VIDEO: HALA MHA upzoning amendment votes and how Councilmember Herbold’s proposals fared

For the second time in five days, the City Council had a four-hour-plus meeting on the HALA Mandatory Housing Affordability upzoning plan. Above is Seattle Channel video of the Monday afternoon/evening meeting, mostly devoted to considering dozens of potential amendments to the plan proposed by individual councilmembers. We were unable to monitor the entire hearing this time around so we checked with West Seattle/South Park Councilmember Lisa Herbold‘s office today to see how her proposed amendments fared. The ones that were approved, according to legislative assistant Alex Clardy, moving forward to the final HALA MHA vote next month, are, in brief:

*1-2, 1-3, 1-4, 1-5, 1-6 all relate to “reduc(ing) … proposed rezones from Single Family within the West Seattle Junction Urban Village to Residential Small Lot.”

*1-12 and 1-13 both involve removing the Pedestrian zone designation for two stretches of California SW in Morgan Junction

*B-4 – not West Seattle-specific:

The proposed amendment would allow off-site performance if a development to which MHA-R requirements apply is located in a lowrise zone, and the development containing the off-site performance housing a) is located in a lowrise zone, b) provides re-sale restricted, affordable homeownership opportunities for income-eligible buyers, and c) receives no public subsidy.

*B-6 – also not West Seattle-specific, meant in case someone sues over MHA once it’s passed:

This amendment would add a new section to CB 119444 expressing Council’s intent to take steps, if the imposition of requirements under MHA are determined to be unlawful, to prevent the continuance of the new zoning and increased development capacity in the absence of substantial affordable housing requirements.

*B-7, explained as:

This amendment would require that at least five percent of revenue from the Mandatory Housing Affordability – Commercial (MHA – C) and Mandatory Housing Affordability – Residential (MHA – R) programs be allocated for capital investment in homeownership projects.

Under the current framework cash contributions from the payment option may be used for either rental or ownership housing. However, the framework does not prescribe a minimum allocation for either type of project.

*Comprehensive Plan amendment D-2 – related to Morgan Junction – “encourage(s) a mix of housing stock” and:

MJ-P23.1 Use community engagement and neighborhood planning tools to identify potential solutions for land use and housing affordability issues when more than 25 percent of the urban village could be affected by proposed zoning changes. Consider community planning to address land use, housing and other issues if the growth rate in the urban village accelerates to become significantly higher than anticipated in the Comprehensive Plan.

The documents with full details are linked from Monday’s agenda. Nothing’s final until the full Council vote, currently scheduled during the council’s regular 2 pm meeting on (corrected) March 18 – you can watch this page for the agenda when it gets close.

36 Replies to "VIDEO: HALA MHA upzoning amendment votes and how Councilmember Herbold's proposals fared"

  • Peter February 26, 2019 (4:21 pm)

    Well, Herbold has successfully minimized the amount of housing West Seattle will get out of HALA. I’m very much looking forward to voting her out of office. 

    • chemist February 26, 2019 (10:30 pm)

      Herbold signed off on an upzone and committed the area to MHA, while also committing to bringing before the council larger upzones more targeted to where the light rail stations end up.  Current ideas for the junction have stations 7 blocks away from potential sites.  Do you want to have the northgate 240 ft height tower zoning on the whole 7+ block swath?

    • The King February 27, 2019 (8:12 am)

      Look around, it seems like electrical transformers are blowing every week in our neck of the woods. Our old wires on the wood poles are already maxed out. More buildings full of rat box apartments will make it worse. The temperatures drop and up go thermostats, transformer blows. Real simple. 

  • CMT February 26, 2019 (4:56 pm)

    I’m really pleased for the residents West Seattle.

  • KM February 26, 2019 (5:08 pm)

    Well, at least only some of her downzones passed (in an area served well by transit, naturally).Re: 1-12 and 1-13. Why request a pedestrian zone removal in existing NC zones? Are specific property owners on these blocks requesting more access for driveways? Avoiding waivers to parking requirements? I’d like to hear the intent on these two items.

    • chemist February 27, 2019 (3:36 pm)

      It looks like the MHA rezone was adding height and the pedestrian zone to what didn’t have a pedestrian zone designated.  I didn’t find a current list of what pedestrian zone entails, but I found this discussion of changing the rules for the pedestrian zone.  Maybe they didn’t want to prohibit drive-through businesses or driveways crossing the sidewalk on california from holly to raymond. 

