Monday, July 18, 2022

UPDATED: The Unique Character Of Redmond's Wooded Hillsides

Six-story Redmond Square Apartment construction - Can you see the evergreen hillside? / Bob Yoder

Guy Jakobson, an urban landscape consultant with Berger Partnership, said at a Council seminar in 2007 "the unique character of our "wooded hillsides" surrounding the city is special. He said the wooded hillsides were an under appreciated city asset. 11/9/2007 

This picture made me think about the city's current "urban center" plan developed 25 years ago.  Do you see the trees on the ridge?  The treed hillside will "vanish" (from this angle) once all six-stories from the apartment building are up.

Quick story:  The "urban plan" was to "ensure that Downtown building heights respect views of tree lines and adjacent hillsides and contribute to the development of urban space that feels comfortable for pedestrians.  This would be achieved by limiting heights to 5-6 stories. The height is to be in proportion to the Town Center zone and elsewhere but could increase in height when accompanied by exceptional public amenities."

Fast-forward to today with the coming redevelopment of Redmond Town Center:  The city is keeping the current "urban plan" unchanged except for broadening the developer's ability increase height when "advancing business diversity, housing, and environmental sustainability goals"  

Thirteen years ago we really didn't appreciate "the unique character of our wooded hillsides."  We took them for granted.  Look around today.  Almost from any angle we are losing our evergreen hillsides.  Guy was right. 

Yet, as an astute reader said, looking at the bigger picture, if we value our green spaces we need to grow "up" versus "out".  

-- Bob Yoder, 7/18/2022
   Source:   Attachment B. Urban Centers Element Amendments DT-11

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