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HAPPENING NOW: Last major hearing on HALA Mandatory Housing Affordability upzoning

5:38 PM: Click into that stream and you’ll be watching the event we’re at City Hall to cover – the City Council’s last big public hearing before its vote next month on HALA Mandatory Housing Affordability upzoning. (You can follow along with the agenda, and its relevant materials, here.) It’s been eight months since the council’s hearing in West Seattle; this one is for the entire city, and the chambers are full – with five of the 9 councilmembers here (Lorena González is chairing in the absence of vacationing committee chair Rob Johnson; also here are Lisa Herbold, Debora Juarez, Teresa Mosqueda, Kshama Sawant). We’ll be chronicling highlights as they happen.

First to speak is a representative from the SEIU. “Middle- and low-income workers will continue to be priced out of the city” if there’s not more housing stock, she says, expressing support for HALA MHA.

Second is also a HALA MHA supporter who says the process has taken too long. “Working families are struggling,” she says. “… More people need housing, and this is the chance to mitigate that need.”

Third and fourth are two members of 350 Seattle’s “housing team.” They say “housing is a climate issue” and express relief that “MHA is so close to the finish line.” They express opposition to some proposed amendments including the ones that would reduce the level of upzoning in some areas (including part of West Seattle).

Fifth is another MHA supporter who says, “We’ve been working on getting to the Grand Bargain [with developers] since the Nickels administration.” (That former mayor left office in 2009.)

Sixth, a representative of the city Planning Commission, in favor of MHA, who says they’re excited about its potential to “distribute more development capacity” to neighborhoods that could use it.

Seventh, the first opponent to speak, who says “tech bros” who are “strip-mining the city” and “venture capitalists” among others will continue to “pour in” and redevelop the city. She says that she and her husband feel they are being “pushed out of Seattle” so it’s “time to leave.” She draws a smattering of boos.

Eighth, an opponent who calls MHA “fundamentally flawed.” She also says she supports Councilmember Herbold’s anti-displacement proposal (announced yesterday). She wants to see neighborhood planning restored.

6 PM: Ninth, a speaker who says that MHA will lead to more displacement. So she wants the 23rd/Jackson urban village to not be upzoned. She specifically appeals to CM Sawant, saying her district, 3, has had “sacrificial lambs” already displaced. She draws strong applause (we should note that the pro-MHA speakers had drawn some applause too).

Tenth, a man who says that the City Council shouldn’t be voting on March 18th because the city had published a notice saying the comment period is open until March 29th. He also mentions something that former Mayor Ed Murray had said regarding MHA having to be inclusionary, but, the speaker says, it’s exclusionary.

11th, representatives of a preservation group on Beacon Hill. (We should also note, a sixth councilmember is now here, Sally Bagshaw.) They are advocating specifically for that focus.

12th, a woman who says “there is no livability or affordability in HALA.” She says MHA would provide “pseudo-crumbs” of affordable housing, and calls the “last-minute amendments” just bones thrown to constituents by councilmembers who want to be re-elected. She says it’s “false” to claim that “we can build our way out of” the housing crisis.

13th, a Wallingford resident who says “we are a neighborhood, not a housing-production zone.” He says HALA MHA “does nothing for first-time home buyers” and contends it will do “more harm than good,” saying that the city expects current residents to “get out,” calling that effect “the new redlining.”

14th, a Central Area resident who calls HALA MHA “fundamentally flawed.” But she also advocates for amending it, and adds “leave South Park … alone.” She is the first to mention a concern for tree canopy. She says it will produce only a “small amount of affordable housing.”

15th, an opponent who criticizes MHA’s option for developers/builders to pay a fee to have affordable housing built somewhere else. She voices concern about displacement.

16th, a person describing herself as a “climate activist” and saying she’s concerned about the city’s trees and the potential loss of what they do. “When you cut down trees, you have more heat islands, and people are going to die.” She voices appreciation for an amendment that addresses the tree situation, as well as for Herbold’s anti-displacement proposal.

17th is West Seattle’s Deb Barker who begins, “you’re going to hear from a lot of paid speakers tonight … I’m not one of them.” She mentions having been part of the coalition that appealed the HALA MHA EIS, because of opposition to a “one size fits all” for the proposal. She also mentions that Morgan Junction – where she leads the community council – is strongly interested in neighborhood planning.

18th, also from West Seattle, is Cindi Barker, who suggests the city should have noticed a variety of red flags along the way. She also supports Herbold’s anti-displacement proposal. She also voiced concern about a last-minute change in some of the zoning proposals.

19th speaker says MHA is actually a “small step” and she hopes to see more in the future. She says she’s an immigrant and a tech worker – saying she doesn’t always feel welcome (referring to an earlier opposition speaker who used the term “tech trash”). She says “a lot of people are here because” they couldn’t get off work early enough to sign up to speak. (Signups started at 5 pm.)

20th speaker is a Madison resident who says she had been involved with the appeal coalition and says it’s unfortunate that some believe this will make more neighborhoods accessible. She says developers will instead be building to the highest market rate they can because of the fees they will have to pay to create affordable housing elsewhere.

21st speaker is a North Seattle resident who supports MHA and wants to see more homes and “more diverse homes,” seeing it as a “once in a generation opportunity.” Without HALA MHA upzoning, she says, the city will become a “de-facto gated community” full of houses worth $1 million or more.