  • Also John February 26, 2019 (5:15 pm)

    From what I understand my lot will no longer be turned into having 6 units at 35 feet tall.  If so……thank you Lisa.

  • DBCoop February 26, 2019 (5:19 pm)

    I’m guessing you don’t even live in west seattle. Just another mouth piece for the building and real estate industry. I’m glad Lisa is standing up to the worst urna plan to ever hit the city of seattle. Why not develop the entire SODO district with high rise residential first? Instead HALA is hell bent on ruining the neighborhoods that make up our beautiful city. Why do people move here, say how much they love Seattle, then seek to destroy everything that the city of Seattle stands for? 

    • AMD February 26, 2019 (8:43 pm)

      100 years ago, there were just a couple hundred people total on the peninsula, no West Seattle Bridge, no Water Taxi, and no storage unit businesses for you to cheer on.  I’m guessing you are happy that the “building and real estate industr[ies]” were around to accommodate your eventual presence here.  Times change.  West Seattle survived your arrival and you’ll survive the arrival of your new neighbors.  They’re not going to “destroy” the neighborhood any more than you did.  So calm down.

  • WSJ February 26, 2019 (6:04 pm)

    Thank you Lisa Herbold – the amendments you supported that passed made perfect sense, and will mean that many of my neighbors will be able to stay in their rental homes, which otherwise would be sold to developers and razed for multi-family units.

  • Graciano February 26, 2019 (6:22 pm)

    If you want affordable housing…, Stop voting Yes to all the levies . 

    • Chuck February 26, 2019 (10:20 pm)

      Nice thought, that. But you might as well try to boil the ocean. Seattle loves itself some levies. Can’t for the life of me explain it. It just is. 

  • CAM February 26, 2019 (8:22 pm)

    So a minority of WS residents have successfully lobbied to have their single family home neighborhoods protected. Based solely on screen names and comments on articles on the WSB, those are the same parties who insist that light rail will “destroy” the Junction or their single family neighborhoods. So what’s the point of this? You aren’t going to like what’s going to happen in the next 10 years no matter what. So what’s going to happen? You’re going to sell your single family homes to a developer and move to different single family neighborhoods. Because no individual is going  to be able to afford your single  family home at that point. So then those developers are going to leave those homes  vacant for long periods  until they can get the zoning changed to accommodate what people can actually afford there. So essentially you have lobbied to screw over all of your neighbors who do want to live in the WS of the future. Because that WS is coming no matter how much you rage against it. So thank you for making my future home less livable after you sell out and leave because you can’t stop the passage of time. 

    • Marietta February 26, 2019 (8:37 pm)

      I know- my daughters dramatic, too..

    • WSJ February 26, 2019 (9:25 pm)

      Sorry, but I believe this is a ridiculous comment.

    • CMT February 26, 2019 (9:35 pm)

      I respectfully disagree that Councilmember Herbold’s amendment was based on a minority view of WS residents.   Very few people in WS fail to recognize that change is necessary and inevitable.  The vast majority  support light rail (although those whose homes will be directly and negatively impacted may be an understandable exception).  That people prefer that such change be balanced and, where possible, avoid unnecessary negative impacts does not make them selfish or short-sighted.    

      • CAM February 27, 2019 (12:05 am)

        I believe we encounter this same question every time a HALA article is posted. And each time I ask the question how you know that the neighborhood organizations are not made up of a minority of the neighborhood total residents. The regular attendance and membership of those groups is relatively modest in comparison to the actual total population of each neighborhood. They also did not survey the public to find out what they think. They went with what the majority of attendees at those meetings wanted. That in essence makes it a viewpoint that is only representative of a minority of the population. That appeal and these amendments would make a ton more sense if anyone could establish that they were at all wanted by the majority of the residents of those urban villages. I’d also like to point out that anyone who supports this really shouldn’t complain about their property taxes anymore. You want your property taxes to stop skyrocketing? Build more housing so the value of your home stops increasing so dramatically every year. 

        • CMT February 27, 2019 (11:53 am)

          My comments are not based on speaking to a small bubble of like-minded people and they are not based upon what people at neighborhood group meetings advocated.For starters, I undertook a comprehensive public records search of every single piece of written feedback submitted to the City by any identified West Seattle resident in response to the MHA proposal, including, but not limited to, the City’s hala.consider. it website, the City’s MHA comment email address, every written comment submitted at every City open house and every self-described HALA-meetup held by the City in District 1.  I had a transcript prepared of every single one of the City’s HALA/MHA presentations in District 1 for which there was a recording and cataloged all of the comments made by audience members.   The above, along with the supporting documents, is part of the public record in JuNO’s comment to the MHA EIS.In addition, I stood at the Farmer’s Market to make people aware of MHA and heard what every passerby cared to share about it.  I spoke to Junction business owners as well.I lived in West Seattle for 15 years, until recently my spouse had a business in West Seattle and my child goes to school in West Seattle.  I have talked to literally hundreds of people in West Seattle of varied backgrounds and I can count on one, maybe two hands the support for MHA as proposed.  That is the basis for my statements.  

