West Seattle housing 435 results

DEVELOPMENT: 4 California SW notes

West Seattle development notes, all from along California SW:

SO LONG, EX-SPANKY’S: Last August, we reported that a demolition permit was being sought for the site we photographed today, 3276 California SW, a small, long-vacant commercial building to be replaced by live-work/townhouse units. Commenters noted that it was the former adult shop Spanky’s. (Our archives include a 2007 open letter from that shop’s former owner.) Today we noticed the teardown has happened since last we looked a couple days ago.

WORK ALSO HAS BEGUN … at 7002 California SW, where six rowhouse units are going up on the corner lot that previously held a century-plus-old house.

JUST UP THE BLOCK … the “design packet” for 7111 California SW is now available. As noted here last fall, instead of what was proposed when we wrote about it months earlier, it’s now going into Streamlined Design Review (no meetings required, but comments are accepted) with a three-story, five-unit, four-offstreet-parking-space plan. The design packet is linked from this Design Review page.

NORTH OF MORGAN JUNCTION … an early-stage eight-townhouse proposal is now in the system for an old apartment building at 5917 California SW that city files show has been the subject of numerous complaints.

Mobility-challenged? This year’s Rampathon might be able to help

If you or someone you know is mobility-challenged and would benefit from a ramp at home, but can’t afford it, the Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties wants you to know that its 25th annual Rampathon will be the biggest ever, so right now it’s looking for people to help with “free wheelchair access ramps for families struggling with mobility within their home and from nonprofit organizations whose clients or residents struggle with mobility.” Go here to find out more and apply – deadline is March 2.

Property owner? Brace yourself for this year’s tax bill

By the end of next week, this year’s property-tax bills will be on the way. And that includes the new education-funding tax increase – $1 for every $1,000 your property’s worth – so the King County Assessor’s Office has sent an alert, in hopes you won’t be too shocked. Here’s the news release:

King County Treasury will begin sending out the annual property tax bills in mid February. King County collects property taxes on behalf of the state, the county, cities, and taxing districts (such as school and fire districts), and distributes the revenue to these local governments.

Voters have approved several property-tax increases that will make much-needed investments in veterans and senior citizen services and fire protection. In some parts of King County, as much as 50 percent of the property tax bill is the result of voter-approved measures.

New levies approved in 2017 for collection this year include:

· Fire protection levies in Maple Valley, Vashon, and Skyway.
· School bonds for Shoreline and Federal Way.
· Renewal of the Veterans, Seniors and Human Services levy in King County.

In addition to approved local measures, the Washington State legislature passed an additional property tax to increase funding of education. Previously, the State Supreme Court ruled that the state must make new investments into public education; as a result the legislature added $1.01 per thousand dollars of assessed value, in King County, to their portion of property tax collection in order to fund the mandate (this is known as the McCleary Plan).

“Communities in our region are thankful to voters for approving new funding for essential services, but we know that property taxes can be especially tough for those on fixed incomes,” said King County Assessor John Wilson. “That’s why we’ve been aggressively reaching out to seniors, veterans and disabled homeowners with the property tax exemption program. Additionally, I’ve been working with Executive Constantine to create more tools for transparency around property taxes,” Wilson continued.

Low-income seniors, veterans and disabled homeowners may qualify for a property-tax exemption offered by King County. Information on how to apply for an exemption, along with other property-assessment-related information, can be found at kingcounty.gov/assessor. Property taxes vary depending upon location, the assessed value of the property, and the number of jurisdictions levying taxes (such as state, city, county, school district, port, fire district, etc).

With property taxes going up 16.92 percent on average, that means countywide property tax billings will be $5.6 billion in 2018, up from $ 4.8 billion last year. Aggregate property values in King County increased by 13.41 percent, going from $471.5 billion in 2017 to $534.7 billion in 2018.

“Without doubt voters are going to see a property tax increase due to the funding model the legislature has passed to fund education. So at a local level we are building more tools and supporting more legislation to increase transparency and fairness around the property tax. It is a work in progress and we will continue working on behalf of King County taxpayers,” said Wilson.

