Group withdraws appeal of Real Change's move to Pioneer Square
The dispute has ended over the Real Change newspaper's relocation to Pioneer Square. On Friday, the Pioneer Square Community Association released a joint statement with Real Change that they had "resolved their issues" over land use.
Seattle Times staff reporter
The dispute has ended over the Real Change newspaper's relocation to Pioneer Square.
On Friday, the Pioneer Square Community Association released a joint statement with Real Change that they had "resolved their issues" over land use, and that the association had withdrawn its appeal of the city of Seattle's decision to allow the nonprofit newspaper to move to First Avenue and Main Street.
The association's appeal to the city's hearing examiner argued that Real Change violated land-use codes by acting as a wholesale operation (selling papers to low-income and homeless people, who in turn sell them for a profit), and by adding a computer lab for vocational use.
Real Change moved to its Pioneer Square location last month.
Association Executive Director Leslie Smith declined to go into specifics of the agreement.
"We would just as soon not rehash all the issues," she said. "I think the bigger piece is that the neighborhood is working really hard on becoming a more vital neighborhood for everybody. Both parties were much more interested in moving forward for the continued benefit of Pioneer Square."
Real Change Executive Director Tim Harris said, "It's mostly stuff that we were willing to agree to at the beginning: that we aren't going to have vendors congregating on the sidewalk. They asked that when we consider regional expansion, that we decentralize our distribution to other regional locations, which, we would do that anyway.
"Then there was just basically an agreement that as we release the information about this, that we would not speak ill of each other," Harris said.
In March, Smith sent a letter to Mayor Mike McGinn asking to help find a different location for Real Change — which had outgrown its Belltown office of 15 years — claiming Pioneer Square had reached a saturation point with social services and citing "the public's perception of safety issues."
"I think anybody who was following it would understand that that was the issue," Harris said. "It was about perceived saturation of homelessness in the square."
But, he said, "Real Change belongs in this neighborhood. It is a very, very diverse neighborhood. A good number of our vendors live in this neighborhood, between low-income housing and homeless shelters, so it's a lot easier for our vendors to get here. I think we fit right in."
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