          • CMT February 27, 2019 (1:11 pm)

            In fact, I make it a practice not to make unsupported statements.

        • NH February 28, 2019 (6:13 am)

          CAM, the upzone is going to increase my property tax, because the land is worth more based on development potential. Upzones don’t lower property taxes. Your argument there is nonsensical.I wonder how many of the most vocal supporters are within the upzone, actually affected by it?

    • WW Resident February 27, 2019 (6:42 am)

      I would love to sale my big lot to a developer for a stupid amount of money and get out of Seattle 

      • Halayes February 27, 2019 (7:13 am)

        Lol, I actually know a few who are doing just that, even at rsl zoning. 

  • Halayes February 26, 2019 (8:41 pm)

    Right on CAM, watch out though someone from scale in this thread is going to pounce all over your comment! Hopefully once they find out where st3 will be they will do more than rsl, but yeah, what you said. 

  • WestSeattleForAll February 26, 2019 (9:23 pm)

    Lisa Herbold does not represent the majority of West Seattle, and should not be re-elected.Herbold is an advocate for an affluent white West Seattle. and is most concerned with keeping her big donors in single family homes happy.At a time when she had the oppurtumity to make positive social impact, she introduced amendments that watered down a progressive bill.

    • CMT February 26, 2019 (9:54 pm)

      Or maybe she isn’t funded by developers like groups such as Seattle for Everyone that masquerade as social justice advocates but are really driven by the desire to profit from the upzone opportunities.  Perhaps the biggest thing I learned from MHA is to look behind the name of an organization to see who is funding the agenda and benefits from proposed legislation.  And one does not have to look very far to find out that MHA from its inception had  little to do with affordability or equity.

      • Halayes February 27, 2019 (4:48 am)

        As I mentioned earlier, different view than scale? Hard to express it here without a scale member saying you’re wrong, or that you do not understand the facts. cmt, there’s a lot of people that dont agree with you or neighborhood groups…who do support the minority.  Westseattleforall is spot on. Its rsl, for now. It’s the first step of more change to come. When st3 is decided in June, there will be more upzoning for mha for 7 blocks of homes. 

        • CMT February 27, 2019 (11:38 am)

          HALAYES – We are all expressing our differing viewpoints but I would point out that you are the only one labeling people as “right” or “wrong.”  I admit I do have a strong viewpoint informed by 2 years of involvement in trying to get a better plan for West Seattle than what was being quietly forced through.  It’s not something that I sought out but rather was compelled to do based on what I found to be a corrupt and harmful plan.  I am no longer directly impacted by the proposal in any event but still want the best for West Seattle.  

      • Mike February 27, 2019 (6:29 am)

        Then theres the fraud that follows these groups and people in charge of affordable housing  Since that story came out, there’s been a massive dive into fraud committed by buyers of these affordable units.  Now there are a bunch being put back up for sale and the people that committed fraud not only won’t profit, but might be fined or spend time in jail for fraud.  Many affordable units are not there as a means to profit from, any market value gained is supposed to go back into the system to help fund more affordable housing, not the bank account of a buyer.  There are a few affordable units down the street from me, they have a really nice $50k SUV in front of it.

      • KM February 27, 2019 (8:01 am)

        Of course people will profit off of this, that’s not a secret. Single family home owners have profited off their purchase in many circumstances (I am one). They will continue to profit off of this if they were upzoned as their lot just became a lot more valuable. Villianizing people who profit off of modern, new, apartments while ignoring the profit made by many older home owners and builders is disingenuous at best. Unless we want developers to become charities or builders to be volunteers, people will make money building housing, for better or worse. I also have concerns about how much affordable housing will be created with MHA, it’s a very small part of the city’s land. I hope to see candidates for city council who push to upzone the entire city with mandatory inclusionary zoning.

