January 09th, 2017
Last month the Mayor came to the U District to tout his upzone plan and the reception got chilly rather quickly. According to displacement activist John Fox, CM Rob Johnson and the Mayor don’t feel that upzoning the UDistrict from 240′-320′ highrises from current 45′ to 65′ heights would “stimulate any increase in the amount of new residential and commercial development over what we’re already getting under current zoning.” That’s when the bullshit meter spiked, the residents howled, and the Mayor took a quick exit stage left. Please read the entire article .
This attachment from the CNC Land Use Committee was sent to Rob Johnson the Land Use Chair on City Council prior to the Sept. 15 hearing on the 2035 comp plan. The 24 page document summarizes recommended changes in each section of the comp plan to be considered before passage of the 2035 comp plan at Full Council Monday, October 10.
You are encouraged to email your comments in support of proposed changes as selected from the attached document or just endorsement of the entire document before October 10. The recommendation is to vote no on the passage of the 2035 plan until more essential recommendations from the CNC document are incorporated into 2035 comp plan.
There will be opportunity to oppose passage at the Full Council meeting Oct. 10. Bonnie
by Sarajane Siegfriedt
As John Fox and the Seattle Displacement Coalition correctly said, in Comp Plan Land Use Appendix A-1 page three totals), the real number is 35%. The 65% comes from the City Dept. of Planning which is the mouthpiece of the developers. They've excluded rights-of-way from the total acreage to get "Net Acreage." What's that? Why would anyone include it? Then for some inexplicable reason, they include parks and even Green Lake in the single-family part. So both the numerator and the denominator have to be changed to get this "65% of Seattle is zoned SF" Big Lie. The culprit is the city planners, who are in the pockets of the developers.
The real question for [the author of a recent crosscut article] Eric is, what is the carrying capacity of the zoned land? For SF >4,000 s.f., it's two units, either a mother-in-law apartment or a backyard cottage. If the HALA is successful in upzoning all urban villages to low-rise or midrise, what is the zoned capacity of these areas? In my Lake City urban village, a 162-unit, 7-story (not 6) midrise (with 6 so-called live/work units on the ground floor) is replacing three SF homes and one 22-unit courtyard building. I figure that's an increase of 600% to 800%, or 15% affordable units displaced by 162 new market-rate units. (These 25 units were demolished in 2015.)
The HALA proposes to increase multifamily zoning from 10% of the city to 13% in urban villages, plus upzoning along transit corridors to midrise multifamily (NC-65) for another 3% of the city to make multifamily zoning 16% of the city. That's a 60% increase from current acreage, and an increase of capacity of at least 600%. It's hard to defend any more increases to SF density on the basis of need, unless you believe developers need to develop more SF mansions. Bingo!
Speak Up Regarding MHA Impacts!
From the Wallingford Community Council
Increased density and zoning changes are proposed in Seattle's urban villages under the Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA) framework. The City has determined that MHA will have a significant adverse impact on the environment, and therefore the City is required to complete an environmental impact statement (EIS). The EIS will consider potential impacts associated with land use, housing and socioeconomics, public services, transportation, utilities, open space and recreation, aesthetics and height/bulk/scale, and historic resources.
The City government needs to hear from you now regarding the impacts of the proposed zoning changes! Development without concurrent mitigation benefits no one, regardless of whether one resides inside or outside of an urban village, in an apartment, a condominium, or a house.
Comments are now being accepted on the scope of the EIS. You may comment on alternatives, mitigation measures, probable significant adverse impacts, and licenses or other approvals that may be required. Consider incorporating the concerns described below, and send your comments by 5:00 PM on September 9, 2016.
Please continue to read...
by Sarajane Siegfriedt
The purpose of Neighborhood councils and their representative District Councils is to build community and to bring the unique needs of each community to the attention of the city. For example, Maple Leaf would never have received its wildly successful park built on a reservoir lid without thousands of hours of volunteer community involvement. The North District Council was crucial in organizing a broad expression of community support for the 130th Street Station being included in the final version of the ST3 plan. The Mayor's plan for a Commission on Community Involvement doesn't in any way substitute for community organizing of for the volunteer hours required by neighborhood grants.
by Susanna Lin
There has been a lot of discussion about HALA, but a far broader change to Seattle land use policy is coming up in the form of a new version of the Comprehensive Plan. The City is required to draft a Comprehensive Plan which acts as a roadmap for urban planning over a 20 year period. We have reached the end of that 20 year period for our first Comprehensive Plan, so Mayor Ed Murray has undertaken to write another one, which will be the Seattle 2035 Comprehensive Plan. The Mayor’s office has released the final draft, and a public hearing was held on the Comprehensive Plan on June 27th at 6:00 PM at City Hall.
Which tree is better for the environment?
The Comprehensive Plan is a massive document. It is 575 pages and its details could never be covered in one blog post. You may read through it here, or if you prefer there is a hard copy at the Wallingford Public Library.
The Comprehensive Plan includes a set of Neighborhood Plans. According to people involved in the initial drafting 20 years ago, it was a four year operation in which residents were really given a chance to shape the policy and it included an extensive vetting process with neighborhoods. It served as a lovely example of true neighborhood engagement.
The Neighborhood Plan lays out a fairly specific vision of how and where development should occur within the neighborhood, and the Comprehensive Plan made a binding commitment to that vision. In particular, areas zoned Single Family Residential could be upzoned (for example to Multifamily Residential) only where the Neighborhood Plan provides for it.
A sizable turnout of Seattlelites were present last night at City Hall for 2 hours of public comments on the Mayor's 2035 Comprehensive Plan. Present were Councilmembers Rob Johnson, Bruce Harrell, and Lorena Gonzalez.