To avoid interest and penalties, the first-half property taxes must be paid or postmarked by April 30, 2018. The second-half property taxes must be paid or postmarked by Oct. 31, 2018.

If you haven’t received a notice by February 16th, that’s the date you can see your bill online via the King County Parcel Viewer. You also can sign up here to get your notice electronically instead of by postal mail.

DEVELOPMENT: Early-stage proposal for 2800 block of SW Yancy

The latest early-stage proposal from city permit files is for three lots that now hold houses in the 2800 block of SW Yancy – 2811, 2821, and 2827. They would potentially be combined and redeveloped with three 3-story buildings with 43 microapartments and an underground parking garage. The draft “site plan” carries the name of Transitional Resources, the nonprofit that is headquartered nearby, on SW Avalon, with a variety of services for people living with mental-health challenges, including residential units offering “supported housing.” We contacted TR’s CEO Darcell Slovek-Walker to ask for more information on what’s being considered. She replied, “We are in the very early stage of exploring how we can sustain the properties we have rented for years on Yancy Street.” The proposal carries the address of 2821 SW Yancy, though the parcels that would be involved run from 2811 through 2829, according to city files.

FOLLOWUP: See the design packet for the 4807 41st SW microapartments

In our development-notes roundup last weekend, we mentioned the Streamlined Design Review comment period was about to start for the microapartment project planned at 4807 41st SW – three stories, 22 units, no offstreet parking. Tonight, the official notice is out, setting the comment deadline as February 14th, and the “design packet” is now posted on the city website for public review. It’s embedded above, and also visible in PDF here. If you have comments on the plan, the notice explains how to send them to the city (and notes that this is the only opportunity for public comment; the Streamlined Design Review process does not include public meetings).

VIDEO: Council dives into HALA Mandatory Housing Affordability upzoning proposal

If you still don’t quite get what the proposed HALA Mandatory Housing Affordability upzoning plan is all about and what it would do – take some time to watch the video above, in which the City Council met for the first time as the Select Committee that will decide the plan’s fate. Monday morning’s meeting was largely devoted to a briefing presented by city staff, introduced by committee chair Councilmember Rob Johnson as “where we are and how we got here.” But it also included the toplines of what it’s hoped the upzoning would do – lead to the construction of hundreds more units of lower-priced housing in the city each year, by requiring developers to either include some in their projects or pay a certain fee to the city to fund them elsewhere.

As noted during the briefing, the council’s vote is at least six months away. And several councilmembers made it clear they are looking for lots more information: Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda asked for an overlay of publicly owned land that might be eligible for affordable housing. Councilmember Lorena González wanted to know more about affordable-housing projects already in the pipeline. Our area’s Councilmember Lisa Herbold voiced frustration that she doesn’t believe potential displacement has been adequately analyzed – there is lots of info about how many people are moving to Seattle, but not so much about how many are moving out, she noted.

During the staffers’ recap of the “engagement” efforts over the past year-plus, Herbold also brought up concerns she had heard about “missteps along the way.” She mentioned “several” events at which people walked away with concerns from changes to neighborhood plans, a lack of clarity about the MHA plan including zoning changes, and/or confusion over what upzoning would allow. And she pointed out that “Some of the promotional materials … did not give the impression” that big changes were being contemplated. She also said she’s being asked about councilmembers potentially developing “companion resolutions” that might address the plan district by district and said if that was happening, it needed to be discussed sooner rather than later. And she pointed out that while urban village rezoning in HALA MHA is presented as enabling more people to live closer to “good transit,” two urban villages without robust transit are in her district – Admiral and South Park.

After Monday’s briefing (which was followed by public comment you also can watch in the video), here’s what’s next:

OPEN HOUSES: The first district open house looking at the HALA MHA maps is tonight (Tuesday, January 30th) in District 4. The District 1 (West Seattle/South Park) open house isn’t until May 9th.

NEXT COUNCIL ‘SELECT COMMITTEE’ MEETING: February 12th.

