in the past few days.” [publication date: 8/8/15]

Seattle Times article announcing the mayor is backtracking on his plan to rezone all the single-family neighborhoods in the city (and his plan to relax the building codes for mother-in-law apartments) [publication date: 7/30/15]

Danny Westneat’s interview with architect David Neiman about the mayor’s plans to increase the density of housing in single-family neighborhoods. “He said a way to visualize the proposal for Seattle’s single-family zones is this: It effectively triples the density of development allowed today.” [publication date: 7/15/15]

Seattle Times article announcing the city’s push to create more affordable living opportunities by increasing the number of small-lot homes and multi-family living units in neighborhoods traditionally zoned for single-family houses on standard-sized lots [publication date: 7/13/15]

Danny Westneat column commenting on the city’s goal of creating more housing as quickly as possible: “There used to be this concept called ‘growth management.’  Seattle is definitely overwhelmed. But we seem to have concluded that the way to manage this brush fire is to pour rocket fuel on it.” [publication date: 7/10/15]

Seattle Times article reporting on a mayoral committee suggestion that Seattle do away with single-family zoning and other barriers to development in order to increase the amount of affordable housing in the city [publication date: 7/7/15]

Seattle Times article announcing the mayor’s plans to dismantle the current Department of Planning and Development, retire its director, and create an entity that does a better job of planning (and listening to neighborhoods) [publication date: 6/23/15]

Oregonian article explains how the Portland city council has directed its building department to be less density- and developer-biased when it comes to small-lot houses [publication date: 2/18/15]

New York Times article that highlights the frustration neighbors feel when “lot-filling, towering homes” are plunked down next to them [publication date: 2/6/15]

Wall St. Journal article reporting that Washington state home builders are no longer even interested in building affordable, middle-class homes. There are so many wealthy buyers in the Seattle area now that builders are focusing almost all their efforts on higher-end housing. When they say “density housing,” they really mean “upper-class housing on a smaller scale.” [publication date: 1/28/15]

Seattle Times article debunks the myth that high-priced small-lot houses help gentrify the surrounding neighborhood [publication date: 12/10/14]

Seattle Weekly investigative article that digs into all the issues, arguments and facts in the fight over housing density in Seattle [publication date: 9/10/14]

Seattle Times article detailing how local developers are reducing the number of single-family homes (they tear down existing homes and replace them with townhomes and multi-unit buildings”) [publication date: 8/14/14]

Seattle Times article documenting how developers are cutting down so many of Seattle’s trees. “The city’s redeveloping neighborhoods lost more than 35 percent of their tree cover between 2003 and 2007, city records show, ‘and we have lost a lot more trees since then,’ said Mark Mead, arborist for the city’s Parks Department.” [publication date: 8/14/14]

Seattle Times article announcing that the city council voted to adopt many of the small-lot building code changes recommended by One Home Per Lot group. [publication date: 5/20/14]

Seattle Times article exposing how developers took influential city leaders on a private tour of select small-lot developments in a controversial lobbying effort to sway votes. “Smart Growth Seattle organized a tour of small-lot homes for O’Brien and city staff in April. Pollet, who went along in his own car, said the group used a city van and visited one new home that had replaced a neighborhood eyesore, but skipped another where neighbors had posted numerous yard signs opposed to the construction.” [publication date: 5/19/14]

Seattle Times article announcing that the Green Lake neighbors’ federal lawsuit against the city has been dismissed. “U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Zilly said the Seattle building code provides for several exceptions to zoned lot size to allow for infill development. He said the neighbors failed to show that they had a constitutional property right that prevented such development.” [publication date: 9/25/13]

Seattle Times article about neighbors fighting a three-story house under construction in the Roosevelt neighborhood [publication date: 9/9/13]

Seattle Weekly article about Steele Granger, a small-home builder who told the neighbors he was poor, and needed to build a low-cost home for himself, then turned around and sold it for top-dollar as soon as it was finished. “‘This is honestly all I can afford,’ he said, explaining that the undersized lot, of just over 1,000 square feet, kept costs down. ‘I’m a good person,’ he implored.” But he never spent even a day living in the home once it was built. “Granger’s construction, despite almost no yard and a living space of just 1,400 square feet, sold for $538,000.” [publication date: 9/9/13]

Seattle Times article about one neighborhood’s success in suing some of these developers of small-lot houses [publication date: 7/29/13]

Seattle PI article about a lawsuit filed by the Maple Leaf Neighborhood Council “because the developer [Soliel Development] pretended the six-building development is actually a half-dozen separate projects” [publication date: 4/12/13]

Seattle Times article showing what happened in the Laurelhurst neighborhood (and highlighting the Department of Planning and Development’s preliminary recommended building code changes) [publication date: 4/1/13]

Crosscut article with Mark Hinshaw’s simple, equitable solution to this ongoing problem [publication date: 2/5/13]

Seattle Times article debunking the argument that existing zoning won’t accommodate everyone who wants to live in Seattle. “‘Currently, with existing zoning, the city could accommodate almost 150,000 new households,’ said Tom Hauger, comprehensive-plan manager for the Department of Planning and Development. ‘We have over 50 years’ growth capacity across the city.’” [publication date: 1/28/13]

Seattle Weekly follow-up article about two new small-lot houses (in West Seattle) that are causing folks to wonder if the current emergency moratorium goes far enough [publication date: 1/17/13]

Publicola article about the lobbying group that small-lot house developer Dan Duffus has started [publication date: 1/8/13]

Seattle Times article about a group of Green Lake neighbors suing the city because the city refuses to notify the neighbors when a small-lot house is approved for construction [publication date: 12/23/12]

Seattle Weekly follow-up article announcing that the city’s emergency moratorium on small-lot houses was unanimously passed [publication date: 9/11/12]