22nd speaker, Natalie Williams of West Seattle, who says it’s important to change HALA MHA to require developers to build affordable housing on site.

23rd speaker says “MHA is flawed and doesn’t meet the SEPA requirements.” He also says he supports “the strongest possible displacement legislation” and criticizes MHA for creating very little affordable housing.

6:30 PM: 24th speaker is a group who said they’re from the Sierra Club. The first speaker of the group said she is a homeowner who supports MHA. “Having more housing and more housing types …. will make it easier for more neighbors to move in.” Another group speaker elaborates on the stated contention that density is pro-environment. In conclusion, they ‘support the most robust” version of the legislation.

25th speaker – González has just announced 140 people are signed up – is a Queen Anne resident who says priorities should include impact fees, infrastructure, and “includ(ing) community councils in neighborhood planning.” She says a proposed 75-foot-high development near her is “completely out of character” with the neighborhood. The “suppression of neighborhood voices …is a gift to developers,” she says.

26th speaker is the notorious Alex Tsimerman (who is running for City Council). He looks at people in the audience and says they look “happy” but should “wake up” and “stand up.”

27th speaker is from Seattle-King County Realtors and urges “swift” action to approve HALA MHA because more housing is needed. He offers a history lesson in growth decisions made a quarter-century ago but “from the beginning we failed to be realistic about the supply of housing we needed” in urban areas. “Your work on MHA is critical … it’ll help.”

28th speaker is from North Capitol Hill and wants a vote against an amendment that he says would increase zoning in a part of Eastlake.

29th speaker is concerned about threats to historic resources in Wallingford.

30th speaker says he’s representing his family’s rental business on Aurora and is concerned about a zoning change in that area, which he says is significantly affected by pollution from trucks already. The street can’t support thousands more apartments – it has narrow sidewalks and will be a “pedestrian nightmare,” he says.

31st speaker says she’s an “enthusiastic yes (for) MHA” and is also from an affordable-housing provider that benefits from city funding. Her organization has “shovel-ready projects” that are being delayed because of a lack of funding.

32nd speaker is a group, Friends of Ravenna-Cowen, voicing support of two proposed amendments that remove historic districts from rezone areas. He says they worked exhaustively to create a historic district that includes more than 400 houses built early in the 20th century. The district is “a legacy for all” and while they understand the need for affordable housing, they don’t believe the district’s historical integrity should be damaged or destroyed.

33rd speaker says she lives in a 720-square-foot house on a 4,000-square-foot lot in a neighborhood with no sidewalks. She says she wants to create an additional housing unit on her lot. She supports an amendment that would make her block RSL instead of LR1 – upzoned, but to a lesser degree.

34th speaker is an MHA supporter who tells stories about a friend who said he’d be moving out because he can’t afford to own a house here – rent is so high that he can’t save to buy one – and about other friends who are having difficulty affording housing. “The status quo is causing displacement. This legislation is needed. … Please pass this legislation and go as big as you can.”

35th speaker is a Crown Hill resident who recounts comments in the process and support for Councilmember Mike O’Brien’s RSL amendments. “Come visit us,” she concludes.

7:03 PM: 36th speaker says he’s representing an organization that’s part of the advocacy group Seattle For Everyone. He says the area needs a lot of new housing and MHA will help it get there. “The laws of supply and demand apply to housing,” and people will want to move here no matter what, so if there isn’t more housing, prices will continue going up, he says.
37th speaker is a Wallingford resident who urges approval as soon as possible because he believes the “Seattle process” has already dragged it out too long.

38th speaker is a group wearing T-shirts declaring that they are Architects for Affordable Housing. One representative says single-family zoning is “irresponsible” and “ignore(s) the housing crisis.” She is against some of the proposed amendments, as is the next person; another group member talks about a small business facing displacement and says that’s the result of past bad land-use decisions.

39th speaker says that she’s a “Seattle lifer” who urges the council to pass MHA because tens of thousands of workers are moving here every year and need housing. “On behalf of the labor movement, we welcome all workers to our city,” she concludes.

40th speaker is another Crown Hill resident supporting the aforementioned O’Brien amendments, including zoning some areas RSL instead of Lowrise.

41st speaker says he is a new homeowner in District 1 but he’s against Herbold’s amendments. He says nothing gives him the right to “deny housing” to others. “There are more people who want to live in my neighborhood than there is housing for them. … We cannot build a wall around the incredible neighborhoods that make up the city.”

42nd speaker is Doug from West Seattle, saying he is representing Friends of Dakota Place Park. “We all want the city to be better … but we have to have parks …and as our city becomes more dense, we need parks.” He says Dakota Place Park, despite being landmarked, isn’t addressed at all, it’s just “a dot on the map” and so he wants to see more work to protect the area around parks like that.

43rd speaker says he’s from the “41st SW Truncated Lot Association,” drawing some laughter. He is not in favor of the amendments “reducing the upzones” and notes that he and most of his neighbors “want to redevelop someday”; he also says he enjoys the fact that so many people are moving here.

44th speaker voices specific concern about a mentioned-earlier amendment that would upzone part of Eastlake to midrise. She says it will encourage demolition. She also voices concern about “the noise and safety issue.”

45th speaker talks about herons breeding in Discovery Park and voices concerns including construction noise that can scare the birds.

