VIDEO: Overflow crowd discusses proposed West Seattle Junction Urban Village rezoning for HALA’s Mandatory Housing Affordability

IMG_8404 (1)

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

“How do we grow as a city and create more affordable housing in all of our neighborhoods?”

That’s the question the current proposal for Mandatory Housing Affordability rezoning, as part of the city’s Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda, is supposed to address.

But despite hundreds of properties proposed for rezoning, it could result in fewer than 100 affordable units over the next 20 years in the West Seattle Junction Urban Village, according to one part of the presentation seen by ~200 people last night, filling the upstairs hall at the Senior Center for a briefing, Q&A session, and small-group discussions of that area’s part of the plan.

The meeting was officially billed as a Community Design Workshop. We were there for the entire three hours. First – in case you are still catching up on HALA, which includes 60+ components in addition to the MHA rezoning – we recorded the half-hour primer provided by Brennon Staley of the Office of Planning and Community Development – “the background and how we got here,” regarding what he described as a “housing affordability crisis”:

Other city staffers from OPCD were there, as well as a representative from the office of Councilmember Rob Johnson – who chairs the Planning, Land Use, and Zoning Committee through which the final proposals will go – District 1 Councilmember Lisa Herbold (observing rather than speaking), and consulting-firm employees who facilitated the small-group discussions.

The Junction area has 3,880 homes today – that includes apartments, townhouses, houses – Staley said. If nothing (zoning, etc.) changes, 2,300 new homes are expected to be added in the next 20 years. If MHA rezoning is approved, that number is expected to bump to 2,800 new homes, with 80 to 130 of them “affordable.” After the four-digit building boom of the past few years, those numbers drew some audible expressions of disbelief from around the room. Staley did offer the caveat that it’s “just an estimate, could be more or less.”

The presentation had a few points of customization for the West Seattle Junction area – including “retain(ing) highest density along the SW Alaska ‘transit spine’,” the “transition from (higher heights) to single-family areas,” and larger density increases near transit, stores, Fairmount Park.

That brought the question that resurfaced at last week’s Junction Neighborhood Organization Land Use Committee meeting – what about waiting for rezoning until the station locations for Sound Transit 3 are known? There was no real answer to that, aside from the acknowledgement that it’s a unique issue for this area.

Another common question was the potential effect of rezoning on property taxes. That’s where the question-and-answer section began – here’s our video of that half-hour:

That didn’t get to all the questions, and it was promised that they all will be answered on a TBA webpage. But that could take a month, the city reps acknowledged, when asked how long that would take, given that no summary of the December 7th open house – 7+ weeks ago – has turned up yet.

If you’re interested, but couldn’t go last night, we highly advise taking the time to listen to the video, but here are a few highlights:

Questions included how “infrastructure” is being addressed, including the need for more schools. The city is “working closely with Seattle Public Schools” as it plans for the BEX 5 ballot measure (followup to BEX 4, which built new schools including Genesee Hill and Arbor Heights Elementaries), reps said.

And then there was the question of whether the “affordable housing” to be generated by MHA will “contribute to solving the homeless problem.” Staley’s response was that it’s “interrelated but not the same issue” – homelessness, he said, is caused partly by the cost of housing, and also by “other issues” (he did not elaborate).

The Junction already has absorbed much more growth than was envisioned to have happened by now, so could some of the proposed growth be shifted to other areas of the city that have not? “That’s why we are out talking to people,” Staley replied.

The perennial issue of vehicle parking came up. “We know (it) is a concern,” Staley said, adding that there is no minimum or maximum for it in urban-village projects, but most projects, he said, include it. (Many attendees shouted, WRONG! at this point.)

And then there was a followup on the small number of affordable units expected to be generated, whether by percentages or fees, from Junction upzoning, and a question about where in this area that the city already had built affordable housing. Staley contended there had been a “lot,” and when asked where, started to mention the High Point redevelopment, but the discussion veered away at that point. (He said the Office of Housing has a map, but did not have a representative at the meeting.)

Around midway through the three-hour meeting, the small-group discussions began. People who had RSVPd were pre-assigned to certain tables, and more were added for those who had not – “there’s so much interest in your community,” the facilitator explained.

IMG_8411 (1)

The room was abuzz with conversation all the way until the 9 pm conclusion – some left early, but not many. We listened in at multiple tables, where concerns ranged from wanting to exempt single-family areas from rezoning, to wanting more green space, to wanting to be sure that West Seattle’s hilly topography was taken into account when considering how height changes would play out. By the meeting’s end, maps on tables had many comments, from discrepancies to suggestions – here are a few examples:

IMG_8422

IMG_8420

IMG_8413

IMG_8424

West Seattle Junction is one of four urban villages in West Seattle – this type of meeting was held, though little-publicized, in Westwood-Highland Park in November; Admiral will have one the morning of Saturday, February 11th; and Morgan Junction will too, with a date TBA. MHA rezoning also affects commercial/multifamily property EVERYWHERE in the city, so you might be affected even if you’re not in an “urban village” area. (Added: Here’s the interactive map you can use to zoom in on any area of West Seattle – or the rest of the city – to see whether any particular spot is affected.)