APPEALS OF THE FINAL ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT: As reported previously, the process for the appeals of the HALA MHA Final Environmental Impact Statement, filed by neighborhood advocates from around the city, is proceeding in parallel. Next step is a pre-hearing conference on February 14th.

WILL YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD BE AFFECTED? IF SO, HOW? Here’s the web map you can use to find out.

HALA UPZONING: City Council consideration starts new phase Monday

Still trying to grasp what the Housing Affordability and Livability Act (HALA)-related upzoning proposal is about? The slide deck above (also viewable here) might help – it is from the agenda for Monday morning’s meeting of the City Council “select committee” that is starting its official work on the citywide upzoning proposal for HALA’s Mandatory Housing Affordability. The proposal includes upzoning in “urban villages” (West Seattle has four – Junction, Admiral, Morgan, and Westwood-Highland Park) as well as all commercial/multifamily property. The document’s title dubs it the “megabriefing.” All councilmembers are on the “select committee,” which meets at 10:30 am Monday at City Hall, with a public-comment period scheduled as part of the meeting. They’re expected to work on the plan at least into late summer before a vote.

P.S. If you’re a big fan of the small print, the full ordinance, as first proposed, is among the links you’ll find here.

ALKI APARTMENTS: Local family’s proposal for 3015 63rd SW, back side of a site with history

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

At the southwest corner of 63rd SW and Alki Avenue SW, that small plaque notes what’s believed to be the site of the legendary Denny Party cabin – the one that wasn’t finished by the time the settlers arrived, at which time some of them were reported to have sat down and had a “big cry”:

The site was later home to the Stockade Hotel (below) and currently holds the 11-apartment Pioneer Homes-Alki complex, built in the 1940s by Robert S. Wise, and still held by his family.

What you might not know is that the family also owns a parcel right behind it that holds two wood-sided duplexes and a house, also dating back to the 1940s.

And they’re looking to redevelop that parcel – 3015 63rd SW – into a new 11-apartment building, replacing those three structures.

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HOUSE ON THE MOVE: Nickel Bros plans Alki ‘rescue’ tonight

12:40 PM: Seven weeks after moving an old log house across West Seattle, the “house-rescuing” firm Nickel Bros is about to save another local house. The 55-year-old house in our photo, at 1262 Alki SW, will be trucked off the site around midnight tonight and taken to a barge that will be waiting at Don Armeni Boat Ramp. That means road and parking restrictions for a few early-morning hours – you might already have seen the signs. From here, Nickel Bros tells us, this house will be going to a new owner in British Columbia. It would otherwise have been demolished to make way for the new SolTerra development that’s planned for the site; Nickel Bros says the developer asked them to try to find new owners for other houses at the project site too (including the one in the background of our photo above) – you can see the other listings here.

8:09 PM: In comments, readers have pointed out that this is the former home of Fred and Marjorie Dau, best remembered for Admiralty House Antiques (which closed in 2013 in the North Admiral building that now holds the restaurant Mioposto). We will be on Alki Avenue later tonight to cover the move.

DEVELOPMENT: Townhouse plans for two corners of SW Brandon

Two townhouse projects in development news this morning, both on corner lots along SW Brandon:

TOWNHOUSES FOR THAITAN CORNER? An early-stage site plan has appeared in city files for 5258 California SW, current home of The Thaitan. 9 rowhouse (townhouse) units are proposed, two facing California, seven facing Brandon, with nine underground parking spaces. What’s particularly interesting is that while the adjacent, recently vacated Papa John’s site has had the same ownership, there’s no proposal in the files for that site – yet – though the site north has an 18-townhouse plan. Meantime, since the corner site is an early-stage proposal, not yet to the formal application stage, there’s no official comment period open yet either, but if you have anything you want to tell the city, you can contact PRC@seattle.gov and refer to #3030600. As for the restaurant’s future, we’ll be checking on that. (Photo: County Assessor’s Office)

(1:19 PM UPDATE: As Scott points out in comments, since we published this, a similar plan has turned up in online files for the ex-Papa John’s site – 9 townhouses, in this case, 3 fronting California, and three rows of two each behind it.)

