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Brucester
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PostSat Aug 31, 2019 8:08 am 
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Buildings have codes, do cities have codes as well?
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Jumble Jowls
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PostSat Aug 31, 2019 10:03 am 
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Some folks inherit star spangled eyes
Ooh, they send you down to war, Lord
And when you ask them, "How many can Seattle take?"
They only answer, "More! More! More!"
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Ski
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PostSat Aug 31, 2019 10:14 am 
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Population density of Hong Kong:

17,552.3 people per square mile

Population density of Seattle:

7,251 people per square mile

Population density of Wyoming:

5.97 people per square mile

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I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each."
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NacMacFeegle
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PostSat Aug 31, 2019 3:02 pm 
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The problem with American cities isn't the number of people so much as it is the lack of density and abysmal transportation system. With that said, we certainly don't want to have a similar regional population density as China, Europe, Etc. The ideal situation would be to maintain regional population density at current or lower levels while increasing population density on the city/community level.

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contour5
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PostSat Aug 31, 2019 4:00 pm 
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Seattle has recently changed its zoning restrictions in several neighborhoods, in order to build A lot of really ugly multi use, multi story apartment buildings. A lot of neighborhoods are quickly becoming unrecognizable.
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RandyHiker
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PostSat Aug 31, 2019 6:54 pm 
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Personally I'm in favor of tearing down single family houses in Seattle and its suburbs and building multi story apartment/condos.

The alternative is extending the sprawl along I-90 and US-2.   Currently a lot of land  in the foothills is zoned at one dwelling per acre or less.   But we could fill every where east of Issaquah with single family homes with postage stamp lawns.   

Which do you think is more livable NYC or Los Angeles? 

I can be in forest by train from my oldest son's place Manhattan in an hour.   Getting to forest from my youngest son's place in Los Angeles requires a car and a lot more time.
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Joey
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PostSat Aug 31, 2019 7:54 pm 
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In 2024 many counties and cities in WA are required to adopt major updates to their comprehensive plans.  One touchy issue in that process will be whether the Urban Growth Area (UGA) should be expanded to add density to land that currently is zoned 1 home per 5 acres or thereabouts.

Feeding into that process is the Buildable Lands Study currently underway.  The legislature has ordered this study due to a fundamental disagreement between builders (there is not enough land to build on within the UGA) and planners (there is plenty of land to build on within the current UGA).

Here is my guesstimate as to the conclusion we will read when the Buildable Lands Study is finished (not sure when that will happen).

Guesstimate:
If the Puget Sound region - and particularly King County - want to adopt a policy of allowing a significant amount of additional single family homes within the UGA, then the UGA needs to be expanded.

This is a deeply personal issue since my wife and myself live outside of the UGA a bit NE of Redmond.  The death knell for our 'rural' area is the singular fact that Sound Transit has let a contract to extend light rail from the Microsoft campus to downtown Redmond.  And perhaps the most overriding factor in planning to accomodate population increases is this: Transportation drives density.

If our neighborhood is added to the UGA then we will be zoned for urban density and then our property taxes will skyrocket based on that zoning (assessment for the purpose of property taxes is based on "highest and best use").

One view: We can sell our home of 30 years for $$$

Another view: We will be forcibly taxed off of the property that we love and which has been our home for 30 years.

Yes, accommodating growth is a divisive issue and there is no easy answer.
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RandyHiker
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PostSun Sep 01, 2019 5:05 am 
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Joey wrote:
Another view: We will be forcibly taxed off of the property that we love and which has been our home for 30 years.

Not necessarily,  retirees can be exempt from property taxes https://www.kingcounty.gov/depts/assessor/TaxRelief.aspx

Growth does pose challenges,  but would you really trade those challenges for the challenges of "rust belt" cities like Detriot?
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Joey
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PostSun Sep 01, 2019 6:00 am 
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RandyHiker wrote:
retirees can be exempt from property taxes https://www.kingcounty.gov/depts/assessor/TaxRelief.aspx

That page says:

If you meet qualification, you can defer 50 percent of your taxes and /or special assessments.

To qualify, you must have owned your property for five years. The first half of your taxes, due April 30th, must be paid before applying for the deferral on your second installment due October 31st. The rate of interest for the deferral is based on an average of the federal short-term rate, plus 2 percent. The application deadline is September 1 of each year. The deferred taxes, plus accumulated interest, become a lien on your property.