46th speaker is a U-District resident who said he’s a “tech worker who makes $19/hour.” He said he came here to live more sustainably and to get a job. The shortage of affordable housing makes it hard for him to do more than to be “holding on.” He supports the “strongest form” of MHA.

47th speaker said that restricting the ability to build housing in some areas is closing them off to some people, while she believes “all parts of the city should be open to everyone.” She also expressed concern about creating a “risky environment …for affordable-housing developrs.”

48th speaker described herself as a supporter of affordable housing but an opponent of MHA. She said studies show that increased density does not necessarily increase affordable housing. She brings up the topic of affordable business rent and says that many businesses and artists have moved into affordable rental housing. “You can’t have a band practice in a microapartment.”

7:39 PM: 49th speaker says he supports tree and anti-displacement amendments and is concerned about trees not being protected from removal during development. He singles out “exceptional trees” and laments that they are not protected. “This is an urban tree sacrifice zone bill,” he concludes.

50th speaker, a Wallingford resident who says the upzones are not needed because “there’s plenty of capacity” to develop already. He says MHA is happening because the “super-rich” are investing in real estate. “You’re basically saying, we need to get rid of families, they’re bad … Why are you intending to get rid of families? Why are you intending to de-forest the city?”

51st speaker is Port Commissioner Stephanie Bowman who says she is a resident of Beacon Hill, where the upzoning proposal is a “blunt instrument” that will be wrong for the area.

52nd speaker says that Seattle is “facing an ever-increasing battle between the haves and the have-nots” and is concerned about possible reductions in the upzone proposals. She says she is a renter living in Wallingford and doesn’t feel like its community council represents her.

53rd speaker says she came here ready to give full support to MHA but was swayed by an earlier speaker who voiced concerns about its effects on the Central Area.

54th speaker wants to focus on the “last word in the MHA title, affordability,” and is concerned that upzoning single-family properties will increase their property taxes. “As soon as developers start buying into a neighborhood,” property values and taxes will increase, he says, which makes it a “land grab by the city, and developers waiting to swoop in and purchase … properties.”

55th speaker describes himself as a housing case manager for a nonprofit and says the city needs a lot more affordable housing. He says it’s tough to do his job because no matter how well he or his clients know the system, there is simply not enough housing – “we need more.”

56th speaker, a “longtime Capitol Hill resident,” observes that wealthier neighborhoods “are not impacted by this legislation.” She believes HALA MHA will raise the risk of displacement in the Madison-Miller Urban Village.

57th speaker, from Wallingford, talks about historic sites that were “once threatened by developers until the city of Seattle demanded that they be protected for the future.” She repeats a concern others voiced about HALA MHA being a “one size fits all” plan. She calls for more neighborhood-focused planning.

58th speaker, a renter from Madison Valley, says he supports passing MHA in its “strongest form.” He adds, “Zoning is a generational issue” and says that having a majority of the city zoned single-family is an issue that affects younger people more. After passing MHA, the city needs to examine zoning laws, he suggests.

59th speaker, a District 4 resident, voiced support for changing some proposed Lowrise areas to Residential Small Lot. She says that “effective neighborhood planning” would have put this process in a better place.

8:02 PM: 60th speaker wonders, “could we actually build more housing if there were upzones?” and suggests “it’s not a zoning problem.” He moves on to comment on the amendments and says the tree issue should have been “a hearing all its own.”

61st speaker says he supports passing MHA “as soon as possible” but opposes the amendments for districts 1, 2, 4, and 6, calling them a “last-minute attempt to water (MHA) down.”

Southwest Seattle Historical Society to meet with new owners of ‘stone house’ in hopes of moving it

(WSB photos)

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Will the stone house join the Log House (Museum) under the Southwest Seattle Historical Society‘s wing?

SWSHS leaders tell WSB they are grateful that the new owners of the well-known little stone-covered house at 1123 Harbor Avenue SW have agreed to meet with them. They aren’t seeking to get in the way of whatever the new owners – who just bought the site and two adjacent lots last week – have planned. They just want to obtain the house itself and move it someplace new, potentially to use as an interpretive center.

We talked this afternoon outside the 90-year-old house with SWSHS president Kathy Blackwell and longtime local preservationist John Bennett.

They shared the letter they sent to the new owners, who, they say, subsequently agreed to a meeting next Monday.

You might not be aware of all the backstory behind the little stone-studded house across from Don Armeni Boat Ramp. To catch up, see this Seattle Post-Intelligencer story from 2002. Even then, the owner of the house – a member of the family who built it with scavenged materials – was in her 70s and told the newspaper that developers had been making them offers for at least 15 years.

SWSHS had talked to the family in the past, too, as the 2002 story alludes to. Bennett says the family had expressed interest in donating the little stone house if they ever sold the property, but nothing was in writing. So now they’re looking forward to talking with the new owners, Chainqui Development, whose expressed values indicate this should be in perfect alignment. No development proposal is on file yet for the site – which also includes the two parcels immediately west – but the new owners have obtained a permit for exterior work on the stone house, including its windows, some of which are already boarded up:

Where the house would be moved, SWSHS hasn’t determined yet, but the sale of the site has them determined to obtain it first, settle on a site later. Wherever it winds up, the goal would be for it to be accessible to the public. (This wouldn’t be the first [corrected] moved house in the SWSHS fold – its headquarters at 61st/Stevens, the Log House Museum, was originally the carriage house for the Alki Homestead a short distance north.)

