SEATTLE, Washington - In a freer world, I'd have a shiny new Whole Foods a block from my house today. As it stands, the developer, BlueStar, is receiving another round of bludgeoning from the dozen or so community activists who've realized they can have fun designing every last detail of a $65M construction project without investing a penny.
BlueStar sent an operative to a recent neighborhood meeting to beg for mercy regarding some recent design changes. I won't re-hash it all here, but it's the usual stuff - what happened to the roofline, what happened to the storefront, what happened to the plants, what color is the roof, what material is the roof, where are the balconies, there's too much parking, there's not enough parking, let's study the shading some more, on and on.
Regarding "what happened to the towers", BlueStar noted that the towers were removed per their last meeting with the Zoning Junta. The desire for towers waxes and wanes with the moon.
Even though they're already digging away at the site, another Zoning Junta meeting is set for August 14 to further ponder the roof resins and street buffers. BlueStar has even hired Vlad Oustimovitch, who appears to be the Winston Wolf of West Seattle design issues, to help get the developer and the "community" on the same page.
As I've said before, I don't think subjective design aesthetic issues should be subject to community review. Check for safety, check for compliance with regard to building height, etc., and that's that. I'll be able to see the thing from my living room window, and I still don't think the "community" should be dictating aesthetics to the developer. Surprise me.
I mentioned all of this to the operative at the BlueStar booth at the street fair this weekend, and I shan't say what he said to me but he didn't say I was crazy.