COMMENT ONLINE: You can comment on any urban-village proposal at hala.consider.it. Or, you can e-mail comments to halainfo@seattle.gov.

61 Replies to "VIDEO: Overflow crowd discusses proposed West Seattle Junction Urban Village rezoning for HALA's Mandatory Housing Affordability"

  • Dave January 27, 2017 (2:02 pm)

    If there are break out groups at these types of meetings, be skeptical of leaders of the groups IF they aren’t chosen at the beginning of each small group meeting.

    • WSB January 27, 2017 (2:19 pm)

      Each table had a professional facilitator assigned. City has a contract with consulting firms for this kind of thing.

      • Brian January 29, 2017 (10:55 pm)

        My table had no facilitator. I volunteered to attempt at leading the dialogue. 

        I live in the Junction (LR3 Zone) and I didn’t see my neighbors. Where was the diversity of my block? There was only one dominant demographic at that meeting, which does not represent the racial and age diversity of the Junction. It can be intimidating attending a community meeting that does NOT foster a welcoming environment for diverse groups.

        • KM January 30, 2017 (3:22 pm)

          Indeed. I always write or call on these proposals for that very reason.

  • Buzz January 27, 2017 (2:45 pm)

    One way conversation.  the guy said they would be here all night to answer questions – liar!  All they want is more TAXES!!!

  • ltfd January 27, 2017 (3:18 pm)

    They aren’t “facilitators”, they are “controllers”.

    • flimflam January 27, 2017 (3:46 pm)

      a lot of these meetings go this way now – discussion get “guided” by the group leaders and what is reported as result also gets “guided”. mike O’Brien loves this method in district .

  • dsa January 27, 2017 (3:25 pm)

    It’s also called divide and conquer. 

  • 123 January 27, 2017 (4:26 pm)

    One more pitch for filling out the survey. Admiral has only ~23 respondents so far – not representative of our community. Most neighbors I’ve talked to still had no idea this was coming or how it would impact them – please look at the proposal and voice your opinion. http://hala.consider.it/

    • Mike January 27, 2017 (8:22 pm)

      If it was between 6am and 7pm, most of Admiral is commuting to and from work, or at work.  What a joke.

      • WSB January 27, 2017 (8:35 pm)

        Not sure if you are referring to the February 11th Admiral workshop, but it’s 9:30 am-12:30 pm on a Saturday.
        http://www.seattle.gov/hala/calendar?trumbaEmbed=view%3Devent%26eventid%3D122073224

        • Makes no sense January 28, 2017 (5:42 am)

          Just clicked on the link and the city requires an RSVP to attend

          are you kidding me?

          • Mike January 28, 2017 (8:21 am)

            They limit space and pack it full of their own like minded people first.  Our mayor beat Sawant to the punch by prefilling his talk once so her protesting clan could not pack the meeting.  As messed up as that was, I applauded him for beating her at her own game.

          • WSB January 28, 2017 (9:21 am)

            The RSVPs were sort of a reverse version of the usual “sign in when you arrive” setup. Please note that **you are not required to do either**, regardless of the line in the blurb that says “RSVP required.” You are not required to identify yourself when you speak up in a public meeting, either. If you do RSVP, you’ll have a nametag waiting and a number or dot or something like that on the tag will assign you to one of the tables for the small-group discussion, but for example, at this meeting, as noted, they set up extra tables expecting overflow. But if you don’t, or don’t want to RSVP, do NOT let that keep you from the meeting. One local community leader had heard that somebody was told that RSVPs were “closed” as of a day before the meeting and so she stood guard outside the door to make sure that they weren’t turning anyone away! Assuming this is in the commons at WSHS, there is LOTS of room and so capacity is not an issue. – TR

            P.S. RSVPing or signing up at events like this DOES put you on the official notification list if they send out followup e-mails, notices of other meetings, etc. But if you are diligent about watching related websites (and ours) that info is generally made public one way or another anyway.

        • Mike January 28, 2017 (8:24 am)

          no, I’m referring to any meeting that impacts anyone living in an area these decisions greatly impact.  The Junction is a core area used by everyone around here, just like 35th, Fauntleroy and California Ave.  The people running these meetings strategize how to limit the voice of those impacted most.  This isn’t a new tactic, but it’s how they legally get around decisions they know won’t turn out how they (the officials) want it to if the people have a voice.

