(Under-construction microhousing at 3266 Avalon Way SW)
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Ten community groups from around the city, including West Seattle’s Morgan Community Association and SeattleNERD (Neighbors Encouraging Reasonable Development), are pursuing an appeal to a city decision regarding proposed new rules for microhousing.
The verbiage and details are about as bureaucratic as it gets, but here’s what it boils down to: What they’re appealing is the Department of Planning and Development‘s “determination of non-significance” (DNS) regarding effects of the new rules (which were reported here last month, weeks AFTER the DNS was issued).
A DNS generally means no environmental-impact review/report is required. Environment, when it comes to land use, includes factors such as traffic and noise – and the groups argue that microhousing brings plenty of both. The original appeal document lists 53 of what the appellants consider environmental impacts (#39, for example, is “Failure to have a reasonable, reality-based discussion of the impact on availability of affordable housing.” Here’s the full document (PDF), or read it embedded below:
(Other documents in the case are downloadable from links on this page.) Summarizing, the appellants write that they “object to the DPD’s audacious disregard of the requirements of SEPA [the State Environmental Policy Act] … Its conclusion that the 2,842 units created by the existing, under construction, and proposed micro-housing projects will have no significant environmental impacts … would be laughable, did it not have such tragic consequences for Seattle’s natural and built environments.”
The appeal document also includes a “concern that the current definition DPD is suggesting doesn’t accurately encompass all of the microhousing being built.”
The city’s Hearing Examiner will hear the appeal; if she upholds the DPD determination, the challengers would have the option to go to court. This is scheduled for a pre-hearing conference next Wednesday (November 13), and the actual appeal hearing is set for January 7th.
Separate from this, the proposed microhousing rules need City Council approval before taking effect; no hearing/vote dates are scheduled yet.
SIDEBAR: As noted in our October coverage of the proposed rules, here are the four known West Seattle microhousing projects:
*4548 Delridge (3 stories, 16 sleeping rooms, 2 “dwelling units,” close to completion)
*3266 Avalon Way (5 stories, 56 sleeping rooms, 7 “dwelling units,” top photo)
*3050 Avalon Way (5 stories, 110 sleeping rooms, 14 “dwelling units,” not yet under construction)
*5949 California SW (4 stories, 38 sleeping rooms, 5 “dwelling units,” not yet under construction)