And about four blocks directly east …

TOWNHOUSES AT FAUNTLEROY/BRANDON: A project much further along in the pipeline has received a key approval, per this notice in the city-circulated Land Use Information Bulletin. Six rowhouse-style townhouses have been approved for the northwest corner of Fauntleroy/Brandon, at 3914 SW Brandon, with six offstreet-parking spaces; today’s notice is the determination of environmental non-significance, and opens a two-week period for anyone interested in filing an appeal.

DEVELOPMENT: Next chance to comment on 32-townhouse project at 3257, 3303, 3315 Harbor SW and 3252 30th SW


(‘Conceptual’ rendering by Lemons Architecture, from April 2017 Design Review presentation)

Just one West Seattle project on the city-circulated Land Use Information Bulletin published today – but it’s a four-parter. The project [map] has four addresses:

3257 Harbor SW (7 units, 7 parking spaces)
3303 Harbor SW (9 units, 9 parking spaces)
3315 Harbor SW (8 units, 8 parking spaces)
3252 30th SW (8 units, 8 parking spaces)

The project passed the first phase of Design Review back in April (WSB coverage here), which meant the developer was cleared to go ahead and apply for land-use permits. They have now just done so, which is the reason for the notices published today, opening a new public-comment period until January 8th (each address above is linked to the notice that in turn includes a “how to comment” link).

NEXT STEP: The second round of Design Review – no meeting date yet.

BACKSTORY: In 2014, a different proposal for the site – 80+ apartments – passed the first round of Design Review, but went idle, and in November 2016, we found this then-newly filed townhouse plan.

DEVELOPMENT: 160-apartment building proposed at Avalon/Genesee

(King County Assessor’s Office photo)

While some sites on the north/west side of Avalon Way that once were proposed for apartments have turned into townhouse projects instead, the south/east side seems to be a different story. In an early-stage proposal that just turned up in city files, the Golden Tee Apartments complex on the southeast corner of Avalon and Genesee is proposed for demolition and replacement by a building with ~160 units and ~100 offstreet-parking spaces. Golden Tee spans two buildings at 3201 and 3211 SW Avalon Way, with 28 units, according to King County Assessor’s Office records, which say they were built 50 years ago. The preliminary site plan on record is by the prolific multifamily-project specialists at NK Architects. NK also designed 3039 SW Avalon Way, a 71-unit project about a block away, still making its way through the permit system after passing Design Review earlier this year.

DEVELOPMENT: 35th SW proposal would save, move house, while adding townhouses

(King County Assessor’s photo of 9238 35th SW)

While townhouse-building along arterials is not unusual, the plan for 9238 35th SW [map] is: Instead of demolishing the 84-year-old single-family house on this multi-family-zoned (Lowrise 2) site, the early-stage proposal that’s just appeared in city files would move the house forward on its current lot, and build four townhouses behind it. The detached garage on the alley at the back of the site would be removed, replaced by surface parking spaces. A house two doors north of this one had two townhouses built behind it in the ’00s but as far as we can tell, the house remained in its original spot. We have a request out to the project team for comment.

1 West Seattle organization shares in mayor’s $100 million affordable-housing announcement

West Seattle is getting one percent of the $100 million in affordable-housing investments announced today by Mayor Jenny Durkan.

The lone local recipient on the list is Delridge Neighborhoods Development Association. As explained in the full announcement, part of the $100 million goes to new construction and part goes to preservation, and the latter is where DNDA comes in. Though the specific amounts weren’t mentioned in the announcement, we followed up for the specifics, and Office of Housing spokesperson Robin Koskey tells us DNDA was awarded $1,000,394. That will be invested in 70 apartments that are part of DNDA’s portfolio:

So what will the money buy? We asked DNDA executive director David Bestock. He tells WSB, “Rehab at these 4 properties” — Centerwood, Delridge Heights, Holden Manor, and Cooper School – “will include site improvements, exterior systems, interior maintenance, and specific to Cooper, abatement of foundation settling. We are thrilled to have the support of (the Office of Housing) to improve and preserve our affordable housing properties for residents of Delridge. This is a huge win for our residents, for our organization, and for our neighborhood.”