So that program provides a deferral, not an exemption.  And it only affects 1/2 of the property taxes.
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RandyHiker
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PostSun Sep 01, 2019 6:37 am 
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Joey wrote:
So that program provides a deferral, not an exemption.  And it only affects 1/2 of the property taxes.

Yep it's a deferral, cutting the tax due in half during the lifetime of the home owners is certainly a help to seniors from being displaced.

It doesn't help leave a larger inheritance to your offspring, but why should the county subsidize passing wealth between generations?

Also I will say based on my experience with my parents and MIL the goal of living in at home "forever" doesn't happen very often for reasons completely unrelated to financial concerns.

My mom was 100% opposed to moving out of the house they bought in the '60s.  But two weeks after moving to an assisted living center she admitted "If I had known I could have ice cream every night, I wouldn't have fought moving for so long"
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RichP
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PostSun Sep 01, 2019 7:25 am 
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Density is great. The problem is when everybody wants a car. Better public transport and more walkability make cities more livable/sociable.

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Anne Elk
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PostSun Sep 01, 2019 8:09 am 
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Well, Brucester, you've really stirred the pot now. I can't even comment.  hockeygrin.gif

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NacMacFeegle
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PostSun Sep 01, 2019 7:07 pm 
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RichP wrote:
Density is great. The problem is when everybody wants a car. Better public transport and more walkability make cities more livable/sociable.

up.gif

Very good article on the topic by Vox: https://www.vox.com/energy-and-environment/2019/4/12/18273897/barcelona-urban-planning-portland-oregon-superblocks

I like the idea of implementing "superblocks" in America like they are doing in Barcelona - essentially linking up a number of blocks and closing the streets within to cars. It's been working great there, and could work in particularly dense American cities. As the article points out the problem with creating more walkable cities is a lack of density.

I think the solution could be really selling people on the benefits of living in a carless city environment vs a suburban environment with individual homes. We could implement of program of urban renewal with a focus on affordable housing.

The government could pay for construction of high density car-less superblocks, and then collect only utilities and an installment to pay off construction costs over an extended period of time. The other side of the equation would be getting rid of excess suburbs, and for that I would propose a voluntary program where the government would exchange city apartments for suburban homes, paying the home owners for any excess market value of the home vs the market value of the apartment. At the same time home owners with undervalued homes would not be required to pay the difference for a more highly valued apartment. I think a lot of people in the lower and middle income brackets would find such a deal very appealing, and that we'd have no trouble getting people to abandon the suburbs for the apartments.

The suburban property acquired by the government would be restored to farmland, forest, or even parks - the end use being determined by the suitability of the location. The beauty of this plan is that in theory there would be no net loss to the government in the long run, as the main cost would be in construction, and that would be payed off over time by the residents. The only potential for net loss would be in the case of high value homes being exchanged, but that could also be offset post restoration with farm land. Restored farm land would be worked on a royalty basis where a percentage of profits earned would go back towards paying off land acquisition and restoration costs.

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treeswarper
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PostMon Sep 02, 2019 11:47 am 
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How can you have a decent garden when you live in a cluster of apartment blocks? 

How do you keep it quiet when you live in a city?   This would be the most important aspect for me.  I hate noise. especially the bass things.

How do you not hear your neighbors above, below, and beside you? 

Where do you find room to store toys?  Like where would my travel trailer, boats, packs, and dog go?  I do not have to pay for storage here in my house in my neighborhood. 

Where do you have room to store emergency supplies?  There sure isn't room in those micro apartments. 

The inability to have a garden and fruit trees and even a few animals makes one totally dependent on the system.  I know a few people to whom this would be unacceptable.  I also have a good friend who says he'd probably end up in jail if he lived in town.  What is the solution for that? 

Curious as to how many who are proposing this idea of living in apartments actually do.

Any of you?

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RandyHiker
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PostMon Sep 02, 2019 12:03 pm 
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treeswarper wrote:
I also have a good friend who says he'd probably end up in jail if he lived in town. 

Look urban living isn't for everyone,  but neither is rural living, besides if the Seattle population of  724,745 people each had an acre to themselves,  the city would consume close to 1200 square miles instead of 84 square miles.    If all of King County's 2,233,163 residents occupied an acre.  4,300 square miles would be needed, almost twice King County's area.

OTH, if King County's population was concentrated to the same density as Manhattan, only 30 square miles would be required and the remaining 54 square miles of Seattle and 2200 square miles of King County could all be parkland and farms.
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