Seattle Times follow-up article announcing that the city’s emergency moratorium on small-lot houses was unanimously passed [publication date: 9/10/12]

Seattle Times article about the issue, and the city’s plans for an emergency moratorium [Publication date: 9/9/12]

Seattle Weekly follow-up article about the city’s plans for an emergency moratorium [publication date: 9/6/12]

Publicola article about the city’s plans for an emergency moratorium [publication date: 9/5/12]

Seattle Weekly follow-up article where small-lot house developer Dan Duffus makes the argument that home buyers today aren’t interested in older homes [publication date: 8/10/12]

Seattle Weekly article that digs deep into the issue of small-lot houses and exposes many of the ugliest aspects [publication date: 7/25/12]

Seattle Times article about the creation of Blueprint Capital, the firm that funds many of the backyard / side yard houses [3/6/12]

Seattle Times article detailing how Roger Valdez (the developers’ lobbyist on this issue) tried to team up with Mayor McGinn in 2012 to push through a bunch of developer-friendly code changes (and reduce the input of citizens). [5/22/12]

The Stranger article about how small-lot house developer Dan Duffus used a process called “piecemealing” to expedite new construction [7/19/07]

Puget Sound Business Journal article where Dan Duffus explains his property-development strategy: quantity over quality [10/26/03]

 

TV News Coverage

NOTE: If you’re new to this issue, consider starting with this 9/10/12 KOMO TV News segment (also included below).

KOMO TV news segment about state legislation that would force the city of Seattle to provide notification to neighbors [air date: 1/14/15]

Q13 News segment about the final legislation approved for small-lot development [air date: 5/19/14]

KIRO TV news segment about the final legislation approved for small-lot development [air date: 5/19/14]

KIRO TV news segment about one neighborhood that found an inventive way to protest the height of these houses.

KIRO TV news segment about the public hearings for the new building codes.

KOMO TV news segment about the upcoming public hearings on the issue of small-lot houses [air date: 4/16/14]

KIRO TV news segment about restrictions that could be imposed on existing small homes [air date: 4/4/14]

KIRO TV news segment about the city’s refusal to notify the neighbors when a new small-lot house is being considered for approval [air date: 2/17/14]

KIRO TV news segment about the Department of Planning and Development’s recommendation for a “100 Percent Rule” [air date: 9/18/13]

KIRO TV news segment about the city council extending the temporary moratorium [air date: 9/9/13]

KIRO TV news coverage of two neighborhood’s attempts to fight (and protest) the development of small-lot houses [air date: 9/2/13]

KIRO TV news coverage of the lawsuit filed by a West Seattle neighborhood against small-lot house developers [air date: 7/19/13]

KOMO TV news segment about a new, three-story small-lot house (built on what is surely the smallest lot in all of Seattle) that has the Roosevelt neighborhood up in arms [air date: 6/12/13]

Channel 21 (City of Seattle TV station) segment that features a panel debate between the interested parties [air date: 3/22/13]

KIRO TV news segment about the city’s preliminary recommendations for solving the small-lot house problem [air date: 3/21/13]

KING TV news segment about two new small-lot houses (in West Seattle) that are causing folks to wonder if the current emergency moratorium goes far enough [air date: 1/18/13; this story has been removed from the Web because of a minor reporting error that couldn’t be corrected]

KOMO TV news segment exploring the pros and cons of small-lot houses [air date: 9/10/12]

KING TV news segment announcing that the city’s emergency moratorium on small-lot houses was unanimously passed [air date: 9/10/12]

KOMO TV news segment announcing that the city’s emergency moratorium on small-lot houses was unanimously passed [air date: 9/10/12]

KIRO TV news segment about the city’s plans for an emergency moratorium [air date: 9/12]

Q13 Fox News segment about the city’s plans for an emergency moratorium [air date: 9/12]

KIRO TV news segment about the city’s plans for an emergency moratorium [air date: 9/12]

 

Radio News Coverage

KUOW radio interview with a homeowner and counsel member O’Brien (note: there are many misstatements of the technical facts included in this radio piece, but it is an interesting discussion of the general principles) [air date: 5/19/14]

KIRO radio interview with a homeowner who lives near a small-lot house [air date: 4/1/13]

KUOW radio interview with Roger Valdez, the developers’ lobbyist [air date: 4/4/13]

 

Neighborhood News Coverage

Ballard News Tribune article about state legislation that would force the city of Seattle to provide public notice for these projects [publication date: 1/27/15]

Ballard News Tribune article about a density development in Ballard using an all-new loophole: claiming one big building is two separate buildings [publication date: 10/21/14]

West Seattle Herald article ab0ut the impact of the new building codes for small-lot houses [publication date: 8/5/14]

Laurelhurst blog article summarizing the main points of this issue [publication date: 4/16/14]

West Seattle Herald article about the judge’s ruling in a lawsuit brought by neighbors in West Seattle fighting a small-lot house development [publication date: 7/27/13]

West Seattle Herald article about two West Seattle small-lot houses that have the neighborhood upset [publication date: 1/17/13]

West Seattle Blog article about two West Seattle small-lot houses that have the neighborhood upset [publication date: 1/11/13]

Fremocentrist article about a Fremont side yard house that has the neighborhood upset [publication date: 10/17/12]

Montlaker blog article about a Montlake small-lot house that has the neighborhood upset [publication date: 9/2/12]

Laurelhurst blog article about a Laurelhurst small-lot house that has the neighborhood upset [publication date: 8/2/12]

Wallyhood blog article about a Wallingford small-lot house that has the neighborhood upset [publication date: 5/26/12]

Jet City Journal article about a North Seattle small-lot house that has the neighborhood upset [publication date: 4/29/09]