ZONING CHANGES: First look at draft maps for West Seattle’s 4 ‘urban villages’ with Mandatory Housing Affordability

A long-awaited set of maps is public this afternoon. They show zoning changes proposed for the city’s Urban Villages to meet one of the mayor’s Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda (HALA) goals, Mandatory Housing Affordability, in which developers either commit to building a certain percentage of what’s considered “affordable housing,” or pay fees to a city fund that will bankroll some of it. West Seattle has 4 official Urban Village areas – The Junction, Morgan Junction, Admiral, and Westwood-Highland Park. Here are the draft maps:

(Direct link to West Seattle Junction map)

(Direct link to Morgan Junction map)

(Direct link to Admiral map)

(Direct link to Westwood-Highland Park map)

The draft maps quietly appeared on a HALA feedback website – no formal city announcement yet, but they were due out this week, and that’s why last night’s Morgan Community Association meeting offered a primer on how to read them, once they’re out. MoCA board member Cindi Barker has been on one of the “focus groups” that have been working on the principles to shape the maps. Here’s what she explained to the group last night – these key points:

-Some urban villages were proposed for expanded boundaries – in this area, The (West Seattle/Alaska) Junction is the only one.

-Whichever areas on a map are colored in, that’s where a zoning change is proposed. Single-family zoning inside urban villages is orange on the maps and proposed for changing to “residential small lot.” Also when reading the maps for a change, look for a white zoning label (like SF 5000, single-family 5,000 square feet, followed by a slash, to RSL).

-The solid-color change areas will be getting a “typical” amount of upzoning via Mandatory Housing Affordability, such as one story. If a change area has diagonal lines through it, it’ll be more.

The meetings, Cindi Barker explained, focused on what principles should be applied, in order to make this work around the city. The text boxes on the maps feature some of these principles.

Solid-color change areas will be getting a “typical” amount of upzoning, likely one more story. With diagonal lines, it’ll be more.

-Multi-family-zoned property will see changes, even outside Urban Villages.

-Single-family-zoned property will NOT see changes outside Urban Villages.

Barker says the city will be having open houses and workshops around the city in the months ahead to explain and answer questions about all this. MoCA will also have its own meeting to help Morgan Junction residents. No date for any of this yet;

And the focus groups that have been meeting for several months will also be going over the draft maps at their upcoming sessions, which are all on this page.

46 Replies to "ZONING CHANGES: First look at draft maps for West Seattle's 4 'urban villages' with Mandatory Housing Affordability"

  • S October 20, 2016 (5:00 pm)

    Great long as parking is required.  People come with cars. I don’t care if it is a hub people still need to get around outside of hub travel areas. Plus developers need to pay into a fund for mass transit in hub areas. 

    • AMD October 21, 2016 (8:09 am)

      Personally, I think the idea that “people come with cars” is a cultural problem that needs to change.  The roads are what they are.  They’re not getting bigger or more plentiful and this idea that everyone needs to or should be able to drive is why traffic is getting worse and worse.  Someone needs to take the bus.

      It costs more money to build units with parking and units with parking cost more to buy or rent.  Requiring parking keeps the cost of living higher than it needs to be.  And in turn the folks who can’t afford a vehicle in the first place ironically get pushed further out to places where there’s more affordable housing but less transit.  

      • S October 21, 2016 (9:00 am)

        Well the truth of the matter is people do come with cars. And why do I care if the units cost more. The fact is people have cars and parking becomes an issue.  Once this is all done and full of people good luck in visiting that area to shop or eat. 

      • KM October 21, 2016 (12:49 pm)


      • Your Mom October 21, 2016 (12:51 pm)

        If you don’t want to drive that is awesome, great for you!  Don’t push your agenda on everyone else in the same fashion people push their religion on others.  Some like to drive, some have no other option.  That won’t change too soon.   Maybe some people wouldn’t be so upset if the money we pay in taxes to fix and maintain the roads actually went to the roads.  This town has some of the worst maintained and undersized roads I have ever seen and its no accident, no pun intended.  I don’t know why people are so instant on pushing their views and their cultural ideologies on everyone else.  Do you boo, but don’t expect everyone to be like you. 

