HAPPENING NOW: HALA upzoning – and more – open house in West Seattle

(WSB photos)

Very low-key – and low turnout, so far – city open house happening right now in the Louisa Boren STEM K-8 lunchroom. Though the headline topic is HALA upzoning for Mandatory Housing Affordability, it’s somewhat outflanked by an abundance of other city departments tabling too, like SDOT:

Other departments there if you have questions include Seattle Public Utilities, City Light, Parks, Neighborhoods, and the Office of Housing. But back to HALA upzoning – if you have questions about what’s planned for your part of West Seattle, you can wander around the room to find the map, and someone to talk with:

This is not a feedback event, so, so far as we can tell, you’re not being asked to put dots on maps. Just an FYI type of open house – the next feedback event in this area is the official public hearing on June 5th at Chief Sealth International High School.

Several community groups are here too, even the coalition that’s appealing the HALA Environmental Impact Statement (as their case continues working its way through the system, with more documents filed on the Hearing Examiner‘s site just this week). You’re welcome to drop in until 8 pm, 5950 Delridge Way SW – parking is in the big lot that stretches south of the school entrance. And of course there are snacks.

40 Replies to "HAPPENING NOW: HALA upzoning - and more - open house in West Seattle"

  • kat May 9, 2018 (8:52 pm)

    There was a low turnout because the city officials have their own ideas and agenda and are NOT listening to the citizens.  Shame on you for not listening to the very community to voted you into office.  You should be ashamed!  They continue to build buildings without adequate parking.  People are tired of wasting their time attending events that won’t make a difference.  Since you decide and only allow “comment” what is the point in attending?  You are going to do what you want and the citizens are not heard.  I believe the communication states, :” you have X number of days to ‘COMMENT’.  Seems to be out of control!  Quit building apartments, condos, townhomes, homes without ample parking!  You are the people we elected to listen to us and you are not!  You have your own unrealistic ‘no cars’ agenda when the infrastructure in this city doesn’t support it nor do the majority want to.  Shame on you for giving the developers the control they have regarding parking and shame on you for enjoying your position and not listening sincerely to the very people who trusted you with the position you currently have.  

    • Jort May 9, 2018 (10:14 pm)

      Is the city ignoring the citizens, or maybe, just maybe, the citizens aren’t listening to the city? Sounds like you’re not really interested in learning anything new, and maybe attendance is low because people don’t want to hear the city’s proposal for addressing a very real housing affordability crisis. It sure seems to me that their are plenty of armchair urban planners in these comments sections, who state with absolute certainty that they know what’s best for themselves.

      People can plug their fingers in their ears and yell “LA-LA-LA-LA-LA” all they want, but I have yet to hear one single credible proposal to help address growth and affordability other than HALA. Not one. 

      Maybe people should start showing up to these open houses and, gosh, I dunno, LEARN SOMETHING. 

      • WSB May 9, 2018 (10:20 pm)

        The one at the head-end of the process, when input was requested, was overflowing. Many subsequent events have been, including those organized by community advocates to help people navigate the process. We’ve covered all but one or two of them.

      • Happy Camper May 10, 2018 (7:49 am)

        I agree with Jort. Part of the reason we are in this predicament is resistance to change and “progress” which has had both good and bad consequences. Part of that resistance has “kept” WS cool. But part of it has also limited transit and smart densification in the past. We should have up-zoned single family zones in urban villages when urban villages were first created. The point was to target development right? I don’t understand the “build here” but not most of “here” (SF in urban villages).

        We should be considering where this city will be in 20 years as a result of any action or inaction with regard to OUR urban planning decisions being made now.

        I personally like the development in The Junction. For example: I much prefer the new building, restaurants, trees and nice sidewalk where the old Rocksport used to be.  

        • Happy Camper May 10, 2018 (8:14 am)

          I forgot something….

          re: individual planning for every urban village

          what would have been the political backlash if the city would have treated Wallingford different than Othello or Fremont different than South Park? wouldn’t that seem as though the city was giving preferential treatment to more affluent, English speaking, more able to be involved neighborhoods by giving them “what they want”?

          I don’t think the city could win either way.

