December 8, 1999

Andrew Taylor, Chair
Miller Park Neighborhood Association
501 19th Avenue E.
Seattle, WA  98112

Dear Mr. Taylor:

I am writing to respond to your request that the Council look at the
question of whether Dean Falls property could appropriately be rezoned
as a neighborhood plan rezone, given that he and the community
association have now come to some agreement on the proposed rezone.

There are three options for pursuing this rezone.  The one that has the
least potential for legal challenge would be for Mr. Falls to pursue his
rezone through the Department of Design, Construction and Land Use's
(DCLU) quasi-judicial process.  In this case, there would not be a
specific reference to the neighborhood plan, and the rezone could be
processed through DCLU's normal processes.

However, I recognize that this rezone did receive significant attention
during the neighborhood planning process, and that development of this
property through a proposed rezone would fit both the vision of the
neighborhood plan for this corridor and address issues of compatibility
of development with the other developments that are proposed in this
urban village area.  However, because the normal process for legislative
rezones is to approve them at the same time as the approval of a
neighborhood plan, this option does provide more of an opportunity for a
legal challenge to the rezone by an affected party.  While the City
could certainly defend against such a challenge, the outcome of a
judicial proceeding cannot be predicted with certainty.

If Mr. Falls did wish to proceed with a legislative consideration of a
proposed rezone, the case would be stronger if the Madison-Miller
planning group or its successor or constituent organization petitioned
for comprehensive plan amendment language that would clearly emphasize
the compatibility of this rezone with the adopted neighborhood plan.
Such a petition could be heard as part of the annual Comprehensive Plan
amendment process, and would strengthen the link between this rezone and
the neighborhood plan.  If a Comprehensive Plan amendment is pursued, it
must be done as part of the annual Comprehensive Plan amendment process,
which would mean that it would not be complete until December 2000 at
the earliest

If you wish to pursue this option, I would be willing to preside over a
neighborhood meeting as you suggest, with the clear proviso that my role
would not be legislative in nature.  That is, it would not be a formal
Council meeting or public hearing, but would be a community meeting in
which I would participate as a Councilmember meeting with constituents.

I hope that this answers your questions.  Please contact me to let me
know how you would like to proceed from here.

Sincerely,
 
 

Richard Conlin