        • CMT February 27, 2019 (1:17 pm)

          That is a “shape-shift” from the original concept being discussed.  Obviously, people will profit.  That is not in itself bad.  The negative aspect of MHA is that its inception, formation and lobbying efforts were and are largely developer and profit-funded but  being presented to the public as based upon equitable and social justice principles.  This is vastly different than a private homeowner purchasing a home and ultimately profiting from market increase.

    • Nope February 27, 2019 (9:14 am)

      Herbold is an advocate for affluent white west seattle home owners? Haha, not according to election results. She got trounced by Shannon Braddock in the more affluent areas of west seattle, but she won delridge south park etc to get elected.

    • Mickymse February 27, 2019 (11:48 am)

      @WESTSEATTLEFORALL‘s comment has got to be one of the funnier responses I have read here recently… As an elected official, Herbold quite literally represents a majority of voters, and she’s been supported by groups with non-citizens. So, are you concerned about kids who oppose her? And the constant complaint about her tenure as our City Councilmember is that she is “too progressive,” or “hates small businesses,” or “cares more about lazy homeless people than homeowners.” Suggesting that Herbold is “an advocate for affluent white people” is about as wildly incorrect as you could get.

  • WS Guy February 26, 2019 (10:31 pm)

    Lisa did something sensible for her city, her district, and her neighbors.  Thank you Lisa!

  • PatsFan February 26, 2019 (11:14 pm)

    Really wonder why people are so eager to strip mine the beautiful neighborhoods Seattle has developed in favor of tall, ugly McBoxes that – when the inevitable downturn in the real estate market hits – no one will want and everyone will be looking to move up to that SFR house only to find – they don’t exist!  Even in the 5 years I’ve been here, the walk down California Avenue feels darker every day – sunlight coming in only through cross-street Manhattan-esque slats.  I’ve yet to think “yeah, we needed that Dominos” and that the blocks of 7-story apartments was a big improvement over the fruit market on Fauntleroy.  Sorry folks, you’re being played by an insatiable development industry that is feeding on the fears of never being able to afford your own place.  Cycles happen.  Everywhere.  Inevitably.  

    • HappyCamper February 27, 2019 (8:57 am)

      Yes cycles do happen but always trend upward. Even when prices go down they don’t go below where they started before a “bubble”. In the future a zoomed out perspective of this moment will show a millisecond blip over a 100 year trend and a missed opportunity will be glaring.Houses aren’t going to return to the prices they were 20 yrs ago ever. People are still moving to Manhattan and Tokyo. Putting our heads in the sand will do nothing but make the problem worse. The rules of supply and demand will always prevail.

  • Rico February 27, 2019 (10:02 am)

    We are entitled to our opinions, but not entitled to our facts.  We should understand who, besides the few who receive the “affordable” housing, benefit from the push to Upzone.   We should understand who is funding the developments and who is building these developments.   (Hint, generally not a mom and pop local builder.)   If you are a REIT or large scale developer, or Wall Street benefiting from HALA / Upzones, these developments are a home run and another big subsidy for the 1% who can now charge rent rates of $50 per sq ft (annualized) on new build / low maintenance properties, in buildings that lack what were once basic amenities. (kitchen, bedroom, parking)If you have lived in the city of Seattle for more than a 5 years, you  realize the  infrastructure costs for schools, roads, police, etc will be passed on to the existing middle class.  You realize how strained city services have become.   HALA / Upzoning:  Creates a larger transient population of people who are not invested in their neighborhoodsand increases density which increases in crime, commute times, cost of living, taxes, and reduction in parking, and puts additional strain on city facilities like police, transportation, parks, etc   However, increased density results in  voters who dramatically lean a certain way, and thus may be the primary reason these initiatives are favored by City leadership  – guaranteed party reelection. The Upzoning  / HALA favors certain segments of the population at the expense of other types of housing, including those needing or preferring a yard, garage, privacy, and entry level single family homes who intend to stay long term in the neighborhood. Upzoning  / HALA results in the destruction of the character and personality of many neighborhoods and replacing them cheap stacked boxes shoe-horned into small lots where the City waves the typical environmental and off-set requirements of single family housing.  Often the first level is retail, occupied by national chains who have “bankable” leases.On a per sq ft basis (the real measurement of affordability) HALA substantially increases the cost of housing.   For example, in WS there are 225 sq ft apodments  with no kitchen or bedroom or parking,  renting for $50 per square ft, which is outrageous.   This is about profitability not affordability.   Bottom line.  You can’t make housing more affordable by making it more expensive, unless you decrease the items typically associated with quality of life  . . . IMO, we have been duped.  HALA / Upzone laws read like they were written by lobbyists for large scale developers

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