HALA REZONING: One week until Westwood-Highland Park Urban Village discussion

(Direct link to draft Westwood-Highland Park Urban Village rezoning map)

While the Westwood-Highland Park Urban Village was the first of West Seattle’s four urban villages to get a city-coordinated Community Design Workshop about its HALA Mandatory Housing Affordability rezoning proposals, that November 9th event was so soon after those proposals were released that it was little-publicized and lightly attended. But community volunteers have continued to review the WW-HP proposals (see the official “draft rezoning map” above) and are inviting you to a meeting one week from tonight to collaborate on a community response while the comment period remains open. Here are the details, from Kim Barnes:

The Westwood-Highland Park Urban Village community volunteers will hold a followup short presentation and discussion centered around the city workshop held on November 9th, and community led workshop held on November 30th, 2016.

All members of the public interested in collaborating a full response to the MHA legislation and upcoming EIS (Environmental Impact Statement) that will provide the rezoning proposal of Westwood Highland Park are invited to attend.

Please note that this is a community led meeting and city employees will not be in attendance.

Please join us Wednesday, March 1st to get in the loop and collaborate. Topics covered in this tight
90 minute meeting will include:

o A very brief overview of the MHA Principles. Brief overview of the proposed up-zoning for the Westwood Highland Park Residential Urban Village.

o Where is the City information? Where to find the resources to learn more.

o Overview of the Revised Timeline for public input on the draft EIS.

o Review and discuss the Community Feedback gathered on November 9..What’s missing and why.

o Discuss what other neighborhoods across the city are doing—how they are formulating their own community response.

o Agree to a next-steps plan to collaborate knowledge and resources to develop a full response to the EIS in the coming months.

o Formulate a request to the City to present the draft EIS for our urban village as soon as it’s published.

o If time allows: Review the Urban Village up-zone map and 3D model presented in late November at HPIC.

What this meeting is not:

o A city-sponsored meeting with experts in the areas of MHA legislation, zoning, etc.

o A forum for comments or complaints regarding MHA and HALA to be conveyed by the volunteers to the city.

Date/Time: March 1, from 7 pm-8:30 pm, doors open 6:45 pm

Please rsvp for an anticipated head count to: kim.barnes.la@gmail.com

Location: Highland Park Improvement Club, 1116 SW Holden Street

The city’s official notes from the November 9th meeting, by the way, were finally posted online about a week ago, and you can find them linked from this page (where the Junction and Admiral notes will apparently eventually appear, too).

17 Replies to "HALA REZONING: One week until Westwood-Highland Park Urban Village discussion"

  • Mark Schletty February 22, 2017 (12:26 pm)

    For the residents in, and particularly those near, the upzone area– please note that in the recently approved U district upzone the city council added, at the last minute, new areas to the proposed upzone area. They voted to bring in property, outside the proposed area, never under public consideration for upzoning. They apparently did this with no notice to property owners. The story about it was published in the Seattle Times Feb. 7th.  More of you are at risk than you think.  Be prepared.

  • H February 22, 2017 (1:25 pm)

    I live North of the urban village boundaries and attended the original meeting. As with the other WS Urban Villages the changes proposed will markedly change these neighborhoods. Personally, I am looking forward to it but I too would recommend attending the meeting even if you don’t live within the urban village area.

  • TuesdayJane February 22, 2017 (2:07 pm)

    What has been the interaction from

    council member Herbold on this issue?

  • Toni Reinek February 22, 2017 (2:33 pm)

    Help, WSB!

    When the HALA maps first came out, I was able to move them around and zoom in on my neighborhood, and this doesn’t seem possible any longer.

    I’m trying to find out more about the tiny commercially zoned strip in the 4200 block of SW 100th Street. This is the block where a proposed project envisioned 9 live-work  units at 4220, which brought out a large crowd for the SW Design Review meeting.

     When I first looked at the HALA map, it appeared that the height limit would go from 30 feet to 40 feet on this strip, but none of the maps posted by you or by the city now allow looking at that little strip.

    Might you be able to track down that map for us and/or verify that change for this small bit of West Seattle is no longer under consideration?

    Thanks again!

  • TuesdayJane February 22, 2017 (4:07 pm)

    I emailed council member Herbold weeks ago on the issue and never received any correspondence in return. Has anyone heard anything from her office on this matter?

    • WSB February 22, 2017 (4:22 pm)

      She’s addressed HALA multiple times on her website – look through the entries at http://herbold.seattle.gov

      She also was at both of the Community Design Workshops we covered (Junction and Admiral), as mentioned in our coverage.

      I wasn’t able to cover the November one in Highland Park so don’t know if she was there.