      • Anonymous Coward October 22, 2016 (5:09 am)

        Maybe we could reach a compromise wherein the DMV will reject a vehicle registration for anyone living in a no-parking-required building unless they provide a signed lease agreement for a nearby parking spot…  I’m honestly ok with allowing developers to build housing without any parking.  I’m not ok with people deciding to live there without giving up their personal vehicle.

        • WSB October 22, 2016 (7:14 am)

          AC, not sure if you’re serious or not, but there is no requirement that anyone anywhere in the city have a guaranteed parking space before owning a vehicle, regardless of what kind of housing they do or don’t have. There are still some requirements for including parking in some areas – such as the Alki parking overlay, which requires 1 1/2 spaces be built per residential unit – but there is no requirement for a resident to use it, and you hopefully also are aware that street parking is open to anyone – let’s say there is a street space in front of a particular single-family house … a resident of that house has no more right to use the space out front than someone living a block or a mile away, so if you want to require guaranteed parking for apartment residents, you’d have to also start assessing houses for whether they have a usable parking space (if their house has a garage, do you require them to use it for storing the car instead of other stuff?), and so on.

          Toward your goal, you would probably instead want to push for the “no parking required in frequent-transit zone” Director’s Rule to be repealed or changed. So far I haven’t seen any move toward that – there has been talk instead of expanding the definition of frequent transit so that more areas would be no-parking-required. Developers, however, can choose to build parking even if it’s not required, and we’ve seen that, for example, in The Junction developments, such as The Whittaker (Fauntleroy/Alaska/40th/Edmunds), being built with approximately 400 apartments and 600 offstreet parking spaces. – TR

          • Anonymous Coward October 22, 2016 (8:37 am)

            I’m saying that the city relaxed the parking requirements
            for the permitting of multifamily units in frequent transit areas under the
            assumption* that a significant percentage of the residents would not own a
            vehicle.  I’m proposing that we actually
            put some teeth into making sure our assumption is born out in reality.  I’d actually simply be very happy to just to
            see a study on the number of registered vehicles per unit for the reduced
            parking requirement buildings we already have. 

            *If they weren’t making that assumption, why didn’t they
            relax the parking requirements for all residential buildings throughout the
            city, including single family homes?

  • Morgan October 20, 2016 (6:19 pm)

    view protection…?

  • Morgan October 20, 2016 (6:27 pm)

    Step backs and not just setbacks on NC please

  • K to the F October 20, 2016 (9:44 pm)

    It’s difficult for me to understand the need for expansion. Near the West Seattle junction, for example, there are blocks and blocks lacking in more than single story buildings that could easily add density and affordability by building up mixed-use. Doesn’t seem there’s much of a need to start disassembling the neighborhoods for some time in my opinion.

    • Brian October 21, 2016 (7:36 am)

      Unfortunately your opinion isn’t based on any sort of facts or data. Also: The “West Seattle Junction” is confusing… do you mean the Alaska Junction?

      • WSB October 21, 2016 (7:39 am)

        West Seattle Junction is the city’s official name for the urban village/center including what some call the Alaska Junction but contains the business district known as The Junction. You should see it atop that particular map (direct link here).

  • M October 21, 2016 (5:13 am)

    What ever happened to the proposed development at the cafe Ladro space? Please dont mess with my Ladro. 

  • BJG October 21, 2016 (8:09 am)

    I can’t see most of the street names in the  Alaska Junction plan on any of my devices. Where is there a better image?And why are impacted neighbors not informed by mail?

    I’ve tried to count streets, but little notches here and there are impossible to view.. Either I’m in or out of this “grand bargain.” If in, why am I even trying to improve my property?  I can only imagine the degradation of our  little neighborhood that  this will cause. We already live in, under, and around massive ugly buildings that make this area as dense as anywhere in Seattle. Why more?  This week we are still  SF zoned, but with a surveyor lurking around the neighborhood for the past week, I can only worry. A nearly million dollar property around here is a tear-down.