          • Garfield January 28, 2017 (10:42 am)

            I mean “the people” want policies of segregation and displacement to protect their bogus “livability” – so it may be best approach. 

  • Kadoo January 27, 2017 (5:03 pm)

    Our facilitator wasn’t writing down our concerns until I called him on it. He took a position on growth and should have been neutral. Some had good facilitators who listened. I didn’t have that experience so I spoke with Lisa Herbild about it last night, and wrote Rob Johnson, Spencer Williams, and Lisa Herbold today. Frustrating. I don’t think the city wants our opinion on HALA. 

    • Ed Slope January 28, 2017 (7:56 pm)

      Please engage the at large council members as well. Council member Lorena Gonzalez lives in WS Junction and didn’t attend the meeting.

  • Ah Clem January 27, 2017 (5:45 pm)

    As in my previous interactions with HALA, felt like we are merely props for their outreach activities.  They don’t care what the middle class and lower middle class residents think.  Their plans will completely gentrify the junction, totally eliminate existing more affordable houses and apartments, enrich developers, and produce not one new unit of “affordable”  in the junction urban village.

    • Ed Slope January 27, 2017 (7:20 pm)

      I couldn’t believe their math!!!! The total redevelopment of our neighborhood will contribute only, and probably optimistically, 84-124 new affordable units and 500 new market units over 20 years. Insanely inefficient program that also doesn’t engage the potential of neighborhoods or apparently any agencies responsible for parks,  schools, transportation, taxation, and the list goes on and on…The exception are some very special developers that are selected by whom and using what criteria?!

      The city has identified a real opportunity to improve our wellbeing of our diverse citizenry but has failed to give us a plan we can support in earnest. Under this current Murray/Johnson/Gonzalez/O’Brien/Developer scheme I have concluded there is no choice but to vote NO to sf 5000 upzones and NO expansion of the Alaska junction urban village! 

      • Captin January 27, 2017 (8:06 pm)

        So the whole junction won’t be bulldozed overnight? Again, not saying this can’t be improved…..but an (who knows how accurate) 524 units more? Per earlier WSB posts that’s 124 more than the Whittaker will have. That’s not a drop in the bucket. I wish we knew where the light rail was going to go but realistically if it is going to go in the junction proper we’re talking about a 10 min walk turning into an 8 min walk or 12 min walk depending on where it actually lands. Still not bad.

        • Ed Slope January 27, 2017 (8:35 pm)

          So exactly how long will it take to BULLDOZE the whole neighborhood?! j/k

          I think you’re still caught up with how agreeable the affordability and livability principles really are. Take a look at the math and tell me the SF upzones are an absolute necessity to make our city an urban planner’s utopia!

          What’s your stake in this beyond concerned citizen? Understanding that will help everyone put your comments into context. The city stood up in front of the group last night and said that homeowner taxes wouldn’t (or maybe that was tax rate or total taxes paid they couldn’t get it straight, he clearly didn’t understand the research) go up in the first for years and then they weren’t so sure what would happen. 

          The city repeatedly didn’t answer questions that were reasonable and important to the people in the room. Is that how the city treated their developer partners?! This plan isn’t ready for prime time. One meeting with residents doesn’t make a community growth plan. 

          • Captin January 28, 2017 (7:43 am)

            Right. There is no way to fully accurately predict those things because markets change over time, etc. I have no real stake in this beyond being a citizen on WS. I just think this isn’t black and white and don’t like the idea of everyone getting out their pitchforks when HOPEFULLY it’s not already a done deal. Ideally this is a living document and process. However is see that people facilitating are in favor of it. It isn’t ready for prime time as he said we’re over a year out from this thing going to council. This is complicated but it’s part of the growth process.I can’t believe they won’t entertain a park and ride near the future light rail station and think no one will be in cars in 20 years! But if we’re going to grow anywhere wouldn’t it make sense to grow an urban village near light rail and rapid ride where riders can transfer? I think the city will become more gentrified and segregated over time if we don’t do something because there are only so many people that are going to be able to afford $3000 apartments and $1,000,000 homes. 

          • Ed Slope January 28, 2017 (12:00 pm)

            I think you’re being naive. This is a negotiation and the city hasn’t invited neighbors to the table. While developer interests have been more than represented. We aren’t carrying pitchforks (dont you realize how the city has created a plan to pit resident against resident allowing proponents to demonize a few ‘nimbys’ who have legit issues?!) but we are going to keep flexing our voice to force our city officials to answer our questions, concerns and demands until it reflects what our neighborhood and those invested in homes affected need to make it work. Right now the city hasn’t provided homeowners anything to protect us for the risk we are asked to assume for the WHOLE city. As one city official put it at the infamous Shelbys meeting – ‘this is an experiment’ – while I see my neighborhood concerned with solving this huge issue I’m convinced that the city hasn’t considered or addressed the burden of market risk and livabilty issues they are placing fully on the shoulders of a minority of common citizens. Not to mention how uninspired and underwhelming the growth plan really is! WE LIVE HERE! WE VOTE!