      • Kat May 10, 2018 (8:29 am)

        I have attended them.  I have also made an appointment with Lisa Herbold before.  There are plenty of alternatives but they are not hearing it.  And for the record, Lisa understands the concern but she is just 1 person on the council.    The city is not building the apartments, condos, town homes but they did approve no or little parking in 2010 when the developers asked for the change.

        • John May 10, 2018 (10:00 am)

          KAT’s response to the JORT’s  challenge of  “I have yet to hear one single credible proposal.” —-

          ——“There are plenty of alternatives but they are not hearing it.”—–

          She then proceeds to mention not even one of such ‘plentiful’ options!

          This is the place for KAT to provide a few of those plentiful alternatives.  

          I am waiting KAT?

    • TreeHouse May 9, 2018 (10:20 pm)

      Kat – Anti-urbanism candidates such as Pat Murakami lost by significant margins for a reason. I don’t know where you are getting your “majority” opinions from. Upzones will only continue to grow in popularity as median home prices continue to grow out of control. A median home price of $819,000 is a big problem and the only away to start alleviating demand is by growing supply. Mike Rosenberg wrote a great insightful article in the Seattle Times last Friday about zoning. You should take a take a look at it if you have a free moment given your passion about HALA.

    • Mark h. May 10, 2018 (6:27 am)

      Is this a serious post?  You think people you elected are building apartments, condos, and townhomes and that’s why you’re upset?

  • Neighbor May 9, 2018 (8:56 pm)

    Do others feel that challenging the integrity and validity of upzones is pointless? I mean, CM Rob Johnson’s staff go to these and tell us that those of us who choose to have kids are evil anti-environment NIMBYs and Lorena Gonzales says we should just all embrace change and more neighbors without fussing. After all these meetings absolutely nothing has changed. The supporters of all upzones blame middle-class homeowners for all of their financial woes and believe density will solve all of their problems, without regard for others, for livability, for lack of infrastructure and adequate transportation means, lack of hospital services on the peninsula, etc. And when we dare raise concerns the Kimmies and Joes who want Seattle to look and smell like San Francisco repeat the same tired and inaccurate statistics and jargon. Sigh.

    • DH May 10, 2018 (7:39 am)

      Not all middle class homeowners oppose the upzones. I, a middle class homeowner, and many other voted for candidates that support density. They are doing exactly what many of us want. 

      • KM May 10, 2018 (8:47 am)


      • TreeHouse May 10, 2018 (4:48 pm)

        *raises hand* I, as well, am a middle class single family homeowner here that supports upzones. 

  • kat May 9, 2018 (9:24 pm)

    *Sigh*  Just because people want to live here doesn’t mean we have to change our city and the quality of life.  Build them near and high (upbuilding is not the answer to quality of life). 

    If people don’t seriously stand strong against the city council we voted in to protect us, this city will grow at all cost and the recovery will be irreversible.  

    • Mark h. May 10, 2018 (6:31 am)

      Oh. You are serious. Cities grow. It seems like your beef is with the growth management act. You could ask your Reps in Olympia to make sprawl great again.

  • TreeHouse May 9, 2018 (10:08 pm)

    I welcome the upzones here in West Seattle. I welcome more places to live whether it be condos, apartments, or townhomes regardless of the parking situation. Any kind of increase in supply will help alleviate these insane sky rocketing prices. I’m really tired of seeing friends and siblings who hold middle class jobs move away because of our affordability crisis driven by this lack of housing supply. 

    • KM May 10, 2018 (7:36 am)

      Bring on the upzones! 

  • lovews May 10, 2018 (9:54 am)

    I agree with upzoning around urban villages, I also agree with what was said earlier that it should have been done when urban villages were created. I have kids. You can raise kids other places besides ‘needing’ a sf home. If you need a sf home with a big back yard, parking in front of your house, etc., you need to move out of the city. Change has been happening and change is here to stay. These small neighborhood groups with their appeals who say they are speaking for the ‘majority’ are not. They are possibly delaying change because they just don’t like it. I strongly believe that if some of the ‘heads’ of the appeal process weren’t having their own house rezoned, it wouldn’t be that much of an issue. Sometimes it really is NIMBY. Maybe nobody showed up at this meeting because people are accepting change and just dealing with it.

