VIDEO: See who said what @ City Council’s HALA upzoning hearing in West Seattle

Last night, we chronicled the City Council’s HALA Mandatory Housing Affordability upzoning public hearing in West Seattle as it happened – you can read toplines from all of the more than 50 speakers in that report here. This morning, our video of the 2+-hour hearing is ready to go, and we’re publishing it separately here since an unfixable technical glitch has cut off commenting on last night’s story.

In the video, you’ll see and hear city staffer Sara Maxana‘s presentation on toplines of the upzoning proposal, followed by each speaker stepping up to the microphone. City Councilmembers did not speak or vote – this was a chance purely for the public to speak. Four were present – District 1’s Lisa Herbold, citywide reps Lorena González (also a West Seattle resident) and Teresa Mosqueda, and Rob Johnson, who chairs the council’s land-use-related committees this year. No date is set yet for the council’s vote; the appeal of the HALA MHA Environmental Impact Statement filed by a citywide coalition of neighborhood groups is scheduled for hearings starting later this month.

15 Replies to "VIDEO: See who said what @ City Council's HALA upzoning hearing in West Seattle"

  • Kim M Frost June 6, 2018 (11:11 am)

    I live in West Seattle & fully support affordable housing. However do you really think developers are going to build affordable housing? Remember, there is an ‘OR’ in the proposal. Developers can pay a small fee or build affordable housing somewhere else. Why don’t we remove that ‘OR’ & require developers only build affordable housing? Rent control for 10-20yrs. See how many developers agree to that. It seems like this counsel is being bought by the developers if they support the current proposal. And what about the additional infrastructure needed to support the new housing?

    • Kram June 8, 2018 (12:25 pm)

      It’s not a ‘small fee’. You’re missing the fact that these buildings are $350-400 a square foot to build. HALA fees can be as high as $18 a square foot which is nearly a million dollars in a 50k building. If you continue to make the building more expensive the odds of them even getting built are high. Much less offer lower rents. Why doesn’t the city stop trying to build apartments themselves and expand the section 8 program. In otherwords, subsidize rents? We have lots of units of density going on-line this and the coming years already.

  • Dan June 6, 2018 (12:44 pm)

    I would be open to them paying a fee if that fee was spent in the same zip code or within 1 bordering zip code to ensure that affordable housing is put back into every neighborhood in Seattle.  Granted that the city is now in control of that money so a lot of it would be eaten up by administrators running the program.  Also a friend of mine who works at SDCI shared with me that they have seen designs come in that have affordable units in them but that the affordable units have a separate entrance from the high end folks, that seems pretty gross to me and I hope plans like that get sent back.

  • amplification June 6, 2018 (2:07 pm)

    I wish someone in the city adminisphere would get a clue that we are not building a little new york on the west coast – and that their job is to reflect and implement the preferences and priorities of the residents of Seattle.

    • DH June 6, 2018 (9:11 pm)

      Which Seattle residents though? I’m a Seattle resident and have been so for close to 20 years. I support HALA and think it isn’t going far enough. There are residents that agree with me and others that disagree. If the majority of voters put people on the council that support densityand zone changes aren’t they listening to the residents? Admittedly, some people are not allowed to legally vote and others chose not to but if the majority of voters support this approach then they are doing what we want. 

      • Happy Camper June 7, 2018 (7:31 am)

        Good point. Also, I think it’s important to acknowledge that growth isn’t a choice; it is basically inevitable.  The city will grow with or without a (plan). An attempt to address it may mitigate some of the effects of growth such as tree canopy, parking, etc. Some of the things that could use more love in this plan.

  • Happy Camper June 6, 2018 (2:09 pm)

    I was there and I agree with getting rid of the “OR”. However, I do see the logic in a dollar going further in a cheaper area but no “OR” is still my vote.I am in favor of the upzones and the proposed DADU changes and would be happy to build a DADU and rent out below market or more. I see it as a win/win. Say what you want but I smelled a lot of that word people don’t like being called that are against this. There were also a lot of people in favor. It was great to hear from both sides. I like what one man said; (paraphrasing) that MHA is far from perfect but it is a compromise and it will produce measurable results. However I also heard that (again paraphrasing) the neighborhoods have been working on housing for 20 years with their plan. And that the plan has never been to change single family zoning in urban villages. Do we need more proof that that plan might need a little tweaking?

    • CMT June 7, 2018 (10:36 pm)

      If by “that word people don’t like being called ” you mean “NIMBY,” oh please.  I was there too.   Sure, there was a smattering of folks that are wholly resistant to change.   But by and large, the people who were against the current proposal voiced legitimate, substantive concerns and the vast majority were advocating for MORE affordable housing within West Seattle Junction.   For sure, hardly anyone would be excited about poorly thought out, hulking, market rate, unnecessary development literally in their backyard as an ineffectual bandaid for the affordable housing crisis.  That in no way means they are unwilling to accept density and growth in their neighborhoods.   I think your sniffer is off in the case.

      • KM June 8, 2018 (1:41 pm)

        The current HALA proposal is not my preferred solution either, but I support it. We need more supply as part of addressing the housing crisis, and HALA will allow that. Trying to shut down the creation of more market-rate housing from those who are concerned about affordable housing is illogical, and because of that, I don’t trust it’s an honest concern of those who want to see HALA dead. Market rate housing is not “unnecessary development” it is part of a multi-faceted solution. With HALA, we still have plenty of work to do, but until we upzone the entire city, we have to take what we can get. Seattle will continue to remain progress-less (if that’s a word?) as long as we continue to fight against every solution we find imperfect.

  • Peter June 6, 2018 (5:05 pm)

    The problem with HALA is it’s taking baby steps towards meeting Seattle’s housing needs when we need to be sprinting. HALA doesn’t go nearly far enough, we need an extensive revision of Seattyle’s zoning and land use laws to allow denser housing construction in a lot more areas, otherwise we’ll just be playing catch up forever. 

    • Happy Camper June 6, 2018 (6:33 pm)

      I agree. They tried opening up more of the city but that went over like a lead balloon.Shouldve upzoned the urban villages when they were created but it was successfully shot down.

      • WSB June 6, 2018 (6:43 pm)

        Much local urban village acreage is already zoned for more than it holds – Junction to 85′ (95′ if MHA is finalized), etc.

      • Happy Camper June 7, 2018 (7:43 am)

        Very true. But existing zoned capacity and existing structures mixed with project feasibility, owners willingness/ability to develop etc are two different things. Only a certain amount of parcels in a certain area will be developed to current full capacity based on a ton of factors other than what the current maximum development potential is.

  • Mike June 7, 2018 (6:32 am)

    Ever wonder what our cities leadership believes are affordable housing prices for rent / income?

  • CMT June 9, 2018 (12:21 pm)

    “Seattle will continue to remain progress-less . . . as long as we continue to fight against every solution we find imperfect.”We disagree on two points.  First, a solution implies that the action being proposed actually has a net positive effect on the problem, which MHA will not.Second, I would characterize it as “fighting” but rather working to refine and improve proposals that cause more harm than they mitigate.

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