“We have a real opportunity here to preserve part of the special story of West Seattle,” says Blackwell – the story of its mostly-gone beach cottages, via what’s unquestionably the most distinctive of those that remain.

THINK SUMMER: Application time for prospective vendors, activities at Alki, Lincoln Park

That photo provided by Seattle Parks shows one of the vendors that’s had a concession contract at Alki Beach Park in past summers. If you’re interested in vending – or providing an activity (fitness, for example), there or at Lincoln Park (among other possible spots at parks around the city), it’s time to apply. Here’s the announcement we received:

Seattle Parks and Recreation is seeking proposals for seasonal partners to operate food service, recreational activities and group concessions in various park locations throughout Seattle. Locations vary with sites appropriate for carts, food trucks or self-contained service business. Seasonal concessions enhance and activate parks by aligning with SPR’s values “healthy people, healthy environment, strong communities”. Proposals are due by March 8th.

Past seasonal concessions in West Seattle include food sales at Alki Beach Park and Lincoln Park and SUP/Kayak vending at Alki Beach.

SPR is also accepting ongoing applications for Activity groups who operate in the parks (fitness boot camps, outdoor nature classes, yoga).

Commercial activity in the park requires a permit and all businesses submit insurance, City of Seattle business license and undergo staff background checks. More information and permitting requirements are found at: seattle.gov/parks/seasonalconcessions . We look forward to hearing from potential vendors!

PHOTOS: State crew out on West Seattle beaches, cleaning up dangerous ‘driftwood,’ wishing they could do more

(WSB photos by Patrick Sand)

A crew working for the state Department of Natural Resources is back out on West Seattle beaches this week, cleaning up creosote – a toxic threat you might not even recognize as you walk along beaches strewn with old pilings containing literally tons of the substance long used as a wood preservative.

We were invited to photograph a cleanup site just north of the Fauntleroy ferry dock on Wednesday when state Public Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz was visiting the crew. While the beachfront property there is privately owned, part of the tidelands belong to the state, which obtained access agreements with dozens of property owners to facilitate this part of the cleanup.

Crew members are cutting up creosote-contaminated wood and loading it on board this vessel:

From there it’s taken across Puget Sound to Manchester in Kitsap County, and transported from there to a landfill. Before our visit, they had already removed 20 tons of contaminated wood – DNR’s aquatics restoration manager Christopher Robertson explained that every linear foot of a log like this could contain a gallon of liquid creosote, which he described as “very nasty stuff.”

You’ve heard that toxins in the water is one of the biggest threats to Puget Sound orcas. That makes this removal a boon to them, as well as to the salmon they need to survive. Part of Commissioner Franz’s reason for visiting is to highlight her budget request for the coming year, to better fund this and other projects vital to protecting the state’s environment.

Franz would like to double the amount of creosote that the state can remove. Right now, this project only has access to one six-person crew, two weeks a month; ideally, Robertson and fellow aquatics restoration manager Monica Shoemaker told us, they could keep half a dozen crews and a fleet of boats busy.

By the way, while on the beach, we learned about a new app that you can use to help if you spot debris on the beach – like this damaged float that had appeared sometime within the previous day:

It’s a threat to marine wildlife and birds because it contains styrofoam that looks to them like yummy fish eggs:

You can report something like this via the MyCoast app, in which our state is a participant – find out about it here. Besides “large marine debris,” derelict vessels are another category of reporting for which you can use MyCoast. Back to the creosote removal:

This isn’t new – the state’s been doing it for more than a decade. But unfortunately it’s the kind of work that has to be repeated – there’s so much creosote out there, any beach is vulnerable to something more washing up. Fauntleroy is just one of many beaches where the state is doing this work.

VIDEO: King County Parks Levy announcement at Steve Cox Memorial Park

10:07 AM: This August, you’ll be asked to approve a six-year replacement for the expiring King County Parks Levy. County Executive Dow Constantine is officially announcing it at an event under way right now at Steve Cox Memorial Park in White Center; we’re there and will add video and event details later. Here, for starters, is the news release:

Executive Dow Constantine today announced his proposal to renew the current King County Parks Levy, scheduled to expire at the end of the year. His proposal for the August ballot would generate an estimated $738 million over the next six years to expand and connect regional trails, improve access to green space and recreation, and keep the county’s parks and trails clean, safe, and open.

The current King County Parks levy – which voters approved in 2013 – will expire Dec. 31. On Feb. 21, Executive Constantine sent to the King County Council a proposal that will expand and improve access to the county’s 200 parks, 175 miles of regional trails, and 28,000 acres of open space.

“This proposal isn’t just about access to parks and recreation – although that is plenty. It is about a generational investment in our environment,” said Executive Constantine. “The levy is entirely consistent with my priorities to restore and protect our rivers, forests, and farms, while also doing our part to tackle climate pollution. Voters have approved the Parks Levy three times since 2003. No matter how much things grow and change around here, our values stay the same, guiding us to support investments that make stronger, healthier, and happier communities.”

Highlights of Executive Constantine’s plan include:

Building and designing regional trails, including missing links and crossings over rivers and highways
Improving trailheads by adding parking and signage
Repairing trails for hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding
Replacing 11 ballfields
Rehabilitating play area equipment in six parks
Maintaining park infrastructure, such as pathways, roofs, fencing, and electrical systems
The levy would cost 16.82 cents per $1000 of assessed property value, which would cost the owner of a home valued at $500,000 about $7 per month.

