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!
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: Jon Lisbin
Re: Danny Westneat's Seattle Times Article:
Yes, the city has already blown it's chance. Truth is, like the stock market, trying to time the housing market is a losing game. The city needs a steady consistent growth strategy, one that involves the community and builds into it factors that maintain livability and minimizes displacement. What we're seeing is reactionary and will bite us in the end. Yes, that end.
That's why I believe an effective inclusionary zoning plan makes sense in theory. The current MHA-R proposal however needs major improvements such as increased contribution from developers, incentives for building on site, 1 on 1 replacement of affordable housing, impact fees etc. If you have a moment, please sign Seattle Fair Growth’s petition for managed growth.
Martin Kaplan nails it! Don't allow bureaucrats to stifle citizen engagement, and ram top down policies down our throats, while degrading the city we love! Read the op ed
"There is not a war between urbanists and neighborhoods, only a rising storm from thousands of Seattleites who love their city, but very much dislike Murray’s and O’Brien’s new ideological foundation behind one-size-fits-all zoning, top-down proclamations that ignore public input, and a forced march toward controversial policies with little if any background study, with no reliable metrics and data, and without a serious and citywide commitment to listen to neighborhoods and invite their unbiased input."
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.
By Susanna Lyn
In January of this year, the Wallingford Community Council convened a meeting to educate the neighborhood on changes to zoning and housing policies that could have drastic effects on our neighborhood and our city. I attended, as did many others (around 200 were in attendance). At this meeting, I asked the person next to me, “What is an Urban Village?” (Keep reading if you have had the same question).
Since that meeting I have dived in with both feet (which at times includes following the mayor around with a sign and balloons) but also includes getting past all of the city’s propaganda and trying to figure out what the heck is really going on.
I wanted to share what I’ve uncovered with all of you. Pardon me if you’ve read this before; I did make a similar post on Nextdoor a while back. But I am hoping to continue sharing housing information with you here on Seattle Fair Growth, and so I thought it would be best if my first post started with some background (with a little bit of commentary thrown in). I hope you find this information worth your while…
Seattle Displacement Coalition: Why we oppose and urge you to oppose the Grand Bargain, and HALA upzone plan and why we would never sign the petition some groups are circulating supporting it.
by John Fox, Seattle Displacement Coalition
The HALA "Grand Bargain"
A Blueprint for more displacement and gentrification and loss of low income housing in our city.
The petition some groups are asking people to sign has been put forward by "Seattle for Everyone" (SFE). Except for two or three of its participant groups, it is little more than a front group made up primarily of development interests and groups affiliated with development interests. It's purpose is to lay the groundwork, convey the appearance of broad public support for across-the-board upzoning of our neighborhoods.
The trade-off that brought some 'advocacy' groups into this "unholy" alliance, was the promise that these massive displacement inducing upzones would be accompanied by an inclusionary housing requirement requiring developers to set aside a handful of low income housing units. This was dubbed the "Grand Bargain" but it is little more than a grand sell out for the cause of economic and social justice in our city.
by Sarajane Siegfriedt, Lake City
Josh Feit wrote in his Publicola blog 4/5/16:
“Speaking of HALA and how it dovetails with the housing levy: As people were testifying about the levy in council chambers, neighborhood representatives from the newly created HALA focus groups were meeting downstairs in the Bertha Knight Landes room. And in another coup for the mayor, the group wasn’t so much meeting to debate the HALA plan—which also includes neighborhood upzones, a commercial development linkage fee for affordable housing, urban village boundary changes, and the inclusionary housing requirement—but rather, they were tasked with how to make it all work.
The City “…rebranded mandatory inclusionary zoning as “Mandatory Housing Affordability,”… This serves to bury the intent of Mandatory Inclusionary Zoning (MIZ), which is to build 5% or 7% of moderately affordable housing within midrise buildings throughout the city. However, one developer predicted that no developer would want to hamper his resale value by actually including the rent-limited units and that “everyone” would pay the in-lieu fee instead. This would delay creation of affordable units by at least three years, while the City goes through the competitive process of finding a nonprofit developer who must find land and additional funding, then build the building.
by David B. - rumblecrash.com
New York Mayor Bill De Blasio just passed a suite of “affordable housing” legislation (analogous to HALA), over the opposition of most community groups and borough councils.
Critics say it does not require enough of developers, but – from what I can tell – it requires a lot more than our Mayor Murray is getting: There are 4 options for developers, "which start at setting aside 20% of units for people making an average of 40% of the median income, or $31,000, with rent about $775."
De Blasio plans clear Council, despite community opposition (NY Daily News)
Here’s something that explains Seattle For Everyone: "Faced with rejection from local community boards and borough presidents, de Blasio's office mounted a major campaign to get the plans passed, mustering unions and senior groups to support it. The AARP became a major ally.” Divide and conquer!
Paul Krugman weighs in for the urbanists (New York Times)
This is annoying! Has anyone else noticed him getting all patrician and self-involved lately?