HALA UPZONING: Morgan Community Association update on what it’s pursuing and what’s next

That’s the “preferred alternative” map for proposed zoning changes to implement HALA Mandatory Housing Affordability in the Morgan Junction urban village, as included in the MHA Final Environmental Impact Statement issued by the city last month. The Morgan Community Association is one of the neighborhood groups that’s filed an appeal of that document, as well as joining in a separate citywide-coalition appeal. Tonight MoCA’s president Deb Barker sent out this community update on where things stand:

Dear Morgan Junction Community:

It’s the Holiday season and we know that you have a lot going on so we’ll keep this end-of-the-year summary brief.

The Morgan Community Association (MoCA) has been deeply engaged in the City’s HALA/MHA program changes for over a year, starting with our November 2016 HALA/MHA Workshop for District 1. We want to brief you on the current HALA/MHA status and how Morgan Junction is affected. If you have any questions – please ask.

Morgan Junction Comprehensive Plan Amendment. At a special Comprehensive Plan meeting on November 14, 2017, MoCA meeting attendees learned about some potential options to achieve housing results that address neighborhood concerns, and that would meet the Morgan Junction Plan Housing Goal. Attendees voted on the different options and endorsed a general policy statement of encouraging affordable, entry-level, family-sized owner-occupied housing within the urban village. In early December, MoCA focused on this policy concept in our comments to the City on their draft Comp plan amendment language. We also repeated our request for formal neighborhood-planning engagement to modify any portions of our neighborhood plan. The City Council will vote on Comprehensive Plan amendments later in 2018.

We are now taking steps to turn the policy concept into a tangible program, so that our community wishes are incorporated along with the MHA proposals that will be discussed for final adoption in 2018. We met with Councilmember Lisa Herbold in late December and have a meeting request in to Mayor Durkan to discuss the Special Review District idea.

Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) Released. In mid-November, the City released its final EIS and proposed maps that up-zone all areas of the Morgan Junction Urban Village including eliminating all single-family zoning from the Urban Village. In the document, the City was dismissive of Morgan Junction’s concerns about flaws found in the original draft EIS. 

Legal Appeal. In reviewing the City’s FEIS document, the MoCA Board came to the realization that the only recourse to have our specific Urban Village concerns addressed would be to file an appeal of the FEIS. Other neighborhoods were realizing that only legal action would force the City to provide a true neighborhood planning process to address the environmental impacts specific to neighborhoods as well as city-wide impacts. The November 27 FEIS appeal deadline was several months before scheduled Morgan Community Association member meetings, and the Board voted to file a placeholder appeal and bring the issue to the January 2018 Membership meeting. The Board also approved joining with a coalition of 26 neighborhood and other interested groups (the Seattle Coalition for Affordability, Livability and Equity) seeking to require the City to adequately analyze, disclose and address the full impacts of its proposed up-zones, as well as provide a true alternative. Appeal efforts involve member commitment and funding, and a member group can withdraw at any time. The Seattle Hearing Examiner will hear the appeal starting on April 23, 2018.

What’s Next. MoCA’s next quarterly meeting is next month. There will be discussion about the MHA/FEIS, the appeal, the Comp Plan Amendment language and progress on the Special Review District policy concept as well as actions related to the Morgan Junction Neighborhood Fund. Please join us on January 17, 2018 at 7:00 at The Kenney to discuss the next steps and to vote on key policy issues. We look forward to seeing you.

Deb Barker, President
Morgan Community Association

The full agenda for the January 17th MoCA meeting is in our calendar listing.

2 Replies to "HALA UPZONING: Morgan Community Association update on what it's pursuing and what's next"

  • Matt December 30, 2017 (3:50 pm)

    It’s strange to call houses in West Seattle urban villages “affordable, entry-level, family-sized owner-occupied housing” when they are hundreds of thousand dollars more than a comparable townhouse, when MHA would allow more townhouses, and more Residential 

  • Matt December 30, 2017 (4:12 pm)

    It’s strange to call houses in West Seattle urban villages “affordable, entry-level, family-sized owner-occupied housing” when they are $100K+ more than newer, larger townhouses a block away. Townhouses and RSL small houses are are exactly the family starter dwellings MoCA is asking for and that’s what the MHA upzone map.

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