  • Illiad May 10, 2018 (10:23 am)

    Parking is a good with an associated cost. I honestly doubt that anyone that is willing to pay for parking can’t find a place to park. I did not delude myself when I moved to Seattle thinking that it would never change. It has to change. That is that is the nature of cities. So, let’s change in a way that provides more affordable housing, more transportation infrastructure and a better quality of life for everyone. You cannot keep the percentage of single family homes in Seattle at the current level and accommodate the required growth. Upzones, please.

  • Mark Schletty May 10, 2018 (10:59 am)

    Why do so many of you supporters of high density in single family zoned areas keep telling those of us, who have lived and invested here for decades, that we should just move away. What makes your choice of how to live better than others choices on how they want to live? Why did you move here if you don’t like the way the city is? The city has lots of single family housing suitable for raising families. Why should those who choose to live in them have to abandon them and move so you can replace them with your preference in housing? Simply unbelievable arrogance and self-centered thinking.

    • Happy Camper May 10, 2018 (12:40 pm)

      This is not about preference of housing or one way being better than the other. This is about growth management and urban planning for the entire city for the next 20 plus years. It is a strategy to concentrate growth (business and residential) into concentrated areas that goes back to the 1990’s. It is not personal and it is not an attack on single family homeowners (I am one). There has to be a plan and there has to be change because growth is inevitable. It needs to be addressed honestly and for the better of the whole city over time. Disagree with them or not that’s the job of the council right? Represent their ENTIRE constituency and exercise their fiduciary duty to try and do right by them in the present and try and not leave a boondoggle for the future?

      I live in the city and accept the trade offs. It is noisier, my neighbors are closer, things are more expensive overall. However, I get to work in 20 min instead of an hour, there are tons of great restaurants, etc.

      Assuming this city continues to grow as almost all have over the last 100 years or whatever if we don’t accomodate them in urban villages where do we put them?

  • Heartless? May 10, 2018 (1:00 pm)

    Absolutely agree with Mark Schletty.  My SF home, yard, and parking is sacred to me.  No upzones! Keep with this pro-growth agenda and get ready for the civil disobedience sure to follow.  Quit assuming growth is inevitable.  Go grow somewhere else! 

    • Steve May 10, 2018 (1:39 pm)

      If you don’t want neighbors, you shouldn’t live in a city. Upzoning allows more people to enjoy the city we all love. I think it is quite a selfish attitude to not want others to live near you. If they can’t live near you, where should they live? “Anywhere where I can’t see them” is not a solution. Simply legalizing fourplexes and small apartment buildings in our neighborhoods could massively increase the amount of neighbors we can have! Woohoo!

    • KM May 10, 2018 (1:45 pm)

      You are welcome to keep your SF home, yard and parking (assuming it’s yours and not a shared public roadway). 

    • Happy Camper May 10, 2018 (4:54 pm)

      Boy am I glad the people before us didn’t just up and stop growth or I wouldn’t be able to live here!

  • D Del Rio May 10, 2018 (2:00 pm)

    I have seen a few proposals in the city that will save a vintage house by moving it closer to the sidewalk, and build townhouses in the back yard.. I wish this could happen more so that we don’t destroy all our historic homes. If not, I wish that they could build homes that at least blend in better with the neighborhood. If the builders would build something that most people like, I don’t think that there would be as much as a push back. It seems that most things built after the 1960’s is just butt ugly.

  • Heartless? May 10, 2018 (2:08 pm)


    I have neighbors on all sides.  Don’t want or need any more.  It is what it is.  Selfish?  Sure.  And you know what? It’s my prerogative.

     Say I pay for a campsite in a State Park.  The park fills up.  By your logic, you’re going to want to squeeze yourself into my campsite because…what? The more the merrier?  Not gonna happen dude.

  • John May 10, 2018 (3:37 pm)

    Say I pay for a campsite in a State Park.  

    The park starts to fill up so the park allows more than one tent to serve additional  campers.  

    But I still have my single campsite, so what is the issue?

