SATURDAY: Learn and talk about proposed HALA rezoning in Admiral

One more reminder – tomorrow is the day that people who live and/or work in Admiral are invited to a Community Design Workshop about the rezoning that’s proposed for the Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda (HALA) component known as Mandatory Housing Affordability.

(Direct link to draft Admiral Urban Village rezoning map)

This proposal would upzone property within the city’s Urban Villages – plus all multifamily/commercial property, in an UV or not – and require builders/developers to either dedicate part of what they build as “affordable,” or pay into a fund that will go toward affordable housing somewhere in the city. You can click around this interactive map to see what’s proposed where you are. Then, 9:30 am-12:30 pm Saturday at West Seattle High School (3000 California SW), it’s the Admiral version of this big recent meeting in The Junction – first a presentation, then Q/A, then table-by-table conversation to get your feedback. Here’s the official city announcement. Whether or not you’re going, you can get your feedback to the city via or e-mailing

22 Replies to "SATURDAY: Learn and talk about proposed HALA rezoning in Admiral"

  • Matt February 10, 2017 (4:01 pm)

    I wish I could attend.  I’ve already weighed in but it would be a good chance to talk with my neighbors.  

  • Westie February 10, 2017 (5:56 pm)

    Does anyone know if they’re proposing to upzone the previously upzoned 3200+ block of California Ave SW?  It appears to be slated for such from the HALA map, even though Roger Cayce and Mike Gain already had it upzoned via private petition to the Seattle City Council.

    • WS Guy February 10, 2017 (6:36 pm)

      Yes.  As proposed, all property in all urban villages will be upzoned.  

      Some property will be double-upzoned and triple-upzoned when indicated on the maps by Cross-hatched area. 

  • joras February 10, 2017 (8:08 pm)

    I live in one of the homes directly SE of West Seattle High School (walnut & hanford) – it is within the urban village boundary but it seems to be the only group of homes that doesn’t have any sort of upzoning color/label. Does this mean my property is not included in the zoning change or is it an oversight in labeling?

    • Rob B February 11, 2017 (8:29 pm)

      I too wonder. We’re right across from the Hiawatha playfield. My assumption is that the high school and playfield will remain in tact but I don’t know what that means for the housing on Walnut. If you find out more, please let me know. 

      • WSB February 11, 2017 (8:33 pm)

        Have you taken a look to zoom in to your neighborhood on the citywide map, which is somewhat easier to read (once you’ve closed a couple of boxes that block it on initial view) than the PDF/JPG version? We link it in every story.

        It does not show change on the east side of Hiawatha.

        P.S. Check back tomorrow for our story on today’s meeting.

        • joras February 12, 2017 (12:11 pm)

          @WSB yes I was able to check out the HALA map but I’m still confused about the zoning of my property. There are about 10 homes that are within the Urban Village boundary but don’t have a zoning change shown. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to attend the meeting.

          Here’s a picture of the location:

          • WSB February 12, 2017 (12:14 pm)

            If you’re not shaded/hatched/etc., you’re not proposed for change, the city reps have reiterated – BUT if I were you, I would e-mail the e-mail address or call the HALA hotline (don’t have that handy at the moment but it’ll be in the story later today about yesterday’s meeting) and give them your exact address to ask. … if you haven’t already. – TR

  • Sick of the hate February 10, 2017 (9:57 pm)

    How do we fight this?

    • WS Guy February 11, 2017 (4:16 pm)

      Loads of people at the West Seattle Junction are unhappy with the proposal, and angry with the fact that they have so little say about the direction of their own neighborhood.  You can follow their activity on Facebook and you may find opportunities to get involved there, if Admiral does not have a similar group.

  • Wendy February 11, 2017 (7:19 am)

    You try to fight it by going to the meetings and getting involved.

  • Wsmom February 11, 2017 (10:13 am)

    It would be nice if the city was thinking of schools and where are all these kids going to go when they upzone these areas.  There are already crowding problems.

    • WSB February 11, 2017 (11:18 am)

      At the Junction meeting, that came up and a city rep said the city is working with the school district on its future planning. I’m at the Admiral meeting right now and the format has been somewhat different – they didn’t collect questions to be asked in the large group before breaking into the small group – so I haven’t heard that come up, though at several tables, people are pointing out issues about the Lafayette vicinity. Full story to come later – TR

      • CMT February 11, 2017 (5:13 pm)

        Really?!  Many of attendees at the WS Junction workshop felt that the full room Q&A was the most valuable part of the exercise and the breakout sessions were simply a means for City-paid “facilitators” to isolate and manipulate the discussion.  Interesting that that part was eliminated. I would urge people to watch the video of the Junction workshop Q&A that WSB posted with its coverage on 1/27.  It is clear that the City was uncomfortable and did not want to answer the questions of a room full of people that wanted answers.

  • Nino February 11, 2017 (12:36 pm)

    I’m right on the edge of the Hala upzone, about 48th and Admiral.  Is there a way to confirm if your lot is in an upzone area or not?  Hard to tell.