    • WSB October 21, 2016 (8:17 am)

      Hi there. I fixed the links below the maps. Click on the relevant one and you’ll get a full PDF that you can zoom in on. For some reason when I posted those links yesterday, they didn’t hotlink the entire phrase as I had intended. Here are the four links directly (uploaded to our WC site because it has tolerance for larger files). I’d have preferred to link to PDFs directly on the city website but couldn’t find any such links right now – they will likely come later in the process. You can also go to the “feedback site” we linked in the story and explore there, but the maps display in an even smaller window ..


      Regarding being notified by mail, I don’t know the city’s notification plan but am checking with OPCD*’s media people today to ask. These again are DRAFT maps but this part of HALA has been in the works for a long time and the intent of this story was to post the maps as soon as they were available … followups to come.

      *(OPCD – one of the two departments into which DPD was split – Office of Planning and Community Development)

  • Fairmount Springs Mom October 21, 2016 (8:35 am)

    My Fairmount Springs neighborhood (the area South of Edmunds) is a neighborhood of families with small children who walk to the local elementary school, not an urban village.  The City is going to ruin this neighborhood and perhaps our hard-earned property investment.

    • Morgan Junction Dad October 24, 2016 (12:35 pm)

      To Fairmount Springs Mom – I’m genuinely curious what it is about zoning changes that lead you to think that the neighborhood will be “ruined” and that families won’t be able to walk their kids to school anymore? Please be specific.      

      • DB October 24, 2016 (5:12 pm)

        I can say, as a fairmount park parent, I think of this upzoning as probably ruinous to the investment into my home.  While this may come off as a NIMBY response, I don’t look forward to properties towering over my yard and home.  

        • Andrea S October 28, 2016 (8:32 am)

          I certainly agree!


  • BJG October 21, 2016 (9:12 am)

    Thanks TR for the better link. I will take a look.

  • DD October 21, 2016 (9:53 am)

    I didn’t see a date mentioned for when the proposed changes would take place.  Can you please comment if you know ?

    • WSB October 21, 2016 (10:33 am)

      These are DRAFT maps and so there are several more rounds of process to go. The city apparently is NOT planning a big mass announcement immediately that these maps are available, since they mentioned the impending release toward the end of this news release earlier this week:


      But if you go to the feedback site we’ve mentioned – https://hala.consider.it/

      use the pulldown to choose the map of your interest, and answer the questions that will appear below it.

      The page points out that feedback will shape the proposed FINAL maps that they expect to come up with by next spring.

      • DD October 21, 2016 (1:09 pm)

        Thanks – I see that now.  I appreciate the pointer.

  • Evil Twin October 21, 2016 (11:35 am)

    I’m personally ok with upzoning urban villages and major arterials if it’s done smart. We can’t always fight growth. People fought it way back when and now Atlanta has what could of been our light rail! Not increasing density just means more sprawl and waayyy more trees cut down out if the city.

  • Diane October 21, 2016 (1:06 pm)

    re last sentence in this story; “And the focus groups that have been meeting for several months will also
    be going over the draft maps at their upcoming sessions, which are all on this page.”; can you please make it clear to everyone reading that these focus groups are open to EVERYONE; I am a HALA focus group member for Admiral, and we’ve had general public show up at every meeting, but not many; I don’t thinks it’s been communicated nearly enough that everyone is welcome to attend; it is listed on the website, but who goes there?  this link  http://www.seattle.gov/hala/focus-groups  specifies ” These meetings are open to the public. Everyone is welcome to
    attend and chime in with input at appropriate times on the agenda. The
    resources on this page are for the community at large, as well as Focus
    Groups, so that everyone is up to speed. Right now Focus Groups are
    looking at proposed zoning changes that were shaped by the MHA Principles that
    they and the public helped to develop. All are welcome to share their
    thoughts on these maps through our online conversation: Consider.it which will be launching soon. Please check the calendar often for other opportunities to engage and share your ideas.”  and the calendar of focus group meetings are listed on left side of page; the “Hub Urban Village Focus Group (Focus Group 2)” meets next Tuesday night at city hall; my focus group, “Medium Density Urban Village Focus Group (Focus Group 3)” meets next Thursday night at city hall; “Lower Density Urban Village Focus Group (Focus Group 4)” meets next Monday night at city hall; and again, EVERYONE is welcome; and I highly recommend going to at least one; this is very complicated stuff; go and ask questions; go and give feedback; go and learn; this is coming to our neighborhood whether you participate or not; have your say; learn what’s happening; share your opinions; ps, I totally agree they should be sending out notices by mail; I saw this huge paper map for my Admiral neighborhood yesterday; I am very familiar with blocks of neighbors who will be impacted by this, but likely they have no idea

