West Seattle, Washington
Though a Morgan Junction church’s request for an upzone to enable denser housing on open space next door has been in the city system for four years, it still should be subject to not-yet-finalized Mandatory Housing Affordability. So said the City Council’s Planning, Land Use, and Zoning Committee tonight. Three committee members voted unanimously to approve the West Seattle Church of the Nazarene‘s proposed upzone – but without waiving MHA, which only the council has the power to do. With MHA, the church will either have to pay the city an estimated $200,000 – almost a third of the revenue it expected to get from the project and hoped to spend on renovating their deteriorating church building – or set aside two of the townhouses for “affordable housing.” Project supporters could not make their case to the council at tonight’s committee meeting because the rezone is a “quasi-judicial” action; project architect David Neiman laid out the issues on his website last week:
The general idea behind MHA is that a re-zone is supposed to confer value to the property owner, and in exchange the city asks the owner to contribute that value back to the city. In the case of WSCN’s project, the proposed project includes a Property Use and Development agreement (PUDA) that will dedicate much of the land to a public open space, constraining the use of the site to such an extent that it will actually have less development potential after the re-zone than it does today. …
… What will the City Council do when faced with a project that voluntarily provides community benefits that prevent it from using the development potential conferred by a re-zone? Does the property owner have to pay anyway even though they receive no value in return? Is MHA really about a fair exchange of value creation and value capture, or is it just a fine levied on all new development?
Neiman’s post also shows site plans comparing the townhouse proposa to six units that could be built on the church’s site right now without a rezone – three houses and three “accessory dwelling units” that would take up most of what the church had proposed leaving as open space. Tonight’s vote by Councilmembers Lisa Herbold, Rob Johnson, and Mike O’Brien was not the final action – that’s up to the full Council, which will get the matter on December 11th.
DECEMBER 1ST CORRECTION: According to the agenda for next Monday’s council meeting, to which the final vote has been moved, those voting earlier this week were Johnson, O’Brien, Harris-Talley, and Juarez for, no one against, Herbold abstaining.
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.
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:
3 ARRESTED IN CONSTRUCTION-SITE BURGLARY: A 911 caller reported seeing two intruders at the construction site at the southwest corner of Fauntleroy and Edmunds around 2 am, putting items into a box and taking it to a waiting car. Here’s what SPD says happened from there:
Officers responded and saw the car traveling along Fauntleroy Way SW. The officers ran the plate of the vehicle and discovered it had been reported stolen from a Renton address. Officers stopped the stolen car and found three people inside. Officers spoke with the witness who said the passengers, a 25-year-old man, and a 36-year-old man, were the same people they had seen in the construction area earlier. Officers placed the two under arrest for burglary and booked them into King County Jail. Officers also arrested the 28-year-old driver for possession of a stolen vehicle and will work with prosecutors as that case moves ahead.
The two burglary suspects remain in jail this evening, according to the online register.
Also – two reader reports:
HOME BURGLARIZED: Just in from Tyler:
I got home from work today and my house has been broken into. This happened between 8:30 am-2:30 p today.
Back window shattered (very small window that would be tough to enter through, the police and I believe it was a kid).
Glass shattered in my kitchen and doors and dressers all opened and rummaged through in every room. Back sliding door left wide open, lucky our indoor cat didn’t leave.
Tablet, laptop, Xbox one, and about 15 newly wrapped Christmas gifts under the tree have all been stolen.
I am on the 8100 block of 17th Ave in Highland Park.
CHRISTMAS LIGHTS STOLEN: Erica near 51st/Edmunds reports that “our holiday lights (projection dots on our house) were stolen from our front yard last night between 8 pm and 5 am … We put them up yesterday with our kids; they were so sad this morning to find they had been taken!”
Thanks to the person who texted with a report of brown water in their neighborhood southwest of The Junction, near 51st and Edmunds – Seattle Public Utilities told them there’s hydrant testing in the area. Any time you experience discolored water, here’s the number to use to let SPU know: 206-386-1800. (They have some additional advice on this page.)
In the wake of last August’s Atlantic salmon farm collapse in north Puget Sound, King County Executive Dow Constantine wants to ensure no new pens are built in waters over which the county has jurisdiction. The announcement:
Citing the threat to native salmon populations, King County Executive Dow Constantine today called for a six-month moratorium on allowing any new Atlantic fish farming facilities along marine shoreline in unincorporated King County.
“The hundreds of thousands of farmed, invasive Atlantic salmon that spilled into the Salish Sea in August threaten our native fish populations and our way of life,” said Executive Constantine. “Atlantic salmon don’t belong here. Beyond a six month moratorium, we need to ensure these operations can never again pose a threat to indigenous salmon already struggling to survive.”
Legislation enacting the moratorium will be transmitted to the King County Council (today). Indian tribes including the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe and Suquamish Tribe reviewed and approved the proposed moratorium to ensure it did not interfere with their local fisheries and treaty rights.
