LETTER | Council Potala Village Decision Stirs Up A Lot of Dust

Last night, adopting a density of 48 units per acre in RN zones was considered a compromise between the developer and the neighborhood but the dust hasn’t settled. Problems still exist.  

I suggest any other density other than 12 units per acre has no merit and could be considered arbitrary and capricious.  Densities of 24 & 36, or higher have not been justified.  They were just numbers pulled out of a hat.  The surrounding neighbors might have a case.


The developer might have a case but I don't think so.  In his pre-application meetings with the City he was given questionable information by staff on what he could expect if he submitted an application.  Since he is not restricted from talking to elected officials before making an application, it is foolish for him or any other developer to assume staff’s information is correct.   I suggest he might have contacted only those elected officials who he thought would support his application even at the public hearing. 


The developer tried to get around the previously established density of 12 units per acre.  Assisted by staff, questionable information from staff led to most of the developer’s problems and ours.


Previous densities of 12 units/acre had been adopted for most of the area and have existed for more than 24 years I've lived here.  No other figure overrides that criterion, at least not in this case. 


The million dollar threat to the City mentioned by a Councilmember if the developer sues is only valid if the City loses appeals at the Growth Management Hearings Board or in a court of law if the issues are not resolved before then.  If the City's attorney can't handle it, the City should hire an attorney that can.


Also, the Council was illogically allowing Market Street zoning to be inconsistent with other similar zoning.  The City inconsistency may be subject to a spot zoning challenge. Council’s reasoning was that development should accommodate bus routes, not the other way around.  Land use decisions should be used to determine bus routes.  That’s what has been done and should be done to determine bus routes.


The Council has stirred up a lot of dust. It might take the next election for the dust to settle.


Robert L. Style