Mayor Murray has invited West Seattle to talk about zoning, and also PARKS.
This is a critical meeting—it may be our only real chance for input.
Please come and speak for nature!
When: Wednesday, December 7th, 5:30pm – 7:30pm
Where: Shelby’s Bistro and Ice Creamery, 4752 California Ave SW, Seattle 98116 (Note: this is for West Seattle only. Other neighborhoods have different times and locations. More info.)
Agenda: Affordable housing, transportation services, and parks investments. More info.
• How will zoning changes affect natural parklands and the urban forest?
If we leave it up to city leaders, Seattle’s natural parklands may be developed for active recreation, sports fields, community centers, amusement parks—almost anything. And denser development in neighborhoods will deplete the tree canopy.
• How many of our park forests and natural places are protected?
None. Any of them could be developed for other recreational purposes. As we have seen recently, the City could also use them for non-park purposes, like encampments.
To make matters worse, the City has decided that it will no longer acquire new park land in relation to the growing population (i. e. the city will no longer strive to have a certain number of park acres per person.) Instead, it will ‘use’ existing parks more intensely. And, as long as there are parks—any kind of park—within walking distance of most people, that will be considered sufficient.
• How will this impact natural parks in Seattle?
If we don’t demand nature be protected, it won’t be. Seattle’s pro-development mode is too strong, and urban forests are a path-of-least resistance for city leaders who need space for urban amenities.
Imagine a likely scenario: as our neighborhoods get more crowded, people will want more recreational opportunities. They’ll want pools, sport fields, dog-parks, ziplines, skate parks, and community centers. Then, of course, they’ll need parking, and restrooms, and places to get food. The Parks Department will need more space for maintenance and staff. Without a plan to add more parkland in relation to population, where do you think they’ll put all this stuff?
• What should be done instead?
We’re talking about Seattle’s natural heritage—the 1% of our natural environment that has not been asphalted or covered in concrete. These remnant forests and beaches connect us to thousands of years of Pacific Northwest native plants, native animals, and native people. It’s a tiny bit, but it’s very important for human health and well-being, and for wildlife. We want all of this to endure for future generations.
If and when the City needs to add recreational amenities or high-impact uses, it should buy new land or use previously developed land. Existing forests and natural parklands should be permanently preserved for low-impact, passive recreation and wildlife habitat.
• Please attend the meeting and ask questions:
•How will the City ensure the massive growth does not overwhelm our natural parklands and urban forests?
•Which park forests or natural areas will be exempt from possible recreational development?
•Which park forests or natural areas will be permanently preserved for wildlife habitat and low-impact, passive-use only?
•What measures will the city take to preserve and increase the urban forest?
The West Seattle Blog has background to the previous meeting that happened last week.