In the State of Washington, commercial net pens are required to obtain federal and state permits. Local governments like King County can also require permits as part of implementing shoreline master plans.
While the state has issued a moratorium on permits they administer for net pens, an applicant could still apply for and receive a county shorelines permit.
The moratorium announced by Executive Constantine will enable King County to review and strengthen its shoreline regulations to eliminate the risk of harm from non-native salmon farming to native salmon runs and sensitive shorelines.
King County rivers are home to seven native salmon species, including chinook, steelhead, and bull trout populations that are protected by the Endangered Species Act. Puget Sound is where these and other salmon species spend much of their lives, feeding for a year or more, before returning to their home streams to spawn.
King County and a host of partners, including treaty Indian tribes, cities, counties, and state and federal agencies have invested heavily in salmon-habitat preservation and restoration efforts.
Executive Constantine’s proposed moratorium coincides with a state-mandated review and update of King County’s Shoreline Master Program. The program includes policies, regulations and plans that manage the shorelines within King County’s jurisdiction, and is incorporated into the County’s comprehensive plan.
The Shoreline Master Program must be reviewed, updated and delivered to the Washington Department of Ecology by June 30, 2019.
The nearest Atlantic-salmon-farming facilities right now, according to what we’ve found out via research so far, are off Bainbridge Island, which is part of Kitsap County.
Two notes today about Seattle Parks play-area-renovation projects in West Seattle:
HIGH POINT ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEW: Today’s city-circulated Land Use Information Bulletin includes a notice that the High Point Play Area renovation project outside the HP Community Center has been determined to be environmentally non-significant. That opens a comment period if you have something to say – as long as you get your comment in by December 11th (today’s notice explains how). The full document can be seen here. Also noted on the project website – the project is now expected to start in fall 2018, because of “permitting delays.”
MEETING REMINDER FOR LINCOLN PARK SOUTH: This Wednesday is the first of two meetings for the Lincoln Park South Play Area project – 6-7:30 pm November 29th at The Kenney (7125 Fauntleroy Way SW). This is to replace the equipment that was abruptly closed and removed this past summer because of safety concerns. The meeting will give you a chance to “learn about the project and provide input on play equipment and the overall design for the play area.” Whether you can or can’t be there, the city invites you to answer this survey, too.
Another sign of the season in the West Seattle Junction – the wreaths went up on the lampposts this morning, and evergreen garlands will follow shortly.
(Photo by Brian Presser)
This is another reason for us to remind you that the biggest night for this year’s West Seattle Junction Hometown Holidays is this Saturday (December 2nd) – first, starting at 3 pm, SW Alaska will be closed between California and 42nd for a Night Market, not only a chance to shop local vendors but also for seasonal fun including Santa photos and for kids to decorate wooden snowflakes that they’ll be able to hang on the tree in Junction Plaza Park – the same tree that will be lit in a 5 pm program hosted this year by Sundae + Mr. Goessl. See the full Hometown Holidays (co-sponsored by WSB) event lineup here.
COOKING CLASSES: “Meatless Mondays” at the West Seattle YMCA (WSB sponsor) with Chef Kim O’Donnel, today focusing on lentil shepherd’s pie, 10 am and 4 pm classes – contact the Y to sign up in advance. (36th SW/SW Snoqualmie)
HALA UPZONING APPEAL: As previewed on Friday, a coalition of neighborhood groups including three from West Seattle (Morgan Community Association, Junction Neighborhood Organization, Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Coalition) will gather at City Hall at 12:15 pm to announce their plan to appeal the city’s proposal for upzoning in urban villages and other commercal/multifamily-zoned areas as part of the Housing Affordability and Livability Act. (600 4th Ave.)
TINKERLAB AT DELRIDGE LIBRARY: Fun all-ages STEM-based craft program, 4-5:30 pm, today focusing on iMovie/stop-motion animation. Free. (5423 Delridge Way SW)
COUNCIL COMMITTEE CONSIDERS CHURCH’S UPZONE PROPOSAL: Not related to the HALA upzoning but – as reported here last week – potentially affected by the fees for it, the West Seattle Church of the Nazarene‘s request for a site-specific upzone to allow 6 townhouses on its “park” site (zoned for 3 single-family houses) goes before the City Council’s Planning, Land Use, and Zoning Committee at 5 pm tonight. (600 4th Ave.)
Something for our calendar or Holiday Guide? E-mail info, soon as you have it, to email@example.com – thank you!
6:59 AM: Good morning! Back to work, back to school after the holiday weekend. No incidents reported so far in or from West Seattle.
7:29 PM: Caller reports a bus is broken down in the transit lane on the bridge.
7:51 AM: Eastbound lanes on the low bridge are blocked by a crash towsrd its west end. (Thsnks for the text!)
8:06 AM: SDOT says the low-bridge crash is cleared.