          • Captin January 28, 2017 (1:23 pm)

            Fair enough and I have never disagreed with you. I think the city should do more outreach. But I also think they had to have some sort of proposal to get the ball rolling. They should listen to us and if we make enough noise they will have no choice but to do so. They should come back with tweaks in another draft taking into consideration the input of those that live in impacted areas. That would be the right thing to do. I want to see if they actually do that. If they don’t I’ll be mad too. On the blog it just looks like the comments are one liners that are entirely negative and just NO!

            We made enough noise about the homeless people in parks thing that they listened.

            I think even the most vehemently opposed to HALA would answer the questions 

            Do we need more affordable housing? -yes

            Do we need more efficient transit? -yes

            Do we want to be San Francisco? -no

            Do we want West Seattle to stay awesome? -yes

            to me it breaks down like this as far as planning for growth:

            0% if

            20% when

            80% where and how

            We are in the when/where/how stage. Let’s make them listen and upzone the right way.

            If this type of process would have happened 20 or 30 years ago we might already have light rail in the junction and all of the cons brought up about this might have already been solved or mitigated. Maybe we would already have better parking, less traffic on the bridge, lower rents, etc. maybe not. I’m just trying to think positive and in no way mean to be combative. 

          • Matt January 29, 2017 (10:11 am)

            Most developers are against the MHA program too, just for different reasons.  If you look at the trade off between the additional development potential against the new fees, it is really unbalanced.  The ‘give away’ currently is much less valuable than the cost they will incur. You can say that the difference would just come out of developers’ profit, but in reality it will pass through to buyers, renters resulting in more expensive housing for everyone.  For those interested, here is a article covering the thinking behind the program and why that balance is critical. http://www.sightline.org/2017/01/10/checking-seattle-mandatory-housing-affordability-math/

          • WS Guy January 28, 2017 (3:48 pm)

            The thing is, this DID happen 20 years ago, and rail WAS in the plan.  The 1999 neighborhood plan was more than a year of community meetings and covered the whole range of things people cared about.  From transit, to character, to density.  An upzone was a part of it.  The monorail was a part of it.  It was the right approach.  It’s the approach we should be taking now, instead of reacting to a density-only plan handed to us from downtown.

            The flaw in the 1999 plan is that the city didn’t follow it, or maybe, we didn’t hold the city accountable to it.  We got the upzone, but the monorail was canceled, and everything else was ignored.

          • Ed Slope January 28, 2017 (6:17 pm)

            Hear, hear!

  • Steve January 27, 2017 (8:40 pm)

    The city doesn’t care about your opinion.  They are just checking the boxes.  This is a dog and pony show!  Nothing more…

  • Neighbor January 27, 2017 (9:25 pm)

    My group included a Johnson rep 100% in favor of HALA because she thinks it will give her a shot at buying a single family home someday without regard for the deliberate displacement of existing single family residents. She said she can afford a condo on her current salary, but wants HALA to make it so that she can buy what she wants where she wants without sacrifice and moving up over time. Granted, she also tried to shame the group into car-free living in a smaller footprint, because that’s what works for her at this point in her life with no significant other and no children. This didn’t seem like an information gathering effort; it was an effort to sell upzones to a few more people and check a box. The math of killing a few neighborhoods of single family housing for 300-500 additional units, and around 80 affordable is laughable. Someone got in the Mayor’s pants and is directing this without any regard for existing residents. Basically, the Mayor and D4 Rep Johnson want 3% of the population to sacrifice their neighborhoods because, affordability, without regard for livability. Oh, and that pay-to-use golf course in West Seattle is considered green space, and therefore no additional consideration for livability and green space is needed in West Seattle, so making this upzone perfect for their little plan. And they didn’t upzone anything west of California Ave due to the ground slope and the potential for landslides (per Amy) but didn’t give any consideration to the actual Seattle DPD landslide study and map that shows the Fauntleroy Park upzone to be in a potential slide zone… imagine the consequences of wall to wall townhomes in a slide zone versus rooted vegetation. So basically, some urbanists sold the Mayor snake oil proposals and he drank it, and 3% of existing resident in single family zones will suffer the consequences of uncertainty, potential concrete canyons, and construction around them due to a rushed decision. Not to mention we have to go through this whole discussion of zoning, eminent domain, etc. again in about 3-5 years when ST3 is deciding whether to actually bring light rail to WS and whether to build above ground or below. 

