Meeting for Zoning and Parks

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?

Read more:

The West Seattle Blog has background to the previous meeting that happened last week.




6 thoughts on “Meeting for Zoning and Parks

  1. I already emailed, since the online survey was impossible to use. The contact at that address informed me that she’d forward my comments. I just sent a second email to that same recipient, incorporating your comments about yet another ill-conceived plan that threatens our precious greenspaces. With environmental devastation looming under the “leadership” of our next “president,” it’s shocking how little regard our supposedly progressive mayor has for parklands and wildlands.

    1. It’s complicated, but no, there is nothing finalized yet, but they will be soon. There are multiple plans that involve zoning and parks. The meeting is supposed to make everything clear. And it’s supposed to provide an opportunity for public input.

  2. I can’t say I know how much of a long-shot it would be, but for a good while I’ve thought it is long overdue to demand that the city separate the “Department of Ball Parks and Recreation Facilities” from what I might call the “Department of Stewardship of the Citizenry’s Remaining Urban Oases of Nature”. The department we have always had, has always been dominated by recreational facility management, and has always found ways to chip away at our natural oases, like they just did in Lincoln Park by expanding a playground area into previously open space with their most recent zip line, that they did a poor job of letting the public know they were going to build. When I saw how close it was going to be built to one of Seattle’s last spots with a Phantom Orchid, I showed the contractor and he moved the footprint of the zipline 90 degrees, taking it another 50 feet or so away from one known rare orchid. I doubt our Department of Ball Parks and Recreational Facilities would have listened if I told them. All they seem to care about is how they can use their control of a public department for private advantage.

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