HALA upzoning, tunnel tolls, Avalon changes – all at once

We’ve told you about all three of these already – but since they’re happening pretty much simultaneously this Tuesday night (June 5), consider this a sort of two-night warning:

Tuesday slide deck by WestSeattleBlog on Scribd

HALA UPZONING, DISTRICT 1 PUBLIC HEARING: The Mandatory Housing Affordability proposal to upzone all commercial/multifamily-zoned property in the city, as well as parcels in “urban villages” (some of which would expand their boundaries) is moving toward a City Council vote later this year. The process includes public hearings outside City Hall, and Tuesday night is the one for District 1 (West Seattle/South Park), scheduled for 6 pm at Chief Sealth International High School (2600 SW Thistle). If you’ve got something to say about the upzoning proposal – for, against, or otherwise – this is the time and place to say it. You can get caught up in advance tomorrow (Monday) when the council, meeting as the Select Committee pondering the upzoning plan, discusses the District 1 proposal at 10:30 am at City Hall (live on Seattle Channel, of course). But for the public hearing, show up at the CSIHS Auditorium on Tuesday – here’s the agenda; the slide deck is above.

HIGHWAY 99 TUNNEL TOLLS, WEST SEATTLE PUBLIC HEARING: The last big decision before the Alaskan Way Viaduct makes way for the Highway 99 tunnel is: How much will the tolls be? The Washington State Transportation Commission gets to make the decision, but would first like to hear what you think. We previewed the proposed options when the West Seattle public hearing was announced. This too is Tuesday night, 5:30-6:30 pm informational “open house”; 6:30-8 pm, meeting for your feedback. It’s at High Point Community Center (6920 34th SW).

SW AVALON WAY RECHANNELIZATION/REPAVING: Two weeks ago, we brought you first word of the updated plan for rechannelizing and repaving SW Avalon Way – and a few blocks of 35th SW and SW Alaska just to the south – next year.

As with the early version of the plan a year earlier, it still takes away some parking on SW Avalon, and Luna Park businesses are girding for a fight. Whatever you think of the newest plan, Tuesday night is also when SDOT is coming to West Seattle to take comments and answer questions about it, 5:30-7:30 pm at the American Legion Post 160 hall (3618 SW Alaska).

15 Replies to "HALA upzoning, tunnel tolls, Avalon changes - all at once"

  • Steve June 4, 2018 (9:33 am)

    Why aren’t the urban village boundaries being expanded? It would be wonderful to eventually see all of California, 35th, and Delridge – and a few blocks east/west of these streets zoned for multifamily homes.

    • Happy Camper June 4, 2018 (3:51 pm)

      I agree that arterials make sense for increased density.

    • Brian June 4, 2018 (3:57 pm)

      It’s ridiculous. I live and own at the Junction and I’m in favor of increased density; I know from experience that it can be difficult to find a suitable place for a family to rent. The only change to my block and my neighboring block are the MHA requirements. I was under the impression the whole point was to require affordable units or the fee in exchange for upzones. Slapping those new requirements/fees without allowing a corresponding increase in density just makes it more expensive to upzone the remaining single-family homes. It’s counterproductive.

      • Jethro Marx June 4, 2018 (10:45 pm)

        I’m not sure what the whole point is, but certainly one can make money tearing down a house if zoning allows for even a few homes to be built on the same lot, MHA fees or not. The homes built will not be affordable either way, but maybe the point is to siphon off some of your profits and put them into this nebulous fund. Complain if you like about the city taking your profits, which they will then spend poorly, but arguing that they are hindering attempts to build what would otherwise be affordable housing is a bit circular. Have developers been trying to sell their projects below what the market will bear, up until now?

    • Stalin June 5, 2018 (8:29 am)

      Keep dreaming

  • Cranky June 4, 2018 (10:21 am)

    I will say that the Department of Neighborhoods did a very poor job with the coordination of these meetings.  They took the lead for outreach away from all departments so that overlaps and conflicts could be avoided.  And this is the result?  All are important, but I can’t help wonder how this happens, especially since the HALA public hearing date has been set for months.  