    • ACG January 27, 2017 (9:57 pm)

      Just curious, you mention a Fauntleroy Park upzone. Where did you find info for that area to be upzoned?  I see info that the area around Endolyne Joes is planned for upzone and along 35th between Roxbury and Henderson. Can you tell me where I can find info for changes near Fauntleroy Park?  Trying to sift thru this stuff online is maddening and I want to be sure I am getting all the info I can. Thanks. 

      • WSB January 27, 2017 (10:03 pm)

        The citywide interactive map is here:
        http://seattlecitygis.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=6aafeae86b1f4392965531c376489676

        There is nothing adjoining Fauntleroy Park, as you’ll see if you zoom in. The two areas you mention are labeled and shown – as with the rest of the city, all multifamily/commercial property is proposed for upzoning, and those are the closest pockets. The southwest side of 35th/Roxbury is certainly close – that’s the parcel where the charter school will be breaking ground next week at the ex-church/supermarket.

        • ACG January 27, 2017 (10:33 pm)

          Thanks, WSB. I was unable to attend the meeting, so I wasn’t sure if Neighbor saw something new at the meeting that isn’t posted on the city’s website. 

        • Neighbor January 27, 2017 (10:34 pm)

          Sorry, meant Fairmont Park. My bad. Perhaps the frustration of being totally dismissed by city officials made me forget my neighborhood.

      • Cmt January 27, 2017 (10:32 pm)

        Perhaps the poster meant Fairmount Park as that whole neighborhood is proposed to be upzoned.

  • Neighbor January 27, 2017 (10:42 pm)

    Yes, cmt, thanks for the correction!

  • WS JuNO Land Use January 28, 2017 (12:46 am)

    Hi – I’m posting on behalf of the JuNO Land Use Committee.  We were so excited to see so many neighbors at the event!  We think it would not have happened were it not for the calls and messages that people sent to city leaders.

    If you were there, please post your thoughts about it or email us at wsjuno@gmail.com to let us know.   (Or include us on feedback that you send to the city.)  We are gathering notes so that we can plan what we should do next to best support our community.  Thank you!

  • Mourning in America January 28, 2017 (9:02 am)

    If those who live immediately nearby to these zoning changes do not stand-up and object to them, then those who live nearby will get the complete horror story they deserve.

    All you people should need to do, in order to learn what is coming your way, is view the on-street parking on 41st Ave. SW immediately south of Edmunds street at most any time of the day or night.

    Now if you are collectively foolish enough to will that to be your future then the rest of us can only point and laugh.

    The meeting, as pictured, was essentially just a bunch of white people sitting around pretending to make decisions for “our neighborhoods” (and with regard to “affordable housing” no less).

    These projects shouldn’t even be allowed to thrive based on that pure idiocy alone, yet you habitually allow these dumb ideas to continue to fester.

  • Steve January 28, 2017 (9:07 am)

    I found the entire experience completely depressing. The developers own this city and this is going to go through whether we want it or not (and I don’t). The city is just giving us opportunities to blow off steam, thinking we’ll just get it out of our system while they keep steamrolling right along.

    There wasn’t even any city facilitator at the table I was assigned to. Once I realized that I was wasting my time, I just left.

  • matt hutchins January 28, 2017 (9:12 am)

    I’ll volunteer a  recap From Table 5 (and forgive me if I didn’t capture every comment from my neighbors–please add).

    First of all,for background, the make up of our group:
    Some residents but not all in the urban village, living in LR and SF zones. Some lived in areas which are to be upzoned in the current plan. Several new residents, however most had lived in the neighborhood for many years. Sadly, no renters or younger residents. The average age of our table was probably 55, 70/30 women, predominately white. 

    Here is a summary of the primary themes of our discussion:
    1. Expansion of urban village to the west, down the slope, so that it more closely aligns with the 10 minute walk shed, and provides more transition from current tall zones. 
    2. The idea of creating another ring of zoning changes outside the current urban village, making the Single Family into Residential Small Lot, would more widely distribute the incoming residents and development, in a way that 1) would be more gradual 2) at a lesser scale and 3) eliminate the need for many of the extra height bumps in the core. Spreading out density, rather than exclusively concentrating it in the Urban villages seems to be a more equitable, managable method the City should come back to.
    3.There were several who recalled earlier plans and suggested redrawing maps to exclude Single Family from UV (at odds with the prior points but we’re weren’t attempting to achieve consensus). 
    4. Supporting more backyard cottages and mother in laws through out Single Family zones city wide. The cheapest apartment is the mother-in-law in the basement of a current house, and it can address our city’s needs today. 
    5. Investigate tax incentives to either defray possible increases in assessments, or use tax breaks to subsidize the creation of affordable housing with in Single Family. 
    6. More Concurrent planning with ST3 station, given the limitations of current transit and bridge access, lack of a hospital. Many questioned the whether the planning going into infrastructure was really going to be adequate, given that we’re outpacing current projections. 
    7. More places to work in West Seattle, therefore taking commuter traffic off the bridge. 
    8. Find more park space. Personally, I am not sure that it is appropriate in the dense Hub Urban Village or even possible given the difficulty of acquiring new parcels at this point, but it certainly should be a very high priority for the health of the neighborhood as a whole, even if it doesn’t get addressed in this MHA program. 