The funding announced today, for DNDA and the other organizations, comes from several sources, including the Housing Levy approved by voters last year, incentive-zoning payments, the sale of surplus properties, and $29 million in bonds approved by the City Council (in a plan sponsored by West Seattle/South Park Councilmember Lisa Herbold).

DEVELOPMENT: Mixed-use proposal for South Delridge lot; first Design Review meeting of 2018 scheduled

Two West Seattle development notes:

SOUTH DELRIDGE LOT PROPOSAL: That vacant lot at 9419 17th SW, long-ago home to a fire-damaged house that was demolished several years back, has an early-stage development proposal: “2 new mixed use buildings, consisting of 8 individual commercial/residential units.” The site is zoned for mixed-use development up to 40 feet; that would increase to 55 feet under the HALA MHA “preferred alternative.”

FIRST DESIGN REVIEW MEETING OF THE NEW YEAR: The Southwest Design Review Board‘s calendar has been empty for a while but the first meeting of 2018 has just been penciled in: 6:30 pm January 18th, the board will take its second and possibly final look at 4417 42nd SW, a 4-story, 62-unit (58 apartments plus 4 live-works), 26-underground-parking-space project. It got Early Design Guidance approval in May. (This too is zoned for 40 feet but proposed for 55′ under HALA MHA.)

FOLLOWUP: Why fight HALA upzoning? Four West Seattleites’ rationale

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

“I just want to thank you.”

Midway through our coffeehouse conversation with four local neighborhood-group reps about why they’re part of a citywide challenge to the city’s Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda upzoning plan, a woman walked up to the table and addressed that to them.

She admitted she had been eavesdropping and “figured out what you were talking about.” She says she lives in the Junction area – which is where we were talking – and doesn’t want the upzoning to happen.

But, she added, “I don’t know what I can do to help.” The four offered suggestions immediately. Earl Lee of the Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Coalition said, “We need every soldier we can get.”

Amanda Sawyer, who has led the Junction Neighborhood Organization for half a year, mentioned JuNO’s Land Use Committee will be talking about HALA and the appeal at a meeting tomorrow (6:30 pm Thursday, December 7th, Senior Center of West Seattle).

Equipped with ideas, the woman moved on. The four were heartened by that unsolicited feedback. What their groups had joined is not universally popular – some supporters of the proposed upzoning accuse opponents of being elitist, wealthy, interested only in keeping their theoretical white-picket-fence gates slammed shut to newcomers.

Not at all, these four insist. But before we go further, introductions and backstory.

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WEST SEATTLE DEVELOPMENT: End near for longtime nuisance house at 3804 23rd SW

The Delridge development boom is apparently about to claim what might be our area’s most-infamous vacant house, the one at the far northeastern edge of Delridge Way itself, next to the bridge onramp, though its official address is 3804 23rd SW. After a tipster sent a photo of heavy equipment at the site, we went over for a look, and took the photo you see above. No one in view to ask, but county assessor records show it was sold again last spring (we had previously reported a tax-auction sale in 2015), and city records show that a site plan was filed in late summer for eight townhouse/rowhouses on the sloping site, 7,700 square feet, zoned Lowrise 1. The house has been the site of numerous complaints over the years, both formal and informal; it was spotlighted almost eight years ago in a “problem properties” tour organized by community leaders and attended by city councilmembers and department heads, described as a magnet for squatters. It’s also been mentioned over the years as councilmembers attempted to tweak the rules governing when owners can tear down derelict housing without having a redevelopment plan.

FOLLOWUP: City Council OKs church’s rezone for townhouse project, but without waiving Mandatory Housing Affordability requirement

(Proposed project site – WSB photo from last month)

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.