About 80 percent of King County Parks’ operational budget is funded by levy.

Under Executive Constantine’s proposal, about $60 million would be allocated to King County cities to support local parks and recreation; an additional $35 million would go for grants to cities to protect and acquire open space. It would provide Woodland Park Zoo with $36 million for conservation and environmental education programs for under-served youth. It would also provide $8 million to the Seattle Aquarium for construction of their new Ocean Pavilion.

Executive Constantine’s proposal would also provide continued funding for the Community Partnerships and Grants Program, which, over its 15-year existence, has created dozens of public amenities across King County with partners that contribute the necessary additional capital, in-kind resources, and volunteer time to develop new or enhanced facilities.

About $1 million per year would go toward equity-focused grants to increase access to and use of recreation facilities in communities that are currently underserved or face other barriers. …

The news release continues here. The levy would generate almost twice the $396 million the expiring levy was expected to bring in.

11:11 AM: The half-hour event (clips added above) also included this area’s County Councilmember Joe McDermott as well as other speakers including King County’s Department of Natural Resources and Parks director Christie True. While no White Center/West Seattle-specific projects were mentioned, it was noted that the current levy funded improvements at Steve Cox Park including the field that served as the event’s backdrop.

8 for your West Seattle (and beyond) Thursday

(Another “snowbird” – this time a robin photographed by Susan Romanenghi)

Highlights for the rest of today/tonight:

KING COUNTY PARKS LEVY: County Executive Dow Constantine and County Councilmembers will be at Steve Cox Memorial Park in White Center at 10 am to announce the countywide replacement levy plan they’ll be sending to voters. (1321 SW 102nd)

PREPAREDNESS WORKSHOP: 2 pm at Quail Park Memory Care Residences of West Seattle (WSB sponsor), preparedness expert Dave Nichols leads a free workshop. (4515 41st SW)

HALA HEARING: 5:30 pm at City Hall downtown, it’s the last major public hearing before the City Council‘s scheduled vote next month on HALA Mandatory Housing Affordability upzoning for much of the city. (600 4th Avenue)

9201 DELRIDGE DESIGN REVIEW: 6:30 pm at the Senior Center/Sisson Building, the Southwest Design Review Board considers the “mini-warehouse” proposed for 9201 Delridge Way SW. See the design packet here. Meeting includes a public-comment period. (4217 SW Oregon)

WEST SEATTLE TIMEBANK: Also at the Senior Center/Sisson Building at 6:30 pm, you’re invited to learn about timebanking. Bring a potluck dish if you want – not required. (4217 SW Oregon)

ALKI COMMUNITY COUNCIL: 7 pm at Alki UCC, all welcome at the monthly meeting. (6115 SW Hinds)

LORD SHAMBLETON AND SWINGSET: Live music, 7 pm at The Skylark. $8 cover. 21+. (3803 Delridge Way SW)

KO ELECTRIC: Live music with Kate Olsen and friends at Parliament Tavern, 9 pm, no cover, 21+. (4210 SW Admiral Way)

MORE … on our complete calendar!

TRAFFIC/TRANSIT TODAY: Thursday watch; new 99 exit ramp’s third morning

(SDOT MAP with travel times/ Is the ‘low bridge’ closed? LOOK HERE/ West Seattle-relevant traffic cams HERE)

6:27 AM: Good morning! No alerts or incidents reported in our area so far.

DEVELOPMENT: 4 project notes from around West Seattle

Four project notes:

EARLY DESIGN OUTREACH FOR PROJECT @ EX-CHARMANN APARTMENTS: As we first reported last year, townhouses are proposed for the site of the former Charmann Apartmentsdemolished last October – at 5917 California SW. The 9-townhouse project is now in the city’s Early Design Outreach process, and a drop-in discussion is set for 2 pm Saturday, March 9th, at High Point Library (3411 SW Raymond). You can also comment by going here.

COMMENT TIME FOR 9037 35TH SW: We’ve also reported previously on a microapartments-and-retail mixed-use project to replace a house and small commercial building at 9037 35th SW – four stories, 26 small-efficiency dwelling units, 6 offstreet-parking spaces, plus retail. The permit application is now open for comments through March 4th; the notice is linked in the city’s newest Land Use Information Bulletin.

COMMENT TIME FOR 4 ALKI HOUSES: A land-use-permit application is in for a plan at 2530 55th SW, four 4-story houses with 4 offstreet-parking spaces on the sloped site above, which you might recall as the site of a slide back in 2013. Comments on the application are being accepted through February 27th.

ROWHOUSES INSTEAD OF APARTMENTS IN NORTH ADMIRAL: Three years after a 16-unit apartment building won Design Review approval for 1606 California SW, a different project is proposed. City files show 8 rowhouse units are now proposed to replace a fourplex and house at the site.

