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.
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.
by Jon Lisbin
Crosscut’s Josh Cohen reported on the U District’s Community Forum, held Tuesday May 16’th, covering the city’s proposed upzones. Although the article was a fair representation of the forum, SFG believes the label "anti-growth advocates" is a gross mischaracterization and one of the many labels (NIMBY, white, elitists, racists) being used by for profit interests, and their enablers, to suppress community input.
Seattle Fair Growth accepts growth as inevitable. The U District, Ballard and other Urban Villages have seen the city’s own growth targets for 2024 exceeded by over 300% 10 years early! Growth is not the question. The question is whether:
Click here for the article
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…
by David Baum, rumblecrash.com
Somewhere between 35% and 49% of the land in the city of Seattle is zoned for single-family homes, depending on exactly how you count. But the urbanists and their developer backers continue to claim that the number is "two-thirds," between 63% and 67%.
The urbanists lie about this because they want homeowners to appear greedy and exclusionary, even racist. "It's time for NIMBYs to share their privilege!" they exclaim. "Why should homeowners have two-thirds of the land, when so many new tech workers can't afford to move here and find a place to rent? The only way to increase the housing supply is to open up single-family zones to developers so the free market can increase density. While we're at it, let's get rid of single-family zoning altogether!" (That last bit didn't go over so well.)
But their argument is based on a lie. The only way to claim that two-thirds of the land is zoned single family is to include parks, open space, and cemeteries in the single-family zone. This is what the HALA committee did (and for which they were called out at Crosscut: Single-family Seattle isn't as big as density boosters claim).
By Jon Lisbin
Just couldn't believe my eyes when I passed by this morning. Have we become immune to the demolition going on right in front of our eyes? Affordable multi family units, being being replaced by luxury apartments, in the name of affordability. Do not watch if you are squeamish.
Special to The Times. WHEN I was in my 50s, with my son out of the house, I began planning to supplement my income by turning my half-finished daylight basement into a mother-in-law apartment. Now that I’m retired, it allows me to stay in my home and afford the city’s ever-increasing property taxes.
Mother-in-law apartments are carved out of an existing home, most often in a basement, or sometimes in an attached garage. Backyard cottages, on the other hand, are more complex to permit, design and build. They’re about 10 times more expensive, likely to rent for market rates and they raise lots of concerns with the neighbors.
The Seattle City Council should separate mother-in-law apartment legislation from backyard cottages. They are the best and least expensive way the city can encourage moderately affordable housing.
by David Baum, rumblecrash.com - April 29, 2016
Alan Durning’s think tank, the Sightline Institute, received a $400,000 grant in October 2015 to promote Mayor Murray’s Housing and Livability Agenda (HALA). Mr. Durning was a member of the Mayor’s HALA Advisory Committee, and is an outspoken enemy of neighborhood involvement in land-use policy. The two-year grant will enable Sightline “to leverage its communications, communications strategy (i.e. messaging research), and policy research expertise to promote HALA’s agenda in Seattle.” [Source]
The donor is the Open Philanthropy Project, which distributes the personal multi-billion-dollar fortune of Dustin Moskovitz, a co-founder of Facebook, and his wife Cari Tuna. Mr. Moskovitz and Ms. Tuna are interested in “land use reform,” which to them means promoting “more permissive policy.”
by John Fox and Carolee Colter, Seattle Displacement Coalition reprinted from Pacific Publishing newspapers April 2016
The Seattle Displacement Coalition has deep roots in Seattle’s neighborhood movement. We’ve written this “Outside City Hall” column, featuring important neighborhood issues, for 13 years. We personally know most of the leaders of Seattle’s active community councils, and our views are nearly always in synch with theirs.
For example, the Laurelhurst Community Council, representing one of Seattle’s toniest neighborhoods, was among the first to back a tough demolition-control law barring developers from tearing down our city’s affordable housing stock unless units were replaced one-for-one at comparable price.