West Seattle, Washington
The week’s first announcement from Mayor Jenny Durkan heralded a nine-figure investment in “new, affordable rental homes.” The only West Seattle project on the list is one that’s been in the works a while, the Seattle Housing Authority‘s Lam Bow Apartments replacement project. The announcement and citywide list are here. The Lam Bow project (6955 Delridge Way SW) will replace both the building destroyed in a 2016 fire and the one left standing. The total 82 units to be built are up from 51 in the original complex. The cost of the project was estimated earlier this year at $35 million. Today’s announcement of citywide investments notes:
Funding sources for the Office of Housing investments include the 2016 voter-passed Seattle Housing Levy, incentive zoning and Mandatory Housing Affordability payments, $32 million in Real Estate Excise Taxes and over $13 million through retained sales taxes, made possible by changes in state law authorized by the 2019 Washington State Legislature and Seattle City Council.
A check of online files shows the Lam Bow project is still going through the city permit process.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Five years after becoming pastor of Admiral Congregational Church, Rev. Andrew Conley-Holcom has to shepherd it through a process with much at stake: The church and its neighborhood’s future.
That’s happening not through sermons, but through conversations like the one he led last week, standing before dozens of people in the church’s living-room-esque gathering space, wearing not a collar but a beanie.
“You’re here on the ground floor,” he explained, as a preface to the presentation on Tuesday night (October 8th).
If that was the ground floor, then you could say the foundation for the conversation was laid last December, when the church hosted an Admiral Neighborhood Association meeting, and the pastor told ANA the same thing: Not changing is not an option.
He began last week by putting it all in context, for those not familiar with the church’s operations and the role in the community. “Our goal is to be the neighborhood church of North Admiral.” And with the Jehovah’s Witnesses moving out, he said, “we kinda are.”
Three feedback opportunities involving planned development:
6320 & 6326 41ST SW: An Early Community Outreach for Design Review site tour is planned by the project team for these Morgan Junction sites with 15 townhouses proposed as first mentioned here back in June. Just show up at 11 am September 20th. (Flyers are here and here [PDF].)
2000 & 2050 SW ORCHARD: The application is in for two rowhouse-style townhouse buildings totaling 18 units on this greenbelt site east of Delridge. You have until September 23rd to comment; this notice (PDF) explains how.
2622 & 2624 SW GENESEE: The application is also in for these projects totaling 3 townhouses and 3 single-family homes in North Delridge. The comment deadline is also September 23rd; this notice (PDF) explains how.
It’s a topic everyone’s got an opinion about – development, particularly housing. What should (or shouldn’t) we be building more of in Seattle? And longer-term – should zoning change to allow more, denser housing in more places? Here’s your chance to sound off in an official city survey. We found the Housing Choices Survey tucked into the middle of the Department of Neighborhoods’ newest newsletter. A related Office of Planning and Community Development webpage explains what it’s about:
Housing Choices is an initiative to create more market-rate housing options, in more places, for more people. Our Housing Choices Background Report provides information about the private housing market in order to start a conversation about this topic. We are now reaching out to hear your perspectives about housing choices, better understand the issues and opportunities, and explore potential responses. Your input, along with additional data and analysis, will inform future recommendations for addressing key issues.
Our Housing Choices survey will help inform near-term actions as well as longer-term recommendations that we hope to present in early 2020.
You can answer the survey’s questions (note that some are optional) by going here.
Today we welcome a new WSB sponsor, NODE. Here’s what they want you to know about what they do:
NODE is delivering sustainable homes through a process that focuses on customer delight and backing it up with a guaranteed price. People come to us because building is hard, and risky. We offer a one-stop shop for sustainable, well-designed backyard cottages. We make the process simple for folks by taking care of everything and guarantee the price. A lot of people don’t build because they are overwhelmed by the process, or they have built before and know that budget and schedule is a moving target.
