VIDEO: What happened @ meeting #2 of City Council’s special HALA upzoning committee

While a vote is months away, the City Council is continuing its series of meetings about the legislation that could eventually upzone much of the city for the Mandatory Housing Affordability component of the Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda (HALA). The Seattle Channel video above is from Monday, when councilmembers met for the second time (agenda here) as the Select Committee that will decide the plan’s fate.

They were briefed by city staffers, first on what was described as “how the proposal got shaped,” then on specific highlights for Council District 4 in North Seattle, where a public hearing was scheduled hours later. They also took public comment before the meeting ended.

Councilmembers asked questions along the way, on topics from tree protection to encouragement of “flats.” Our area’s City Councilmember Lisa Herbold asked about one of her key ongoing concerns, displacement, saying she’d learned of a development (not in this area) that would replace 66 affordable units and only require the developer to pay for the equivalent of 18 units. (Staffers said they could talk with her about it after the meeting.) She also asked whether the presentation points represented changes since the first round of upzoning proposals; staffers said the legislation, which is what the committee is reviewing, is “the first time we’re laying out all of the detail.” She also asked if some components address geographic specifics; staffers offered an example from Rainier Beach.

The public-comment period at the end of the meeting included two speakers from West Seattle, Cindi Barker from Morgan Junction (who was a member of the original HALA advisory group a few years back) and Christy Tobin-Presser from The Junction. Barker told the council that they’re “not asking for enough in exchange for” the potential upzoning – the MHA fees, she said, should be higher, for example.

WHAT’S NEXT: The council’s Select Committee doesn’t meet again until March 12th. The calendar of district open houses and public hearings is here; the ones for our area are not until May and June.

2 Replies to "VIDEO: What happened @ meeting #2 of City Council's special HALA upzoning committee"

  • Matt February 13, 2018 (8:48 am)

    My heart goes out to the 56 households are going to have to move, and I wish them all the luck finding new places to live that they can afford.

    But some context is required to cool the rhetoric, here. The building in question is Market rate apartments today and the cheapest one Bedroom available today is $1500, well beyond the $1080 required to be called ‘affordable’ like the 18 new rent restricted units that would happen in the new 440 unit building. It’s more housing and more Affordable housing.  

    Also, many of the studios there are 300, 400 square feet, and are obviously very viable-and comparable to today’s Small Efficiency Dwelling Units.  It’s ironic to hear people fighting modern efficiency apartments while eulogizing the ones from generations past. 

    Finally, as we force all growth into urban villages, even reduce their size, the natural outcome is that old building are going to be redevelopedand the people therein displaced because we haven’t created anywhere else to for them to live. It’s a lesson that I’d rather see west seattle learn now so our historical buildings can survive this boom. 

    • Jonathon Dough February 19, 2018 (11:50 am)

      Thanks for the context Matt, well said.

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