On eve of HALA MHA hearing, Councilmember Herbold proposes ‘anti-displacement ordinance’

“If you take away affordable housing, you have to replace it.” That’s how one community member at tonight’s Delridge Neighborhoods District Council meeting summarized their take on the goal of proposed city legislation announced earlier in the day by West Seattle/South Park Councilmember Lisa Herbold, who wants to bundle it with consideration of HALA Mandatory Housing Affordability, the subject of a council public hearing tomorrow night. Here’s the announcement sent by Herbold’s office:

Councilmember Lisa Herbold (District 1, West Seattle, South Park) will introduce an anti-displacement ordinance that would authorize additional displacement mitigations for housing projects located in South Park, Rainier Beach, Othello, Bitter Lake, and Westwood-Highland Park. These neighborhoods have been identified as having a high risk of displacement and low access to opportunity, according to Growth and Equity: Analyzing Impacts on Displacement and Opportunity Related to Seattle’s Growth Strategy, in the Comprehensive Plan Seattle 2035, an analysis conducted by the Office of Planning and Community Development.

“I appreciate Mayor Durkan’s efforts to address the displacement impacts of development by proposing to introduce legislation that the Council requested in 2017 by Resolution 31754. As described in the March 2018 status report to the Council, a community preferences policy will be useful for our non-profit developers. Nevertheless, we also desperately need a tool to address the displacement that occurs when for-profit developers build. Displacement is a challenging issue and we need many tools to address it,” said Herbold.

Councilmember Herbold will this week send the proposed bill to the Council’s Introduction and Referral Calendar. Councilmember Herbold has requested that the Council hear this bill concurrently with the MHA Citywide legislation.

“This ordinance would use authority granted under the State Environmental Protection Act (SEPA) to create a requirement for developers to mitigate the impacts resulting from the loss of affordable housing in those areas of the city that, if we didn’t do so, the result would be a failure to fulfill our obligation to ‘affirmatively promote fair housing’ — in other words, in areas where disproportionate displacement of communities of color and other protected classes is likely to occur,” Herbold said. (See upper left-hand corner of this image.)

MHA Framework legislation, passed in 2016, Section 2.A.2.a, stated: The Council intends to consider whether to include higher performance and payment amounts, subject to statutory limits, for those areas where the increase in development capacity would be likely to increase displacement risk. Resolution 31733, passed in 2017, stated: The Council intends to consider a range of strategies to increase affordable units sufficient to offset the affordable units at risk of demolition due to new development.”

“I’m proud that the Council has a long legislative record of its commitment to address displacement. Now it’s time to act again,” Herbold continued.

“I have, over the years, expressed my great concern that the City describes MHA as ‘housing displacement mitigation tool,’ but has badly analyzed how development removes more affordable housing than the resources from MHA are sufficient to replace.

“For example, in the case of the University District MHA upzone in 2017, the City estimated that only 40-275 units of existing affordable units of housing would be demolished over 20 years. The EIS estimated likely demolition by identifying specific redevelopable parcels and quantifying their existing housing (zero, for parking lots and commercial buildings). The “full build out” scenario wherein construction occurs on all redevelopable parcels to the full capacity of the proposed rezone was estimated to result in the demolition of 275 homes over 20 years. In less than 2 years, based upon a Council Central Staff analysis of new development projects that are currently in some stage of having their Master Use Permit issued or Early Design Guidance reviewed and that are subject to the new zoning put in place in 2017, 96 units of affordable units are already planned for demolition.

“Using the same approach used in the University District in 2017, the City estimates that over 20 years 574 units of housing will be demolished in MHA rezone areas. My concerns about displacement today are heightened, especially considering how far afield the University District estimate has proven to be.”

This announcement comes on the eve of the council’s HALA MHA public hearing, 5:30 pm Thursday at City Hall downtown (600 4th Ave.), as previewed here Monday.

More West Seattle park input requested: Hiawatha Playfield, Schmitz Boulevard

(Hiawatha, photographed earlier this month by Andy)

Another request for your input – this time, for the future of the city’s Olmsted parks, including Hiawatha Playfield and the section of Schmitz Park known as its Boulevard. Here’s the survey, which includes this explanatory introduction:

Seattle Parks and Recreation is wrapping up a study of 10 of the Olmsted Parks and Boulevards. The purpose of the Olmsted Parks Study and the following survey is to hear from the Seattle community how Seattle Parks and Recreation can prioritize restoration of these historically significant assets. …

Seattle’s Olmsted Parks and Boulevards began as a dream the City of Seattle had in the late 1800’s for a beautiful system of landscapes among urban growth. This vision was implemented in the form of parks throughout the city designed by the Olmsted Brothers landscape architecture firm. The basis of design for these parks was to allow access to attractive open spaces to provide peace and respite for people from all walks of life.

The study is here (PDF), with Hiawatha assessment and recommendations starting on page 84, and Schmitz right after that, at page 96. Historic photos, too!

BACKSTORY: Here’s more on the Olmsted parks’ restoration project that this is all part of

West Seattle sunset: 1 month until spring!

Thanks to Marc Milrod for the photo of tonight’s sunset. This enables us to note with joy that spring is only one month – and a short month at that (four weeks) – away!

FOLLOWUP: Here’s when temporary bridge bus lane will be removed

Many have asked – so here’s the answer: After seven weeks, the temporary 4th Avenue bridge-ramp bus lane is scheduled to be removed this Saturday. The lane was striped/signed the weekend before the Alaskan Way Viaduct‘s permanent closure so that buses rerouted onto 4th wouldn’t get too bogged down in the interim period before they could use northbound Highway 99’s new pre-tunnel exit. Now that ramp is open, so we asked SDOT when the bus-lane removal was planned. Spokesperson Dawn Schellenberg replied today, “Our crews are scheduled to do the work Saturday, weather permitting. It will take about 8 hours and work will start around 7 AM. We appreciate folks’ patience. Our crews are spread pretty thin right now.”