  • Canton February 11, 2017 (7:38 pm)

    It’s the old divide and conquer strategy. They divide the city districts, so we can’t vote on reps elsewhere. Disband community groups, so they can appoint reps for us. Separate community meetings to keep us off the same page. Increase property values and population to increase the tax base. But no concern about the infrastructure needed to handle the outcome.

  • ELC February 12, 2017 (7:33 am)

    I noticed they rezoned the Lafayette school property but didn’t touch West Seattle high school. Was there any mention of the city tearing down and rebuilding that space because it certainly seems like that’s part of the plan?

  • josh niederberger February 12, 2017 (8:46 am)

     I was at Saturdays meeting and asked that exact question. I was told very specifically that the rezoned Lafayette playground was to give flexibility for the school to expand on its own property to meet the changing demographic.


  • Gina February 12, 2017 (12:28 pm)

    The Lafayette rebuild morphed into the school district selling the playground to build 7 story high apartment houses, neighborhood gossip-wise.  I went to the meeting to find out what the real situation was. It didn’t seem improbable to me after the sale of Jefferson in the past.  Unfortunately, the Lafayette upzoning reasons were unknown by group leaders in the area where I was sitting.  The map missed out on the playground portion of Lafayette.

    Admiral missed out on the expansion of Urban Village boundaries because our public transportation is limited and not adequate for increased density. Admiral upzoning is for everyone that works out of their own home, or at a local business. And the nice bike paths down Admiral are for the rest.

  • Scarlett February 12, 2017 (3:30 pm)

    Observation on the City’s Housing Affordability and
    Livability Agenda (HALA) process and community input.  Did what what they tell you at Admiral differ from what we were told at the Junction.  Read below to see.


    Having recently attended  the City HALA Junction presentation at the senior center as
    an observer to the proceedings,  it
    became apparent that that the presentation was actually a somewhat poorly
    controlled lecture program on HALA. 
    Presenters made heroic attempts to control the audience and
    questions.  A piece of half sheet notepaper
    was handed out before the meeting to write all of your questions about HALA
    during the lecture and submit them to the moderators for questions time at the
    end.  At the end of the lecture, a
    half hour was saved by the moderators, to address a few questions.  This was a great idea because it
    controlled the process, limited open conversation from the group, which was quite
    large and restive, and allowed the presenter to stay on message by reading the
    questions, for which, well defined responses were prepared.  

    Overarching concerns included questions about why the City
    was not waiting, or coordinating  with
    ST3 station plans.  ST3 does not
    know where they are going to put their very large station.  No real answer was provided that seemed
    to answer the question.  I did
    wonder what would happen if Rite Aid was developed into a new Whittaker, and
    ST3 then decided that the Rite Aid lot was the only place suitable for the
    station.  The audience could not
    fathom why the processes are not consolidated or coordinated to prevent tearing
    something down you probably just spend a lot of money to build.   Since property purchase for ST3
    won’t happen until 2023-2025, many structures might be built in the ideal
    station site by then.  This, of
    course, could mean two tear-downs and two rebuilds on the same site. Oh well.

    I also noted the city produced significant reassurances to the
    audience that land value property taxes would not increase.  The City later revised this statement
    to a “small increase”.  References
    to the Roosevelt neighborhood were mentioned, minus specific data.   During the breakout groups, I
    listened carefully to questions again about taxes and heard something new.  City staffers then said that taxes
    would go up about 30 percent within the first 5 years.  This was in contrast to the statement
    made to 200 audience members about 45 minutes prior.   By my estimates
    this would be probably about $1500 a year.

    The next cries from the audience were about the Junction
    neighborhood plan and the City’s attempt to ignore the plan.  City folks stayed on message that the
    plan was old and outdated.   The city did not mention why this plan,
    which they appear to abhor, is repeatedly adopted by the city in every new revision
    of the comprehensive plan.  Nor did
    they mention attempting to update the plan with community involvement as
    Delridge is currently doing.  Promises
    of parks, infrastructure and other improvements specified in the plan have been
    few and far between, or non-existence, per the audience and this seems borne
    out by a quick stroll through the Junction.  The Rapid Ride, referred to by some attendees as the Crowded
    Ride did come in exchange for the loss of other routes.  Is there a net gain in bus
    service?  It’s hard to
    determine.  If you live on
    California or Fauntleroy south the Morgan Junction, this is apparent.  If you live elsewhere, it appears there
    is a net loss in service.

    City officials noted that the HALA program will provide only
    500 new Junction homes in the next 20 years. One member of the audience noted
    that could be build right now without expansion by up-zoning in the triangle between
    Fauntleroy, Avalon, and 35th.  An interesting option well worth discussing?

