Clear guidelines, please...

No MUP sign outside the Metropolitan Market location on Queen Anne Avenue indicates that the development project has been slowed. For property owners and developers, this meddling by community members is the bane of their existence. Yet, as a community, I think we should extend hearty congratulations and support for all the hard work of those community members who have recently focused their efforts on the two new large developments.

Many years ago I volunteered many hours of my time to work on the city-mandated Queen Anne Comprehensive Planning document. The city had designated Upper Queen Anne Hill as an Urban Village. Working within those constraints, surveys were undertaken and committees formed and public meetings held. Working through all the data and strong conflicting opinions, a final Comprehensive Plan was approved by the city. Members of this community went back to their lives, patched up some feuds with their neighbors and believed that the effort did have some redeeming value for the community.

The disconnect comes when the city has asked its citizens to do the planning work for them, and then turns its back on the outcome. Upper Queen Anne Hill did not actively seek out to be designated as an Urban Village zone, yet the community had to accept that designation from the city. One of the city requirements for all Urban Village zones was increased housing density. We would be living above the store again.

So how did the Cox/QFC proposal even get to the table? The devel-opment proposal included the removal of housing with no replacement of housing. Had the Queen Anne Comprehensive Plan evaporated?

And now, with the city refusing landmark status to the Parkview Apartments on West Highland Drive, a large new development will be undertaken and those pesky community members might be heard from again. It is beginning to seem endless.

These are "muddy water" times. There appears to be no one right answer. The ideals behind the Urban Village concept have shown some flaws and weaknesses. We've been through the narrow-housing development schemes. We've come down hard on some ordinances and let others slip by. All of these confusing signals from the city automatically set up battlegrounds between community activists and the property owners and developers. My hope is that the city will recognize the immediate need to be much more straightforward with their urban growth guidelines.

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