  • CMT May 10, 2018 (5:02 pm)

    In my experience over the last year, speaking with hundreds of residents within WS Junction, Morgan Junction, Fauntleroy and Alki (homeowners and renters), almost all accept and agree that our urban villages must accept additional density.  However, those that believe single family homes and yards have no place within a City are the minority. 

    There is room for single-family homes that accommodate families, as well as condos, apartments, townhomes, ADUs.   Look around our urban village, all of those things exist, with more apartments being built throughout the many multi-family zoned areas in the village.  (And to those that correctly assert that families also live in multi-familiy housing, family-sized units are not being built in the urban village because they are not as profitable).  

    Single family homes are part of the tapestry that makes our Junction Urban Village special.  Until and unless our city cannot sustain them due to population – and this is not the case now, despite the belief of some –  they should not be discarded.   

    Alternatives include zoning that would allow for two small scale structures per lot (such as residential small lot zoning) which would encourage residents to develop their own properties, reducing displacement and allowing additional residents, including multi-generational living.  

    Let’s not destroy one of the things that makes our neighborhood special.

    • lovews May 11, 2018 (10:45 am)

      If SF home owners don’t want any kind of upzoning or more density, why then, would they want to be encouraged to build residential small lots on their property to accommodate people they don’t know on their own lot? I understand what you’re saying and my home will be rezoned but I would not build a place on my property to rent out to strangers. Maybe I just don’t understand the concept..

      • CMT May 11, 2018 (2:21 pm)

        While people may not want upzoning or more density, most understand it is a reality.  While you would not do this many people would (and do), particularly to keep up with rising property taxes as a result of rising home values.  If incentives are there, people will take advantage of them.   Moreover, there is no owner occupied requirement so, as people sell, developers will develop the lots in this manner which will allow for greater density.

      • Question Mark May 11, 2018 (2:33 pm)

        The owner chooses how and when to remodel, demolish, and/or build anew, of course (within allowable zoning limits). The fact is that MSL zoning will encourage future owners of these properties to think about their potential future use when buying, not necessarily force existing owners to abandon its current use.

  • TJ May 10, 2018 (7:10 pm)

    The urban villages as designed and envisioned in the 1990’s can handle the growth we are having right now. Developers will build as long as they get high rents (no condos being built by the way). Once vacancies ruse and rents drop anywhere near where people want, they will stop building. The biggest problem is the city give aways to developers to build in the city. I drove down 1st avenue and Ambaum in Burien Monday night. Looks the same as the early 1990’s. Vast untapped room for growth. The desire to have as much density as possible in the city is perplexing. So many large arterials in this region that can absorb these apartments being built here without affecting the character of that area. That is how you will get cheaper housing fast. Previous commenter mentioned the growth management act. Well, as is we are still good for lots of land to build large new sf housing developments. But people need to understand the workings of lobby groups in Olympia that are trying to expand the growth management boundaries continually in the name of the environment. Sprawl has allowed Americans the ability to live the American dream of owning a home with a lawn. That is still the American dream for most, no matter what some want it to be. Politicians spewing crazy ideas about the future here behind the scenes need to be exposed. I contract with local utilities, and last year attended a NW utility forum where CM Johnson spoke on future population growth here that was flat out fear mongering, saying the growth we have seen recently is nothing compared to what they project because of climate migrants coming here from the southwest and around the world. Afterwards people were saying he is insane. Vote these people out of office. Its our only hope

    • Question Mark May 11, 2018 (2:40 pm)

      Amazon’s success and its impact on Seattle growth has been surprise enough (a happy surprise for many despite much grumbling). Will climate change make some formerly livable areas of the country less livable? Likely. If so, and if Seattle’s moderate climate is expected to stay relatively more livable isn’t it wise to plan for the growth pressures that will create?

  • Kat May 10, 2018 (10:48 pm)

    WOW, there are so many posts on this… very different than a year ago. I  have to ask.  How many are Seattle Natives?  How many are residents for at least 6 yrs?  Are you a real estate agent, developer or someone involved in this process?  

