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Cultural Overlay Districts Background

The sale of the Odd Fellows Hall on Capitol Hill highlighted an undesirable side effect of Seattle’s urban growth; escalating costs are eliminating affordable arts, cultural, and entertainment spaces.

In response to calls for action from community members, Councilmembers Nick Licata and Sally Clark convened a public forum on this topic at City Hall in early April of 2008.  Over 200 residents attended to voice both their concern for the situation and their willingness to help find solutions.  Speakers included arts organizers, developers, and community leaders, all with a common goal of preserving and promoting the cultural identity of our city.   

Licata and Clark then formed CODAC, the Cultural Overlay District Advisory Committee, and charged it with identifying creative incentives and regulations that can help preserve and promote spaces and activities for art, culture, and entertainment in Seattle, beginning with the Capitol Hill neighborhood.

 

Nick Licata
Introductory comments by forum host Councilmember Nick Licata

The City already employs overlay districts.

The Pike/Pine Overlay District balances residential and commercial uses.

The Northgate Overlay District promotes pedestrians and commercial development, protects the residential neighborhood’s residential character, and supports Northgate as a regional high-capacity transportation center.

The Sand Point Overlay District favors recreation, education, arts, cultural and community activities; increased public access to the shoreline and open space; opportunities for affordable housing and community and social services, with a special priority for homeless families; and opportunities for low-impact economic development.

However, no existing overlay district addresses in a comprehensive way the increasing loss of affordable spaces in Seattle for experiencing art, culture, and entertainment.

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