FOLLOWUP: Church’s rezone request for Morgan Junction townhouse project moves up to next Monday’s City Council meeting

(WSB file photo)

The West Seattle Church of the Nazarene‘s requested rezone for a six-townhouse project on its unofficial “park” space has moved up a week on the City Council‘s calendar. When the Planning, Land Use, and Zoning Committee voted on it this past Monday, they said it would go to the full Council for a final vote on December 11th, but instead, it’s on the December 4th agenda that just arrived. This is the project with a complication – though it’s been in the works for four years, long before the HALA Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA) program was launched, the city says the project should be subject to MHA, which means either a $200,000-ish fee or setting aside two of the townhouses as “affordable.” The church was hoping for a waiver but the councilmembers who voted last Monday did not grant one. The land in question at 5911 42nd SW currently is zoned for three single-family houses; the church had been offering to preserve part of the open space as part of an agreement accompanying the upzone request. Next Monday’s meeting is at 2 pm at City Hall downtown.

VIDEO: See neighborhood groups’ challenge to HALA’s Mandatory Housing Affordability upzoning plan

6:26 PM: Last Friday, we told you about a citywide coalition of neighborhood groups, including 3 from West Seattle, planning to challenge the city’s plan for HALA (Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda) upzoning, as released with its Final Environmental Impact Statement two weeks ago (this interactive map shows proposed zoning changes). Today, representatives of the more than 20 groups gathered in the City Hall lobby downtown to formally announce the appeal. Here’s our unedited video of the 20-plus-minute event:

The three West Seattle groups participating in the appeal are from three of West Seattle’s four urban villages: Morgan Community Association (Morgan Junction), Junction Neighborhood Organization (West Seattle Junction), and Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Coalition (Westwood-Highland Park). And we have just received the coalition’s official “notice of appeal” document – read it here, or embedded below:

We’ll be reading it in the hours ahead and adding notes; in addition, as mentioned today, several neighborhood groups are pursuing their own individual appeals – those include MoCA and JuNO, as well as some from elsewhere in the city; the city Hearing Examiner‘s files already show four appeals, from Beacon Hill, Wallingford, and Fremont groups, as well as an individual citizen from North Seattle.

From the city side, Councilmember Rob Johnson – whose office has a leadership role in the HALA process as he chairs the Planning, Land Use, and Zoning Committee – has published his reaction to news of the appeals, concluding:

Though Council is prohibited from taking final action during the appeal process, we will continue our planned 8-month outreach and deliberation process so that when the appeal is resolved, we can act quickly to implement a critical strategy that will result in more income and rent-restricted housing and more housing options across our city for people of all incomes.

More later.

ADDED 11:20 PM: We’ve read through the coalition’s 17-page appeal document, and also received the notices of appeal by the two local groups that have also filed their own, JuNO and MoCA. Those documents are after the jump, along with toplines from the coalition appeal if you don’t have the time or inclination to read through the full document:

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HALA UPZONING: 3 West Seattle groups in citywide coalition challenging proposed plan

Two weeks after the city went public with its “preferred alternative” for HALA upzoning, as part of the final Environmental Impact Statement, a new citywide coalition has announced it will file an appeal. The community councils from three of West Seattle’s four “urban villages” are among the groups comprising the coalition: the Morgan Community Association, the Junction Neighborhood Organization, and Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Coalition. From today’s announcement of the new coalition and appeal plan:

… The coalition is called Seattle Coalition for Affordability, Livability and Equity.

Jon Lisbin, small business owner and president of Seattle Fair Growth, said, “We are worried about affordability and displacement. Our neighborhoods are so different that one-size-fits-all upzones don’t work well for residents or small businesses. The Final EIS completely neglects the differences between neighborhoods that are ripe for multifamily development such as Lake City and Northgate, and other racially diverse neighborhoods, such as South Park and Beacon Hill, that are mainly of older single-family homes owned or rented by lower-income families. The city is leaving low- and middle-income families with no place to go.”