BUS CHANGES: Metro previews what March 23 ‘service change’ will bring, including added trips on Routes 120, 50

You have a month to get ready for some big bus changes downtown, and added service here. Metro went public this afternoon with a mega-preview of what the March 23rd “service change” will bring. It’s all detailed here – including these details of specific West Seattle note:

Route 50: Additional midday trips providing key east-west connections between Southeast Seattle and West Seattle (new timetable here)

Route 120: 10- to 12-minute service all day and improved Sunday service to 15 minutes (pre-RapidRide and funded by the City of Seattle), including 28 new weekday trips and 43 more trips on Sundays. (new timetable here)

While those are the only two West Seattle-serving routes listed with major changes, today’s announcement also includes details on other downtown changes, including all-door boarding on Third Avenue and the end of Metro’s shared use of the Downtown Transit Tunnel.

SATURDAY: The Big Plunge at Alki – new date, less ‘polar’

(February 9th photo)

As Christopher Gilliam wrote when emailing us that photo on February 9th – it was “ironic” that the polar-bear-swim Big Plunge at Alki had to be postponed that day because the weather was just TOO “polar.” Now the new date is just three days away – this Saturday (February 23rd) – so we’re reminding you about the Special Olympics of Washington fundraiser. Even if you aren’t plunging (they’re hoping for enough participants to set a world record), you might want to check out the festivities anyway: Food trucks, beer, music – details are here (just keep scrolling down that page) as well as the schedule (before and after the 1 pm “plunge”). If you do want to plunge, here’s where to sign up.

VIDEO: Navigation Team @ West Seattle Crime Prevention Council

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Hours after a shoutout in the mayor’s State of the City address, the city’s Navigation Team was in the spotlight at last night’s West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meeting.

Sgt. Eric Zerr, who’s been the SPD team leader since the team started its homelessness-focused work two years ago, was the featured guest, as you can see in our video above and toplines below. But first, Southwest Precinct commander Capt. Pierre Davis gave a crime/safety update:

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9 for your West Seattle Wednesday!

(This West Seattle “snowbird” is a Cedar Waxwing, photographed by Matthew Olson)

Some of today/tonight’s highlights from the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar:

PRESCHOOL STORY TIME: 10:30 am at West Seattle (Admiral) Library – stories, songs, and rhymes. Free, as library programs always are. (2306 42nd SW)

BABY STORY TIME: 11:30 am, bring the littlest member(s) of the family to this fun time at High Point Library. (3411 SW Raymond)

CREATE YOUR OWN COMIC: 2:30 pm at Southwest Library, it’s a special midwinter-break series for students. Free but registration required. (9010 35th SW)

FREE TAX HELP: It’s that time of year. If you need help, here’s a chance to get it, no appointment required, via the United Way‘s free tax-help sessions at the West Seattle Food Bank. 5-9 pm – more info in our calendar listing. (35th/Morgan)

DELRIDGE NEIGHBORHOODS DISTRICT COUNCIL: Reps of groups and organizations from around eastern West Seattle meet for the first time this year, 7 pm at Neighborhood House High Point. The agenda’s in our calendar listing. All welcome. (6400 Sylvan Way SW)

WORDSWEST LITERARY SERIES: 7 pm at C & P Coffee Company (WSB sponsor), WordsWest presents “What We Do, What We Say” with Michele Bombardier and Natasha Moni, and the Favorite Poem read by student Mihna Born. Readings, book sales, giveaways! (5612 California SW)

TRIANGULAR JAZZTET: 7 pm at Whisky West (WSB sponsor), a jazzy night with Jeff Ferguson and friends. No cover. (6451 California SW)

BENEFIT TRIVIA: This week’s trivia at Talarico’s benefits the West Seattle Helpline in its mission to help neighbors in need – details in our calendar listing. 8:30 pm. $2/person. (4718 California SW)

LEFT HAND SMOKE: Rock ‘n’ roll at Parliament Tavern, 9 pm, no cover. 21+. (4210 SW Admiral Way)

THAT’S JUST PART OF IT … see the full lineup via our complete calendar, and if you have something coming up, let us know!

TRAFFIC/TRANSIT TODAY: Wednesday watch; new ramp’s 2nd morning

(SDOT MAP with travel times/ Is the ‘low bridge’ closed? LOOK HERE/ West Seattle-relevant traffic cams HERE)

6:07 AM: Good morning! Second morning for the new south-of-the-tunnel NB 99 exit ramp. No incidents or alerts so far.

STADIUM ZONE TONIGHT: Sounders FC plays Club Nacional de Football in a preseason match at CenturyLink Field at 7:30 pm.

8:33 AM: Two transit notes as an uneventful morning continues:

–Scattered reports in comments again of Metro buses not taking the new routing. Metro reiterates that they’re supposed to, and expresses hope these are “one-offs” getting used to the changes.

Ride2 app users will be able to book rides in advance starting Monday (February 25). That’s the lone WS change as a result of Eastgate and WS service “syncing” as Hopelink takes over the former starting Monday.

