Revise the U District Rezone

Sign the Letter to the City

Dear Mr. Mayor and City Councilmembers,

We are the many owners, customers, employees and community members who love and depend upon the small businesses and social service providers that are the foundation of our U District community. The variety of our unique, legacy businesses and nonprofits is why people come from all over to the U District.

However, the U District Rezone and its recently-proposed amendments will do nothing to protect our small, independent businesses and essential social service providers from the impacts of high-rise development, and may in fact, accelerate their disappearance. We are deeply alarmed.

To survive, and thrive, our businesses and nonprofits must have affordable rents and reasonable property taxes to remain in the U District. Other strategies to mitigate the likely impacts of growth should also be considered before the rezone is passed. Any measures to address our concerns must be based on effective, data-driven decisions.

We ask the Planning, Land Use & Zoning Committee to delay approval of the proposed U District Rezone and amendments for at least three months while the city and our community work together to collect data, identify mitigation strategies, and propose effective amendments to the zoning legislation to arrest the continuing displacement of our small businesses and nonprofits.

The city recognizes the importance of collecting such data and has acknowledged their failure to do so. While we appreciate the initial effort to propose amendments, the few speculative provisions targeted directly at helping small businesses only appeared in the amendments drafted just this month (January). They are riddled with exceptions that dilute their effectiveness, and we must do better.

The rezone will completely change the identity of the University District and will be irreversible. Now is the critical time to save, and even nurture, our independent businesses, social service providers and, ultimately, our unique community. Please help us keep our community together with a smarter, data-driven, zoning plan. We want something of our distinctive, U District community to survive into the future that you are planning for us.

Help us Keep the U District Unique!

We thank you for your careful consideration of this matter.

 

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