Cartoon by Richard Carl Lehman
Cartoon by Richard Carl Lehman

Maybe if we were chickens, PCC Community Markets would reconsider its involvement in the City Peoples development that was recently green-lighted by Seattle Department of Construction & Inspection.

City People’s Garden Store on Madison Street is scheduled for demolition, to be replaced by a multi-story, mixed-use building that will include 82 residential market rate apartments, a parking garage for 140 parking spaces and a 25,000-foot PCC supermarket.

Madison is a commercial street. Great spot for a business (like our beloved garden store). But the traffic impact of a supermarket on this narrow patch of city street promises perpetual congestion for vehicles and high risk for pedestrians and bicyclists. The impact to the surrounding Madison Valley neighborhood is devastating.

It has become painfully clear over these four years tracking this development that the city sees its role as a facilitator of the developer’s vision. Independent monitoring is absent. As we at Save Madison Valley and the greater community have provided that independent voice, bringing in respected professionals who have voiced credible concerns (or, as we like to call it, “doing the city’s job”), the city has treated this as an unwelcome intrusion. Simply put, the city is not regulating development. Regulations are used to guide developers in how to present their paperwork. Real concerns from the public are treated as backward-thinking grumblings from self-interested irritants, allowing issues raised by the community to be disregarded out of hand. Sadly, this behavior is not unique to this development.

Which brings us back to the chickens.

In 2019, PCC committed to the “most rigorous green building standard” in the construction industry. It became the first grocery store in the world to pursue Living Building Challenge Petal Certification.

From the PCC website: “The intent of the Place Petal is to realign how people understand and relate to the natural environment that sustains us. The human-built environment must reconnect with the deep story of place and the unique characteristics found in every community so that story can be honored, protected and enhanced.”   

PCC’s sustainable building goals attest that projects may be built only on “greyfields,” seas of empty asphalt concrete or “brownfields,” land previously used for industrial or commercial purposes.

But wait! Madison Valley is a greenfield! It is a thriving, vibrant community. The 14,500-square-feet tree canopy, scheduled to be clear cut, is home to bugs, birds and critters. The canopy cools in summer and sheds its leaves to let in sunlight in winter. It’s what makes our valley healthy and livable. It’s the neighborhood short cut to the Washington Park Arboretum. The P-Patch grows flowers and vegetables year round.

PCC, your involvement in this project flies in the face of everything for which you stand. In your own words, from your own stated mission, you assure your patrons and the community at large that no new project will be built anywhere but on brownfields or greyfields! To repeat, Madison Valley is a thriving, vibrant community, not brownfields or greyfields!

And we’re back to the chickens.

PCC, you do appear committed to the emotional, psychological and physical well-being of the chickens that you market. From a recent newsletter: “At PCC, we believe the way humans treat farm animals is integral to our own general well-being and the health of our planet. We believe all farm animals must have ample space indoors and out to express behaviors natural to their species. This means birds have room to stretch their wings, dust-bathe, perch and nest.”

PCC, we are appealing to you. Consider us chickens if being human isn’t enough. There’s still time to honor, protect and enhance our neighborhood. There’s still time to save Madison Valley!

 

Jane Nichols and Melissa Stoker

Save Madison Valley