    • Captin January 28, 2017 (10:38 am)

      Matt- thank you for the recap. I myself was unable to attend. I have made it to a few others though and saw mostly the same demographic that you describe (which I am part of).

      Hooray for dialogue and trying to reach a concensus! I hope that healthy conversations continue and that we can help shape these changes. Item 4 is also a big deal. Hopefully those regulations will get loosened up at some point. I personally think dadus wont explode because it takes a certain breed of cat to allow people to live in your basement or backyard. But it will help and spread growth some. Again, thanks for sharing what you heard!

      • Mark Schletty January 28, 2017 (11:40 am)

        Keep in mind the backyard/basement additional units being proposed aren’t really for who you think they are.  The proposal is to allow both a dadu and an adu, and to remove ( practically speaking)  any owner occupancy requirement.  The proposal is a huge giveaway to developers. It allows a developer to buy a single family lot and convert it into a triplex rental site. Given this opportunity they will spread quickly all over the city, effectively converting single family zoning to multifamily zoning.

        • Captin January 28, 2017 (12:01 pm)

          So let’s tweak it and make it work! Lengthen the owner occupancy requirement? Exclude llc’s? A large impediment to these happening is that normal home owners are afraid to spend lots of money on one knowing they may transfer at work, get laid off, move to Atlanta, or whatever. I’m not a developer but it seems like it would be hard to buy a house for $550,000, raze it and build 3 rental units in its place and make a ton of money. Considering there are sweeter deals with higher returns. Maybe some and I’m not claiming to be an expert. Some properties are better suited than others too. Some already have the sq ft and say a large detached garage. That would be “easy” to make a triplex for sure. There’s a lot to digest in all of these proposals for sure and we should protect single family zoning to the extent that it is practical in terms of “the american dream”, growth management, and the greater good of the entire city. It’s a tough line to tread for sure.

          • Ed Slope January 28, 2017 (1:22 pm)

            That’s not the city’s approach to date!

            @mark Youre right! Hat is Exactly why the QA neighborhood is against the latest city dadu proposal.  I can guess that if the owner occupied clause was written back in there would be more acceptance but alas developers, developers, developers!

            These SF neighborhoods have more flexibility, creativity and captial than any developer yet the Mayor, his council and his taskfirce have united to propose developer class solutions instead of homeowner, resident, and neighborhood driven solutions. Mayor Murray, Council, HALA = fail! 

          • wetone January 28, 2017 (2:51 pm)

             Investors/builders in many cases will leave existing house and remodel  adding unit, then build new freestanding (DADU) unit on lot. Bingo 3 units. Leaving neighboring homes with more traffic, noise, less light from opening of setbacks, height restrictions, lot usage and parking requirements. All having large impacts in single family neighborhoods. There is a reason people purchased their homes in such. I’m not against a small single unit with the proper restrictions and being owner occupied. Mayor Patchwork and HALA group keep telling people it’s about affordable housing I say bull, it’s about money it will generate  for city and certain groups. It will be end of single family housing. People need to quit drinking Mayor Patchworks sauce if they think  HALA will help with affordable housing in Seattle. Just remember everyday those coming and going from WS are impacted with every new unit built with the limited  ingress /egress system we have, and nothing planned to change for 15+yrs. 

            Is the city loading up WS for other reasons ? like being able to collect more $$$ with 99 tunnel tolls or start tolling WSfwy. ; )

          • Captin January 28, 2017 (7:21 pm)

            You are probably right that that can happen under the current proposal. (Re: Dadus) That’s why it should be tweaked. I don’t know about conspiracy theories about the city conspiring to milk West Seattle for tunnel fees because every levy ever proposed gets passed for transportation or whatever. Really? this is a whole drawn out conspiracy to siphon money out of hard working West Seattlelites? With all due respect that sounds a little trumpesque (lower case intended). People want to live in West Seattle and Ballard and Capitol Hill and South Lake Union, etc.  Do you not want to live here? What happened is West Seattle became cheaper than Ballard and other desirable neighborhoods in Seattle so people started moving here and prices went up.