      • TuesdayJane February 22, 2017 (4:55 pm)

        I read what she has posted. It’s pretty vague and certainly doesn’t address any community concerns.

      • CeeBee February 22, 2017 (11:42 pm)

        She was at the November Highland Park workshop.


    • WS Guy February 23, 2017 (12:18 am)

      On a Council that is incredibly anti-neighborhood and pro-developer, Lisa is the closest to an ally.  She attends local input meetings and has done what she can to influence HALA. Her proposals are routinely shot down by the rest of the council, and yesterday was no exception.

      If you want to be angry at a local council member, I recommend Lorena González.  Although she is an “at large” councilmember and thus elected by the whole city, she lives in the Junction and yet we never see her.  She is a former Land Use advisor for Mayor Murray, and she’s relentlessly pro-developer. 

      And I’ll add that she is up for re-election this year. 

  • flimflam February 22, 2017 (5:28 pm)

    well, Murray himself said that you are either for HALA or for Trump…i’m not a big fan of either, but hey the mayor said it so it must be true.

    • Steve February 22, 2017 (6:32 pm)

      Mayor Eddie was using alternative facts though!

  • rob February 22, 2017 (6:52 pm)

    this is great i stand to make some good money on this deal go capitalism

  • dcn February 22, 2017 (9:03 pm)

    In early February, I wrote an email to HALA at halainfo@seattle.gov, based on a WSB post on the topic. I expressed my dismay at the packaging of HALA as a housing affordability program, when it is really more about increased density. My complaints were based on 2 things:

    1) By upzoning and rezoning, they are encouraging the tear down of older, cheaper housing, so that it can be replaced with new, expensive housing. This  forces lower income people out of neighborhoods where they currently live and probably work.

    2) I disagree that developers should be allowed to pay into a fund to build affordable housing elsewhere, rather than requiring them to offer affordable units in their new buildings. This will lead to the segregation of low income housing outside of urban villages. So, their proposals that show food service workers, daycare workers, etc., living in urban villages is mostly a myth, since the increased development is only projected to add around 100 affordable units per urban village.

    Much to my surprise, I received a long and thoughtful response back today from someone in the Seattle Neighborhoods Director’s Office. This was not a form letter, but was a response that addressed my concerns on a point-by-point basis. While I may not agree with all their positions, I have a deeper understanding of the complexities involved in the whole HALA process and a greater appreciation for the people working on implementing it.

    The woman who wrote me said that they were taking and compiling public input until the end of June, so if you’d like your voice to be heard, I suggest writing to the email I listed above. Based on my experience, you can be assured that your email will be read.

    • Captin February 23, 2017 (8:36 am)

      Yeah! Thank you for your honesty and posting that.

      IMHO people are drastically oversimplifying managing growth. The city should take into account public input, but with 100,000’s of citizens the public should also understand if their idea doesn’t make it through that’s part of any process involving more than one person. After lots of WS blogging and lots of research I would say I am generally for it considering that in politics there is almost never a consensus on a panacea but it will over time provide supply side relief.

      I do agree with lots of people on here that the outreach was bad (however, there did need to be a real proposal, not something nebulous to start with. Starting a conversation with the whole city with no foundation would not be productive. Lots of processes start with “here’s what I/We think. What do you think?”)

      Johnson and Murray’s Trump stuff was poorly worded AT BEST.

      I wonder how many renters even know about this. On the blog it’s the same handful of angry established homeowners every HALA post. I believe citywide lots of people are ok with this principle.

      As far as displacement: if rents rise and housing prices rise displacement happens. The arguments that if a few places get bulldozed and a few places get built could cause displacement may be true. But the catch is displacement will take place if that doesn’t happen as well just like it has been happening. The idea is that with volume and MHA it will happen less.

      I would like MHA fees to be have to apply to the Urban Village they originate in too. But if we think about it how much more complicated would that make it to accomplish the goal of more affordable housing? It sounds good but look at how much land we’re talking about in these proposals. There’s not a ton of space proposed to be upzoned. So we want to limit where housing can be built to in demand hot spots? That’s probably not going to work. At least the fee provides another option for the overall goal and is less limiting. If people don’t build it in the project so be it. It gets built somewhere else as part of an aggregate larger project. I don’t think that someone that works in and wants to live in Seattle is going to care if they live in the Junction or somewhere else in the city if they are in a nice, safe, affordable home.

      Another reason for upzoning? Maybe by the time my  2nd grader is ready to rent in Seattle some version of this stuff will have made a difference.

      Sorry to rant in a reply to you but I’m just happy to hear appreciation for the complicated nature of something like this.

  • lorrie adams February 24, 2017 (7:11 am)

    Good morning, 

    Has their been conversations regarding increasing the frequency of bus services, specifically Route 131?

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