    You can build 1st-floor parking for each condo or townhome.  You can build underground parking for apartments based on the old criteria which was accurate and not the newer criteria passed in 2010.  If you build a micro unit, townhomes or condo’s without parking, then like all “subdivisions” you create criteria where only those without vehicles live there.  = they cannot own a car or they are out.  Seriously when you build without parking, you must be this committed to enforcing the homeowners association rules.

    I am 100% for progression/growth but I am also 200% for responsible growth.    This is the key… responsible growth which does not equal “because this lot is “x” number of feet from public transit we will build without parking.”  Be respectful of the locals and their homes.  If you build without parking, make no cars for owners in the complex a part of the homeowners association regulations.  

    Seattlites are committed to public trans during the week but at the end of the day, many are here because of their love of nature which they will need a car to get to in many cases.  Some may choose to own a car instead of rent.  Give them the option to buy with a parking space.

    I’m not a native Seattlite.  But I believe that people should have a choice.  If you don’t want to upzone the entire county means you need to move away is very narrow-minded.  Most of the comments I have seen here for “upzoning with no parking” says, “If you want to raise a family in a Single-Family Dwelling, then you no longer belong in Seattle.  Move out!  And if you have a car, you really don’t belong here!”  WOW, how sad.

    Again, I think responsible growth is the key and building without parking for those who need it is not responsible.  Perhaps rethink building with no parking.  Those who don’t need parking sign a contract they will not have a car and build for those who need a parking spot off of the street.  

    Responsible growth is key.  Remove the power from the developers to make a buck at all cost.  

    • Happy Camper May 11, 2018 (8:18 am)

      I’m seattle since ‘99 and I am with you on responsible growth and parking. I like raising a family in the city as I grew up very far from any city.

      I don’t think people that are for the upzones are anti family. And I don’t think people that are against them are anti density (I mean in the absolute).

      Many anti upzone folks on hear talk about existing capacity. If that capacity in those locations was in demand and therefore feasable as a profitable project people would already have invested in them.

      The trick is to strike the balance between project feasibility (location, cost, demand) and the impacts that brings to an area. People want to live in vibrant places like the Junction. Also, converting a single family home to say 7 row homes provides a good upside making it more likely that people will do it thereby increasing housing stock.

      • Kat May 11, 2018 (4:50 pm)

        I agree.  The issue is the developers are greedy and want to make the most so they want to eliminate parking.    I am all for responsible density/growth.  It has to happen.  The issue is the $$$ is getting in the way of the responsible part.

    • DH May 11, 2018 (8:33 am)

      I am not a native Seattleite. I’ve lived in the area almost 23 years and in WS for 18 years collectively. My work has nothing to do with development or real estate. I would actually profit more through my increasing home equity if we don’t add density. I don’t agree on the need for parking or the guidelines you are proposing. My house is literally on the edge of of one of the WS urban villages. I park in front of my house on the street, as do most of my neighbors. I have a driveway in the alley that is inconvenient which I don’t use. I own the driveway but not the street. Anyone has the right to park in front of my house. Why have unused parking spots in developments for those without cars when the people with cars can park on the street just like I do? If it gets crowded I can park in my driveway. If my family has too many cars for that maybe WE need fewer cars. How about a requirement that people living in SF houses can only have the number of cars they can park on their property? 

      As for the upzoning SF areas it’s only 6% of the area in the city. I actually think it should be more. 

    • lovews May 11, 2018 (10:50 am)

      There have actually been a lot more posts on HALA topics within the blog, I’m actually surprised there’s not more. 

      KAT -You mentioned – 

      Most of the comments I have seen here for “upzoning with no parking” says, “If you want to raise a family in a Single-Family Dwelling, then you no longer belong in Seattle.  Move out!  And if you have a car, you really don’t belong here!”  WOW, how sad.

      Could you tell me who said this in their comments? My comment was about kids but only saying you can raise kids anywhere, it’s not the location it’s the parenting. You seem quick to insult those who do not agree with you.

      • Kat May 11, 2018 (4:56 pm)

        I’m only commenting on the comments I’ve heard.  I think we all love W.S. and we all want to live here.  This for me is not a debate.  I want the city to grow and accommodate people who come here but not at the cost of making bad decisions regarding growth.  Again, responsible growth may be slower but more effective.  

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