NEW DATE: Talk about future 48th/Charlestown park this Sunday

(WSB file photo, future park site at 48th/Charlestown)

That’s the “landbanked” city-owned site of a future park at 48th SW/SW Charlestown. You might recall that you were supposed to be able to share your thoughts about the site at a drop-in booth during the West Seattle Farmers Market back on February 10th …but the weather got in the way. A new date and location are now set – this Sunday, also in The Junction, also during the Farmers’ Market, but indoors – 10 am-2 pm (February 24th) at the Senior Center of West Seattle, 4217 SW Oregon. So drop by at some time during that window, even if you only have a few minutes to spare, and talk with Parks reps about what amenities you’d like to see at the new park. Whether you do or don’t stop by on Sunday, you can also comment online via this survey.

West Seattle scene: Commercial crew @ Thriftway

That’s the scene we found inside West Seattle Thriftway (WSB sponsor) at midday today after a reader texted us wondering about that video crew. We learned at the store that they were shooting a commercial for a flavored water called Hint – and after noting that Hint is based in San Francisco, we sent an inquiry wondering what led to the choice of location. Here’s the reply we received from Katherine at Hint:

We are excited as it will be our first commercial for Hint Kids. Why Seattle? Well who wouldn’t love to be in Seattle? ;-)

Actually the production company we are working with is based in Seattle and were able to source locations in their area for our commercial. They will be coming down here tomorrow to finish up the non-grocery store portion at our corporate offices in San Francisco.

I hope your readers will enjoy spotting their favorite store when the ad runs…they will have the inside scoop.

VIDEO: In case you missed the mayor’s State of the City address…

In case you missed Mayor Jenny Durkan‘s second State of the City address today – there it is on video. You can also read the transcript here, beneath highlight links. Of neighborhood note:

-The mayor mentioned WS three times – first, “…touring small businesses in Hillman City, Georgetown, and West Seattle” (we covered visits last year in February and in November); second and third, these back-to-back transportation references:

… We will expedite bringing light rail stations to Ballard and West Seattle.

This spring, we’ll expand our first-last mile shuttle from beyond West Seattle to South Seattle, so we can connect more people to transit. …

-Speaking at North Seattle College, as she referred to the expansion of the Promise free-tuition program that started at its sibling school South Seattle College (WSB sponsor) and is expanding systemwide with the help of the recently passed levy, the mayor announced something new: Assistance for Promise students who need help covering other costs such as textbooks.

-She also announced that Seattle Colleges will be a partner in a new paid-internship program connecting Promise students with major employers including Harbor Island’s Vigor Industrial.

FOLLOWUP: Regional matchups set for West Seattle High School basketball teams

(WSB photos by Patrick Sand, from WSHS teams’ district-tournament games last weekend)

As reported here Monday, both West Seattle High School teams are on to regional competition, after winning their third-place district-tournament games. Now we know who/when/where they’re playing next:

WSHS girls, Friday night (February 22), 6 pm, vs. Meadowdale, at Garfield HS (400 23rd Ave.)
WSHS boys, Saturday night (February 23), 6 pm, vs. Eastside Catholic, at Issaquah HS (700 2nd Ave SE)

You can see the full regional game lists here (girls) and here (boys).

FOLLOWUP: More about West Seattle’s 2 weekend armed robberies

As reported here in West Seattle Crime Watch coverage, police investigated two armed robberies over the weekend. Today, we obtained the police-report narratives with details on both, while confirming that no one’s been arrested yet in either robbery:

SOUTH DELRIDGE: This holdup on Sunday night was a street robbery, according to the police report. The victim approached an officer in the 9000 block of Delridge Way SW around 10:42 pm Sunday night to say he had been robbed at gunpoint “a block or so south.” The officer drove south and spotted a suspect at 20th/Cambridge who refused to stop and kept his hand in a position that had police suspecting he was holding a gun. Eventually this turned into a foot pursuit but officers lost track of the suspect around 17th/Cambridge, and the ensuing K9-included search didn’t lead to an arrest. The victim told police that the robber got away with his iPhone.

(Saturday night photo by WSB’s Christopher Boffoli)

35TH/AVALON SALON: You might recall the description we published after this Saturday night holdup included an umbrella. The narrative adds one more detail – the 40ish robber held that umbrella in front of his face. The officer who wrote the report began by noting Salon Maison (4435 35th SW) “did not appear to have been robbed as patrons were still getting their hair styled” but then spoke with a witness who described herself as “in shock.” She told police the robber -who came in around 5:30 pm – showed a “silver handgun with brown or wood grip” and said, “I’m sorry to do this but I need all your money.” He took all the cash in the register except what police noted were “several $1 bills.” At least one surveillance camera caught an image that appeared to be the robber – umbrella and all.

SNOW AFTERMATH: Extra time to prioritize projects you think should get Neighborhood Street Fund money

The recent snow hit right in the middle of the prioritizing process for what those map markers represent – proposed Neighborhood Street Fund projects, first mentioned here three weeks ago. So today, there’s word the city has extended the deadline, and also rescheduled a snow-canceled meeting in our area. You now have until Friday, March 1st, to rank the 20+ projects in West Seattle/South Park that are up for a share of the grant money – just go here. And/or – if you want to help do that ranking in person, you can go to South Park Hall at 6:30 pm next Monday (February 25th).