  • Monty June 4, 2018 (10:25 am)

    Go UP!!!!!

  • Kram June 4, 2018 (12:34 pm)

    Seattle makes that hard. The HALA fees will kill projects in ‘high cost areas’. A 50,000 s/f 7 story 65 unit apartment will be charged a fee of $18 a square foot. That’s nearly a million dollars. Project is now dead. Forgetting the building will most likely pay around a million dollars in sales tax to build it. Any of the buildings that do get built will simply have higher market rate rents to compensate make our problem worse. Good job city council.

    • Jethro Marx June 4, 2018 (10:54 pm)

      $18 a square foot? Can we get that as a percentage of profit per square foot? I’m going to throw out a crazy guess and say, 5%. I guess it’s enough to stop people from building though, since no one is making money in the real estate speculation game here. I guess we’re doomed to become a ghost town. Someone should give Jack a heads-up, though, what?

      • Kram June 5, 2018 (8:18 pm)

        Nobody thinks things will stop. Especially not people commenting on things they know nothing about. Things will though become more expensive which is my point. Your (wrong) guess of 5% gets passed down in higher rent. No ghost town here, only San Fransisco. If you think that’s a good thing then keep on posting passive aggressive comments that help nobody.

        • Jethro Marx June 6, 2018 (8:44 am)

          I don’t know much about building 50,000 square foot buildings, which is why I was throwing out crazy guesses and asking you for a more concise number, since you have intimated that you know something about it. Obviously housing will get more expensive, but that’s not because the city is hindering builders who would otherwise be committed to some kind of benevolent mission to provide affordable housing, it’s because demand continues to push housing costs higher. I do know that rents are not linked to cost of construction in the way that you suppose: an apartment built for profit is going to rent out for whatever the market will bear, whether it provides a 20% return on investment or 30%. I think it is helpful to provide an occasional counterpoint to piffle and poor logic. As to San Francisco, I’ve been to San Francisco, and Seattle is no San Francisco. I don’t think raising it as some horrific spectre of a failed city is going to help anyone, but hey, that’s just my ill-informed and passive aggressive opinion. At least it’s not also illogical. 

          • Kram June 6, 2018 (1:04 pm)

            You don’t know rents are not linked to construction costs. It’s not 100% but it’s a large factor considered. I work with developers everyday, I assure you it’s factored in.I’m glad you’ve been to San Francisco. Seattle’s median home price is now over 757k. 3 years ago it 535k. San Francisco median home price is 1.4 mil and we are treading to be over a million in the coming years. Seattle is not San Francisco yet but it’s making a lot of the same mistakes and treading in that direction fast with housing costs.Your ‘point’ is that the city’s fees, taxes, street restoration, SDOT and SCL costs have no effect on higher rents and I assure you with every essence of my being that you are as wrong. It’s not 100% of the reason but it’s a large one. You don’t just absorb millions of dollars without passing it down. I’m confident we can all agree that the city imposing more fees on buildings doesn’t make rent go down. The more units that come online the more likely it will be rents at least hold.

  • Mark Schletty June 4, 2018 (12:45 pm)

    So the City Council, SDOT and WDOT all schedule high interest public hearings at the same time on the same day. I don’t care what any stated reason for this might be, it is the most clear demonstration yet that none of those entities really want, or care about, citizen input. Probably can’t do much about WDOT, but the City leadership desperately needs to be changed. 

  • NativeToSeattle June 4, 2018 (10:15 pm)

    Can anyone interpret the yellow areas on the map that are not outlined in black? (slide 7 in the MHA slide deck)  I looked at the minutes for the meeting and all the maps for specific rezone areas, and those excluded from rezone.  I don’t think I can make the MHA meeting tomorrow night, but if anyone does make it and hears what those yellow areas represent please let us know.

    • WSB June 4, 2018 (10:24 pm)

      Those are the commercial/multifamily areas outside urban villages, which as noted are also all proposed for upzoning. – TR

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