    • WSB October 21, 2016 (2:04 pm)

      The city, unfortunately, does not seem to be remotely in danger of overcommunicating all this. The OPCD spokesperson said they might put something out “on Facebook and Twitter” today (the latter has been inaccessible much of the day because of a denial-of-service attack; as for the former, the OPCD page has about 300 followers, and given that Facebook only shows your posts to a fraction of the people who follow you, anything they say there will go largely unseen). But we’ll be writing more about it, with closer looks at some key points (much of the heart of The Junction was zoned for 85′ and will now go up to 95′, for example) … TR

  • Diane October 21, 2016 (1:11 pm)

    and THANK YOU to Cindi Barker for meeting with a few of us
    HALA focus group members to show us how to interpret these crazy confusing maps;
    there will be more outreach to community, so everyone interested can get
    engaged, learn how to ‘read’ these maps, and give feedback to the city

  • Kat October 21, 2016 (1:45 pm)

    Yes people need to take public transit for work and person things when they can but people have cars.  We live in a part of the country where there’s easy access to mountains, skiing, hiking, biking and any other outdoor activity you could want.  People need cars to venture out!  NO more micro units without parking.  NO more apartments, condo’s, town-homes, businesses without sufficient parking.  It forces people to move out and thus creating urban sprawl.   If adequate parking is built, then there’s no need for metered parking and zoned parking.

  • Diane October 21, 2016 (2:05 pm)

    THANK YOU  for including all 4 West Seattle maps here, since the city website does not yet have our maps; grrrr

  • Danielle October 21, 2016 (2:54 pm)

    Sadly, the map of the West Seattle Junction only highlights how out of touch the city and particularly the Parks Dept. is with the local community.  The West Seattle Golf Course looms large in a highly desirable and dense area.  Considering the small population that actually plays golf regularly and our urgent need for parks (both for humans and canines) this feels like an elitist misuse of public lands.  Hopefully this will be evaluated along with all this urban re-zoning.  It’s long past time for the city to rethink this offbalanced land/use ratio and place something there that is actually meeting the demands of a larger and more diverse community.

    • Mr Alki October 21, 2016 (7:01 pm)


      > “elitist” misuse of public lands<<

      Hmmm.  Misuse of public lands I can consider.   Start talking “elitist” while demanding your own “costly” privileges that earn no revenue and you’ll earn my opposition.   Btw, ANYONE can play there, so your “elitist” comment is especially offensive. 

      – left of center canine-lover

  • Meyer October 21, 2016 (3:39 pm)

    @WSB Is there a way to submit feedback online? I found this page http://www.seattle.gov/hala/your-thoughts but couldn’t find a comment section.

    • WSB October 21, 2016 (3:54 pm)

      The feedback page we mentioned


      includes a dropdown where you can choose a map and answer questions beneath it. There likely will be other ways but that’s where they seem to have begun, and that’s where local focus group member Cindi Barker pointed us to find the maps once the city made them all public yesterday.

  • HP October 21, 2016 (6:01 pm)

    A golf course is an “elitist use of public lands” lmaorotf.  I say canine parks are an elitist use of public lands that generate no revenue or tourism to the area.  You libs crack me up.  What’s next, are baseball diamonds and soccer fields elitist too?  What about playgrounds?  Maybe schools are elitists using public land to enrich their union cartels.  

