Morgan's Brain

Sep. 16, 2008 at 2:26pm

Schools Being Re-Zoned to Mixed-Use?

I admit, I have not been following all the zoning changes and comp plan updates like I wish I could. Simply, there is too much for one person to follow. But a comment made recently by a friend of mine (and the community) about the rezoning of some of our schools to mixed-use caught my attention.

According to city staff, the following schools are proposed to be rezoned to mixed-use: Mason, Lincoln, Jason Lee, Stadium, Washington, McCarver, McKinley, Geiger.

The reason, as put to me, was to make it easier for the school district to make changes, like signage, without having to go through a bunch of reviews by the city. I wasn't aware that this was a huge issue.

The first thought that ran through my mind when I heard about the rezone was: Roger's - the old elementary the Tacoma School District sold off (below market) to a church group. The hitch was that the church wanted to offer services for the homeless - neighbors said "No thanks!"

With a rezone to mixed-use, as I understand it at least, there wouldn't be much recourse for the community.

Now, I would much prefer using public policy to help prevent what happened with Roger's, but not seeing TPS and other agencies change their policies, I'm all for using zoning as a safeguard to stewardship in our neighborhoods. Besides, if the city wanted to make it easier for the school district to make changes to signage etc, couldn't it accomplish this through the creation of a "School" overlay zone without throwing the doors wide open should the school sell off properties?

Is it just me, or has this whole topic been off the community's radar? I haven't seen any mention of it in the TNT.

 

comments [8]  |  posted under homeless, policy, schools, services, tacoma, urban design, zoning

Comments

by NineInchNachos on 9/16/2008 @ 3:00pm
dood, that's wac

by Erik on 9/16/2008 @ 3:26pm
There is a great potential for school to be turned into something less desirable and more easily sold off at a higher price by the school district.

by morgan on 9/16/2008 @ 3:32pm
The bigger question: does the community care enough to get involved?

by chrism39 on 9/16/2008 @ 7:26pm
What does that mean, that they could be sold? Because I have been saying for years that closing Washington Hoyt would be a great way for the tacoma school district to make some money. Its a ridiculous waste of resources to keep open. Not all the kids are in the same building, it has no play field and 45% of the kids enrolled are bussed in. A couple years ago Sherman and Jefferson had very low enrollment, because everyone wanted to go to Washington Hoyt. Now I know that people love that school, but you could keep the main building and have a community center, sell off the remaining land and make the district a lot of money. And please don't talk to me about their high test scores, last year Sherman's were just as high if not higher.

by Erik on 9/16/2008 @ 8:37pm
Because I have been saying for years that closing Washington Hoyt would be a great way for the tacoma school district to make some money?

What Tacoma learned with Rogers is that the neighborhoods can loose control of the use of the building if it is rezoned which can be detrimental.

Given the neglible costs savings and the detriment to local schools, closing further local schools would do more harm than good:

ebjornson2.googlepages.com/schoolOpEd11-...

In reference to Washington Hoyt, the school is basically fully enrolled, has one of the most active PTAs, has good architecture, and one of the most successful in the schools in the city in terms of test scores. Washington Hoyt's example needs to be replicated.

The massive "yard requirement" for new schools is a bad policy. It basically requires schools to be located at the edge of town where no one can walk to requiring all the students to be bused in rather than being able to walk to school. Like many schools, Washington Hoyt is integrated in the neighborhood making it easy to walk to for many students.




by chrism39 on 9/16/2008 @ 9:23pm
It is being replicated at Sherman. There has been talks to close washington hoyt for years. We have two almost brand new schools Jefferson and Sherman both which are not at full enrollment because everyone wants to go to washington hoyt.

by Erik on 9/16/2008 @ 9:29pm
...both which are not at full enrollment because everyone wants to go to washington hoyt.

Yep. Tacomans like local neighborhood schools.

by chrism39 on 9/16/2008 @ 9:56pm
Sherman is a neighborhood school.