Opinion

First Hill city lot

In an upcoming March or April meeting, the Council will once again consider use options for the now vacant First Hill Lot on the corner of 74th Avenue S.E. and S.E. 32nd Street.

Should the Council decide that it is unable, for fiscal reasons, to preserve the city’s First Hill property as open space, then it could take that opportunity to build sustainable use options into any sale of the property. A Jan. 5, 2009 written summary to the Council describes the work of the Council’s Sustainability Committee and the achievements of the city’s 2008 Sustainability Work Program. The report specifically notes that the city, Council and Planning Commission will continue to examine green building practices in recognition of our community’s commitment to strengthening our sustainable practices. What better time than now?

Islanders need options, in addition to condominium style housing, for smaller-scale, single-family residences. In fact, in June 2008, several First Hill residents united in requesting that the Council include in any sale of the property the requirement for “innovative building design, including significantly smaller-scale housing (of up to three homes), open space with preservation of the trees, Built Green 4-Star mandates…”

Now is the time for the city to engage in the growing sustainable design/build movement that is occurring across the country. Almost weekly, there is either a print or online article about the trend toward smaller, sustainable designed and built housing options. The reason is market demand, not random, “do-gooder” whim.

What better way for the city to engage in the process than by tying particular sustainable requirements to the sale of the property should it, in fact, be sold.

Anne Fox

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