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Seattle homeowners near waterfront need to help pay, says city

Should Seattle property owners have to pay for a waterfront park?

The City of Seattle wants property owners near downtown to pitch in to pay for the upcoming waterfront improvements, including an upcoming waterfront park set to be built after the Alaskan Way Viaduct is demolished.

Some downtown property owners could pay an assessment. It would be part of a Local Improvement District or LID.

“When you build a significant public improvement like this park, not only does it have general benefit to the whole city, but it creates a direct real estate value for those immediately next to it,” said Marshall Foster, director of Seattle’s Office of the Waterfront

Foster said the plan for a LID was initially made back in 2012, but still needs approval from the Seattle City Council this year. He said LIDs have been formed previously to fund Aurora Bridge and the downtown transit tunnel.

Some downtown property owners, like Robin Eng, don’t like the assessment proposal.

“Look at our waterfront view here,” said Eng sarcastically, pointed to his view of a high-rise building next door blocking his view from the waterfront 12 blocks away. “And you could just tell that we’ll have a glorious improvement.”

Still, last week Eng got a letter that said he may be asked to be a part of the LID.

Foster said that’s because the Waterfront Project includes transportation improvement on the Pike/Pine Corridor. He said the city purposefully cast a wide net due to feedback during the process in 2012.

A third-party appraiser is figuring out which properties would see an assessment if the city council approves the LID.

“If there’s not a benefit to them, then ultimately they won’t see an assessment,” said Foster.

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