Council OKs 85-foot light rail station on Capitol Hill

SEATTLE - Residents and business owners in Capitol Hill want to see affordable housing and a public meeting space included in the development plans for the Capitol Hill Light Rail Station, and city councilmembers agree.

On Monday, the Seattle City Council voted unanimously to approve an agreement with Sound Transit that will allow developers to build the station up to 85 feet tall in exchange for workforce and affordable housing and a partially public plaza on the property to be used as a permanent site for the Capitol Hill Farmers Market.

The previous zoning regulations only allowed 40-foot-tall buildings on the site of the future station, located on Broadway just south of East John Street.

The city council worked in cooperation with the Capitol Hill Champion, a community group with members from the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce and the Capitol Hill Community Council, to come up with the agreement.

"Today's vote tells the Capitol Hill community that their voices were heard," Councilmember Richard Conlin said in a statement released to the press. "This agreement is the outcome of a multi-year process of cooperation among the city, Sound Transit and the Champion."

Last month, the Planning, Land Use and Sustainability Committee held a public meeting to hear from community members about the plans for the transit-oriented development. The committee took those ideas and comments to Sound Transit before a final agreement between the two was approved.

Trains are expected to start moving through the Capitol Hill Station in 2016.