            I know you guys hate me but when it comes to things like this why do we immediately go from rational people to conspiracy theories and believing that anything and everything is rooted in pure evil and/or stupidity and go to immediate group think? I just can’t do it. 

          • Ed Slope January 28, 2017 (8:03 pm)

            @captin love trumps hate 

    • Ed Slope January 28, 2017 (12:02 pm)

      Great summary Matt! Is the city listening?!

  • CMT January 28, 2017 (1:26 pm)

    I was at Table 4 and took a picture of our table’s comments that the facilitator wrote on our map and have used that to tried to capture them below.  I’m also posting this summary at the West Seattle JuNO Land Use facebook page as comments are being collected there to determine next steps. 

    Our table talked about our strong
    desire to have the City work with our neighborhood to develop a solution for
    accommodating density that does not involve upzoning SF. 
    Although participants discussed at the end that IF there were upzones, they should be consistent with neighborhood design (i.e., no flat roofs), have setbacks, etc., the group wanted to make clear that
    those comments should not be interpreted as agreement with the proposed SF upzoning. 

     

    People expressed concern that the housing built in West Seattle as a result of the proposed rezone of SF would result in the destruction of existing affordable housing in West Seattle and replacement with expensive housing, the opposite of what the plan purports to achieve.  Existing residents will be displaced.  One person said that the fee developers can pay to not build affordable housing here is too low.  On the other hand, another person believed that the fee was not low and that developers would opt to build the affordable housing here rather than pay the fee.

     

    Many felt that any rezoning should be coordinated with the coming of light rail although one person expressed that he didn’t think that it was necessary for the HALA-related rezoning to be coordinated with light rail as circumstances may substantially change by the time the stations are decided upon.

     

    People expressed a desire for the City to
    address the need for density in our area creatively rather than simply an
    across-the-board 2 upzone in the Junction.  People highlighted various areas in the Junction
    that could go higher as opposed to invading SF neighborhoods.  There was a discussion of allowing/encouraging office type building that would allow people to live and work in the Junction. 

     

    Our table  talked about the ridiculousness of the
    golf course counting as green space.  People suggested using some of that space for multi-family residential development.  Also, people suggested that developers should be required to provide some green space as part of their developments.

     

    Frustration was expressed that, despite our Neighborhood Plan’s stated goals and policies that mandate keeping SF within the urban village, the proposed rezone places zero value on single family neighborhoods.  Concern was expressed regarding the lack of regard for the historic nature of the neighborhoods. 

     

    Concern was expressed that the upzones would render the investments people had made in their homes valueless. 

     

    The MHA principal that entire blocks should be rezoned as a buffer/transition was criticized as simply an excuse for rezoning. 

     

    Our table talked about the fact that the plan is
    only projected to create 500 additional homes over 20 years and how if just one more
    Whittaker–type building was constructed, it would provide for the density the
    current proposal is supposed to address without ruining 20 blocks of SF.

     

    Lack of existing infrastructure, including schools that are already at capacity, and standing-room only transit was discussed.  Concern about the lack of a hospital in the event a disaster shuts down the bridge.

     

    It was raised that, as an urban village, WS Junction was supposed to receive funding for amenities such as libraries, parks and a community center which have not been forthcoming, yet it is still expected to take on significant density because it is an “urban village.” 

     

    People raised the importance of the City exploring other areas outside of the existing urban villages to develop.  It was noted that light rail is planned to go to Delridge yet at this time, Delridge does not have a grocery store.   Creation of new urban village areas in places like Magnolia was discussed. 

     

    It was pointed out by a Morgan Junction resident (who attended because the Morgan Junction workshop had been cancelled) that because upzones are proposed for Morgan Junction and Admiral Junction, it is really an entire swath of West Seattle that is proposed to be re-zoned which is not clear when the maps are viewed in isolation. 

     

    Concern was expressed that the City was already doing the Environmental Impact Study based upon the current draft proposal, which gives the impression they do not intend to take into account this feedback. 

     

    People expressed their belief that this was just a check the box exercise by the City without any real intention of taking our feedback into account.  There was criticism of the City’s opportunities for providing feedback, including the hala.considerit website.

      


     

     

    • CMT January 28, 2017 (1:30 pm)

      All – sorry about the weird formatting in my post – I tried to transfer it from a word document I was working in!

    • Ed Slope January 28, 2017 (2:47 pm)

      @cmt and everyone at table 4; Bravo, Brava! 

