FIRST REPORT, 3:35 PM: This afternoon at City Hall, the City Council voted unanimously to approve the rezoning of land owned by the West Seattle Church of the Nazarene to Lowrise 1 from its current Single Family 5000, requested by the church so it can build and sell six townhouses to raise money for renovating its old building (5911 42nd SW). However, the council did not grant the church’s request to waive a requirement that it either devote part of the project to “affordable housing” or pay a fee, estimated at $200,000, to the city to fund affordable housing elsewhere.
This is the same Mandatory Housing Affordability requirement that is to be implemented with upzoning around the city, proposed as part of the Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda, but even though that is not in effect citywide yet, and this project has been in the pipeline for four years, a council decision last year called for applying MHA. Only the council had the power to waive it, and they declined; local Councilmember Lisa Herbold said that while the argument was that the church had agreed to set aside open space as part of the site, that wasn’t a reason to waive it. (In a side note, she had to read a disclosure statement before voting today, because she had responded to a social-media criticism after last week’s committee vote, from which she abstained, saying she wanted to read the Morgan Community Association‘s letter supporting a waiver before she voted.) We have a request for comment out to the church, to ask if they will proceed with the project despite the decision to not waive MHA.
ADDED 7:17 PM: We’ve heard back from the church’s pastor emeritus Terry Mattson, who’s been a spokesperson for the church during the years the project’s been in the works. He says it’s on:
West Seattle Church of the Nazarene was extremely pleased to see the Seattle City Council unanimously approve our project today. This decision ensures we’ll be able to make the necessary repairs to our church to continue to serve our members and neighbors. Although it would have been an ideal scenario to have the MHA fees waived, we want to assure the community we will be proceeding as planned and that you’ll still have access to the open space and the trees will be preserved.
We look forward to the development in the months ahead and will keep all of you up to date on progress. If you have any questions or concerns please don’t hesitate to visit us any Sunday morning or Wednesday evening. We’d be happy to chat. We especially want to thank the Morgan Junction Community Association, Deb & Cindi Barker, our partners Paar Development and Neiman Tabor Architects and our council representative for West Seattle Lisa Herbold for her support in helping carry this through the PLUS committee.
We can’t wait for you to experience the upgrades to our park and facilities with us.