  • Evil Twin October 21, 2016 (8:55 pm)

    HP you gotta drag Union’s into something that has nothing to do with them? Typical right wing blah blah. I’m a union member and check your facts about union membership and how it’s decline is analogous to the shrinking of the middle class. Let’s not lead the race to the bottom. All of us “lazy” union workers with decent pay, medical benefits and paid time off. The nerve! The truth is that logic lies in the middle, not far left….not far right. Why is it that you can use a teeter totter as an analogy for everything in life? Balance, it’s a beautiful thing. Let’s not fight libs vs cons while the real people that are the problem run off with all the money and all the power! They are trying to divide and conquer. IMHO

  • Alice October 22, 2016 (7:48 am)

    Haha. In Admiral, they applied principle 5a — to allow more housing near assets like parks and school — right over Lafayette’s playground. Hello?!?

    • Alex October 22, 2016 (5:06 pm)

      I actually did have that thought recently walking by there –that playground is ENORMOUS. They could probably survive just fine if they reduced the size a bit.

  • K8 October 22, 2016 (12:56 pm)

    My initial impression is that the city wants to destroy Fairmount Springs by gobbling it up into the Junction.  Also, I shouldn’t worry about investing anything into my property or passing it on to my children unless I want to be the house in Up.  Oh that’s right, the whole point was to turn us into Ballard. 

  • Fairmount Springs Mom October 22, 2016 (2:37 pm)

    The City is unfairly and disproportionately  targeting the Fairmount Springs neighborhood with these zoning changes

  • SomethingClever October 22, 2016 (2:50 pm)

    Forgive my arrogance, but mention of the Morgan Junction Community Association had me curious to know if there is also an Alaska Junction Community Association. 

    I’d love to get involved as it looks like we are in the proposed area of stronger upzoning and I have some concerns about what that will do to our already congested street.  

    As it stands, emergency vehicles are unable to cut a clear path through our street (there is no restriction on parking and so we have become a parking lot for the neighboring commercial employees) and additional persons who also need services may be a very serious issue.  I’ll definitely be at the focus group meetings mentioned so thank you for that information!

    • WSB October 22, 2016 (3:01 pm)

      There is the Junction Neighborhood Organization, small core of volunteers who are always welcoming new involvement. Meetings are periodic. I’ll go look up the e-mail address.

    • Meyer October 24, 2016 (11:09 am)

      My two complaints with the Morgan Junction zone changes are:

      1.) The West side of California between Mill and Holly should be up-zoned to red (Neighborhood commercial) rather than brown. That could be prime commercial real state that can help the Morgan Junction reach a critical mass of businesses. Instead it will just be homes and eventually town homes or row houses.

      2.) I don’t agree with the upzoning between California and Fauntleroy. Those should be left as RSL since parking is already so limited. Plus being so close to the Morgan Junction, that street gets lots of ferry traffic cars and shoppers who can’t find a parking spot. Increasing density there will make traffic and parking even worse than it.

  • Andy October 24, 2016 (6:02 pm)

    The elderly and disabled need their car.

  • Andrea S October 28, 2016 (6:57 am)

    WE DO NOT NEED ANY ZONING CHANGES ON THE EDMONDS SLOPE OR ALONG 35th and 37th! All this does is drag down your neighbors property values,  and increase your and your neighbor’s taxes. Everyone had a view in our neighborhood,  and we all got along , until some jerk decided to “pop up” his house. He f’d up our entire neighborhood’s annual fireworks watching from a corner of one street by blocking the view  to downtown, and to  add insult to injury he bought a huge big screen TV,  and placed it right in his living room,  which you could see through the windows to watch the very same fireworks he could have just stood on his deck to watch. Such over consumption .  Believe me, you do not need that kind of neighbor,  and who the heck goes upstairs for a view that they can already have from their first floor.  This HALA  and this Mayor have to go!!! We owe nothing to developers!! and you can’t just cover up what you are doing by mandating a few low income apts.This is just greed pure,  and simple , and it also is not building good neighbor relations . Pretty soon we’re going to be living in slums  with trash on the street, because no one is giving a hoot about how they impact their neighborhood,  and its all about how much you can exploit loopholes and land values when you don’t have to live there. What developer has to live in the area that he is “developing” in. It doesn’t impact them at all,  but it does impact you and you need to stand up for our quality of life here in this city.  Keep your property in good condition,  and be respectful of your neighbors property. Its a cultural thing . Learn it.  

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