  • Ed Slope January 28, 2017 (2:35 pm)

    According to SoundTransit, 51% of Seattle households are within walking distance of a 10- minutes bus ride. The Move Seattle 2025 goal is 72%. The primary rational for MHA proposed up zone areas has been access to ‘exceptional’ mass transit. If it’s all about access to mass transit and 51% of households have exceptional access, why then are only 6% of single family households proposed for MHA upzoning?

    Sound Transit Rapid Ride Facts – 2016

    BTW, for those of us that wonder why ST3 hasn’t been included in the up zoning conversation keep wondering – both Mayor Murray and Councilmember Rob Johnson are on the Sound Transit Board of Directors!

    Sound Transit and ST3 Board of Directors

  • Jeannie January 29, 2017 (8:40 pm)

    I wrote to the HALA crew. One of the things I pointed out:  It’s ridiculous to assume that people will stop using their cars. And, with all the condos springing up and the West Seattle population growing, crossing the West Seattle Bridge is going to be a bigger nightmare than it already is.

  • Karin January 30, 2017 (7:41 pm)

    I worry that the facilitators at the 1/26 meeting at the Senior Center about rezoning were intent on having participants agree to compromises that would sanction rezoning and more building in the Junction rather than hearing our concerns and carrying those concerns to the City.  My facilitator had a hard time hearing our group say that we want to abide  by prior rezoning agreements since that ‘urban village plan’ has not yet been totally developed.  

    • Ed Slope January 30, 2017 (10:07 pm)

      I had a similar sense. I repeatedly mentioned that I don’t believe that it was absolutely necessary that single family neighborhoods to be up zoned to achieve density but rather suggested that DADU and ADU ordinances be liberalized for owner occupied development. This comment was ignored by our facilitator. 

  • Lola Getz January 30, 2017 (8:23 pm)

    I would like to know the percentage of vacant apartments in the three urban villages. If the percentage is high, why build more apartments?

    • Matt January 30, 2017 (9:12 pm)

      According to Dupre Scott’s latest Apartment Vacancy Report, it was under 5% (despite increased supply and increasing rent).  In the Junction I count around fifty total and that includes all the recently finished big apartments, now mostly occupied.   

    • Ed Slope January 30, 2017 (10:03 pm)

      Many multi-family buildings have a revenue model that requires they always have a vacancy(ies).  Especially in dynamic rental markets like Seattle it allows these property managers to always be leasing at the current market rate (read: higher rent).

      On another but related note, most people think these single family neighborhoods are comprised only of owner class residents. The contrary is the case in the Junction and adjacent neighborhoods. For example in Fairmount Park 35% of residential units on public record are non-owner occupied. This means that these homes are rentals for families. If upzoning were to pass today and let’s say property values increase thus increasing property taxes. The landlord would immediately pass the tax increase onto his renters effectively pricing current families out of their rentals. The city wants us to believe that their ‘experiment’ will actually decrease prices but there isn’t convincing data that I’ve see which suggests this is possible. Some economists even contend that any fees generated by MHA will be passed directly onto renters and buyers effectively raising the price of housing.

      • Matt January 31, 2017 (12:50 pm)

        1) so the real vacancy rate is even lower?

        2) if 35% are already rentals, then I really don’t understand how eliminating the owner occupancy requirement for Backyard cottages would be much different  from a neighborhood perspective. 

        3) since seattle basically funds so much thru property tax levies, it seems crazy that on this one issue, property owners are suddenly wringing their hands about it.  Besides scarcity of residential property is what is driving up values–so if HALA increased supply, wouldn’t home prices/assessments/prop taxes stabilize too?

        4) I absolutely agree with those economists about MHA increasing the price for everyone.  I posted a link above about the so-called ‘value exchange’ between the upzones and the MHA costs. The imbalance could lead to more Capital A Affordable housing, but higher prices across the whole spectrum. 

        • Ed Slope January 31, 2017 (9:34 pm)

          I don’t know what you mean but real vacancy rate. 

          It’s a good question. Owner occupied developments typically have a different sensitivity to the neighborhood and livability than an outside developer. This would also decrease the likelihood that my renter neighbors would be priced out of their rental due to a sudden increase in land values or total redevelopment of the parcels. That said there I wish there could be some flexibility to allow for these non-owner occupied parcels to also contribute to density while protecting current residents from being displaced by bidding developers. Ideas? 

          Because the levies are voted on by the general population. This proposal isn’t up for a vote and isn’t equally distributed across properties. This proposal is spot zoning.

    • Cmt January 30, 2017 (10:09 pm)

      Lola:

      Here is a link to an interesting recent article regarding Seattle’s apartment market/demand reaching a tipping point.  And this before all of the existing  apartment units already under construction in the Junction become available.

Sorry, comment time is over.

WP-Backgrounds by InoPlugs Web Design and Juwelier Schönmann