Said David Ward, a Ravenna renter and president of the coalition, “It will make Seattle far more unaffordable and also make it more difficult to live here due to more traffic, not enough schools, more pollution, fewer trees, and a loss of the diversity of residents we currently have.”

“I’m worried about moving out from my parents’ home because I know it’ll be hard to find an apartment I can afford,” said Beacon Hill Council Member and UW student Cacima Lee. “And the idea of buying a home in Seattle is almost a joke.”

“Instead of invalidating all neighborhood plans, the city needs to support and celebrate differences while maintaining intact communities,” Christy Tobin-Presser of the West Seattle Junction Neighborhood Coalition added. “These upzones are not needed to accommodate the growth that’s planned. The city already has the more than twice the capacity in multi-family zoning to accommodate all the growth that’s coming, so who’s driving this land-grab?”

Wallingford resident Susanna Lin states: “We have a school capacity crisis and the City is planning upzones without coordinating with the School District on a plan to build more schools. In addition, trees are disappearing at an alarming rate. What kind of future is this for our children?”

The Grand Bargain, or Mandatory Housing Affordability-Residential (MHA-R), is a one-size-fits-all proposal by former Mayor Ed Murray and City planners that would give developers increased height limits and profitability in exchange for either building affordable units in their projects or contributing a fee in lieu of including them. In fact, according to the City, most developers have said they will decline to include rent-restricted units in their projects. They prefer to pay the fee.

According to Lake City homeowner and affordable housing advocate Sarajane Siegfriedt, the
City Office of Housing then leverages the fees 3:1 mostly with federal, state and city tax funds to
build low-income housing in other parts of Seattle. Most of the required affordable housing will
be built in locations with cheap land, not in the neighborhoods where builders maximize profits
by replacing older houses with costly new market-rate housing. Then there’s the delay. It takes
four or so years for a nonprofit to receive City and state grants, assemble the rest of the funding,
and construct a building, assuming they already have the land.”

“We share the City’s goal of affordable housing for those earning less than 60% of Area Median Income, but it is simply not achieved by these upzones,” Siegfriedt said. “That’s why we are filing an appeal. The real impacts that destroy and gentrify our low- and moderate-income neighborhoods are loss of affordability, community and livability.” …

The new coalition plans a media briefing/Q&A event downtown next Monday, which is when they also say they’ll file the appeal. Read today’s full announcement here (it includes the list of 24 participating groups).

P.S. If you haven’t already checked on what’s proposed for your neighborhood (or anywhere else that interests you) in the HALA MHA “preferred alternative” – you can use the city’s interactive map to look up specific locations. Before anything becomes final, the City Council has to consider forthcoming legislation, isn’t expected to come to a vote before next summer.

West Seattle church’s townhouses-plus-park project hits a HALA hitch

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Four years after the West Seattle Church of the Nazarene initiated a project to build six townhouses on part of its open-space property, the requested rezone is finally coming to the City Council, with a committee vote expected next Monday night.

It aims to build more housing than original zoning would allow. But in a twist, the Mandatory Housing Affordability component of HALA – the city’s campaign to encourage exactly that – could put a hitch in the plan, though MHA hasn’t been imposed citywide yet, and wasn’t even proposed until long after this project started making its way through the system.

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FOLLOWUP: California/Findlay ‘log house’ jacked up for upcoming move

It is quite a sight – the century-plus-old “log house” at California/Findlay, now jacked up for its upcoming move – but that move is still two weeks away. We stopped by to check, after getting a few questions about its status.

We reported one week ago on the date and preparations for moving the house to its new location in The Admiral District. It originally was set to be demolished, as the site’s owners plan to build six live-work units there; the house-rescuing firm Nickel Bros stepped in to try to find a buyer to save and move it, and the Bauersfeld family answered the call. (The house’s previous tenant, Ventana Construction [WSB sponsor], had to move, and found another corner house with history at 5958 California SW.)

The move is set for two weeks from tomorrow – we’re currently clarifying whether it’s Friday night into Saturday morning or Saturday night into Sunday morning.

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