    Audience members clearly did not oppose affordable housing
    and spoke repeatedly about supporting  such housing. 
    What most caught their ire was that they clearly were not going to get any
    affordable housing in the Junction guaranteed at all.  Well-informed audience attendees were quite aware that the
    village up-zone and expansion resulted after Mayor Murray’s failed attempt to
    eliminate all single family zoning citywide.   They see the new plan, marketed as “only affecting 6%
    of SFR”, as a first bite of the same apple.  After all who will notice the loss of those homes?  The other 94 % will just be thankful it
    didn’t happen to them. A cautionary note was mentioned that 100 % loss was, and
    may be, the intended goal, this was just the start.   Multiple options for abiding by the City’s commitment
    to preserve the SFR community in the Junction were provided to the City
    officials and their contractors during the small group meetings held after the
    large room lectures.  The
    contractors were hired by the City to facilitate and take notes were a mixed
    bag.  Some wrote down the
    suggestions, and others didn’t bother until called to task.  This is an inefficient way to get input
    and for others to hear the ideas of their neighbors.  It is a very good approach for controlling the masses and
    was mostly successful.  The City
    can be congratulated on this strategy. 
    It effectively limited almost all open group discussion by neighbors
    within the larger group.  The city
    would loose complete control of the process by allowing an open forum of a
    large group of people and this clearly is not desirable. 

    I overheard one question of City employee when asked
    directly what the Junction gets for having their homes rezoned and the village expanded?  The only reply was “affordable housing”
    and the City person insisted it would be in village.  The city employee could state of no other benefit.  This was lost opportunity, and at a
    minimum he could have said better restaurants.   This was the same City official captured on video ostensibly
    and meekly apologizing when one SFR resident confronted him about the City’s
    intentions for her neighbors and her SFR home.  The resident asked what was supposed to happen “so you just
    want us (meaning our homes) all to go away”?   The City worker responded “sorry”.  This was a huge blunder.  Never show your obvious intentions and
    particularly on video.

    Just what does the up-zone of several SFR blocks to 40-foot
    apartment complexes mean?  It
    appears to mean homes being surrounded by 40 foot and higher verticals
    walls.  This won’t last long
    however. The logic here is to reach the desired effect the City intends.  Once one of the many seniors die, or
    one of the several small rentals are sold, the homes on that street will be
    bought by developers.  They will build
    to the planned up-zoning maximum. 
    Because we can be sure that living on a street subject to continuous
    construction work for years, is highly unpleasant, the rest of the neighborhood
    quickly collapses to demolition.  After the first house goes, the remaining properties are only
    worth the land value, so it will be easy to pick up the other lots at a bargain
    price-and maybe even some short sells. 
    This would certainly be my strategy as a Developer and it is an
    excellent strategy for the desired end.

    Audience members attempted to show City officials that their
    plan was woefully off the mark. 
    Because Junction property is extremely expensive, no contractor would
    pay to put affordable housing in an overpriced area. They get far more bang for
    the buck in cheaper areas.  
    Also no Developer is going to hamstring sale of a newly developed
    building for 75 years of rent control on a unit when they might have to pay a
    fee (or maybe not) that would be passed on in the sales price anyway.   The idea of capitalism, in its
    most refined art form, is to maximize profit and move on the next profit-making
    venture.  That is how wealth is
    accumulated.  This coincides with
    other City officials private statements, recognizing all the affordable housing
    units would, of course, go into the areas of the city where low-income people
    live now.  Audience members did
    vent their spleens referencing this as City sanctioned redlining.   They appear to think the City is,
    in the best simile of a used care salesman, is doing a very large bait and
    switch.   Unfortunately the City was unable to provide any credible
    evidence that the Junction would get any affordable housing.  A missed opportunity or there isn’t any

    I heard comments about the Grand Bargain, the Grand Boodogle
    and so forth.  It appears the City
    entered into a closed-door agreement with some very large developers.  The result was:  you agree to not sue us and promise to
    pay the HALA fee-don’t worry it’s not much, and we give you and everyone else
    large scale up zones throughout the city.   The developers who demolish SFR and do small
    commercial projects did not agree to this Grand Bargain, and have publicly announced
    a promise to sue the city over HALA fees. 
    Will they win, probably?    

    So what does this all mean to casual observer of the

    Residents of the Junction think the City is misguided at
    best and at worst, down right dishonest. 
    Does the City want them to move and have their homes demolished for new development?
    Well, yes, and they have said so privately and that is point of the entire up-zone.  Is the City listening to residents? They
    claim they are, but it is hard to see just how?  Shelby’s was no real venue for feed back by mores than a
    handful of people.  The January 26th
    meeting was a little better but still no real open forum to captures area

     City folks have
    already privately said this plan will go through as is and they don’t actually
    care what the neighborhoods say. 
    Quite frankly, they don’t have to “They are the City”.   Will this mean backlash against
    the City and their staff, you can bet on that. 

  • WSB February 13, 2017 (7:06 am)

    Update, our story about Saturday’s Admiral meeting will be up later today (Monday), if you’re looking for it.

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