Why should you consider adding a backyard cottage (formally known as a detached accessory dwelling unit, DADU)? In addition to adding resale value to your property, a DADU has many potential uses. For some folks, it’s so their parents to age in place in their own home, yet literally be in the backyard. For others it’s a way to secure extra income through long-term rentals or short-term, Airbnb-type rentals. And for others, they don’t want to move, but want extra space for guests or a home office. Seattle’s just liberalized the rules, making it easier than ever for folks to build DADUs. Our clients love the design and our commitment to sustainability and nature.
We thank NODE for sponsoring independent, community-collaborative neighborhood news via WSB; find our current sponsor team listed in directory format here, and find info on joining the team by going here.
From the King County Assessor’s Office:
King County Assessor John Wilson announced today that low-income senior citizens, individuals with disabilities, and disabled veterans, with 2019 annual incomes below $58,423 may be eligible for property tax relief in 2020 under guidelines published today by the state Department of Revenue. The previous threshold had been $40,000.
Applications for the expanded programs will be available in January 2020.
The change is the result of passage of ESSB 5160, sponsored by Senator Manka Dhingra (D-45th LD), during the 2019 legislative session. The bill significantly expands the number of people eligible for the existing property tax exemption and deferral programs by replacing the statewide $40,000 threshold with an income level equal to 65% of the county median income. In King County that threshold is $58,423.
“This legislation is literally going to help people stay in their homes,” said Assessor Wilson. “Beginning with next year’s taxes, tens of thousands of our neighbors will get the help they need.”
ESSB 5160 expands the qualifying income thresholds for the property tax exemption and deferral programs for low-income senior citizens, individuals with disabilities, and disabled veterans, beginning with taxes levied for collection in 2020. It also lowers the disability rating necessary to qualify as a disabled veteran for exemption program from a 100 percent rating to an 80 percent rating.
The Assessor’s website includes the latest information on implementation of these programs.
Should the West Seattle Junction Hub Urban Village boundary be extended to include Providence Mount St. Vincent (4831 35th SW)?
Tomorrow when the Seattle City Council’s Planning, Land Use, and Zoning Committee considers a stack of proposed amendments to the city’s Comprehensive Plan, that proposal will be among them.
(Text here in PDF.) The 9:30 am Wednesday committee meeting at City Hall includes a public hearing. This is only midway through a long process of deciding whether the proposed amendment will be approved, but it’s of interest (thanks to Diane for the tip!) because in the document explaining the proposal, it’s explained as a potential precursor to redevelopment on the site:
The requested changes would provide Providence Mount St. Vincent greater height (50’ versus 40’) and a greater FAR (2.3 versus 1.8), while keeping the current zoning designation of LR3(M). These increases would be beneficial to expanding the existing and potential future uses, which include assisted living apartments, P.A.C.E, children day care, physical and occupational therapy services, a chapel, and the Sisters of Providence retirement home.
Here’s the full document:
It also says that The Mount’s planning is in the early stages and they expect to have community meetings about their plans before year’s end. We have a message out to The Mount’s leadership in hopes of finding out a bit more about what they’re hoping to build.
Meantime, back to tomorrow morning’s council-committee agenda. Other possible Comprehensive Plan amendments proposed, of West Seattle interest:
*An amendment to change the zoning of 2938-2944 Alki Avenue SW from single family to multifamily (text here in PDF)
*An amendment to change the zoning of 4501-4509 SW Admiral Way from Lowrise 1 to Lowrise 3 (text here in PDF)
Neither of those is recommended for advancing (“docketing”). Tomorrow’s meeting also includes a briefing on the city permit backlog and suggestions of ways to ease it, such as simplifying the city code, described as now up to 867 pages.
Most of the Seattle Housing Authority‘s budget comes from government funding, which means it’s your money, so even if you don’t live at an SHA property or have any other direct relationship with the agency, they’re looking for your opinion on how it should be spent. SHA asked us to let you know about its 2020 Budget Survey, open to all. Its questions are wide-ranging, including this one:
Please tell us where you think SHA should focus investments in creating more affordable housing. You may select more than one option.
-Focus on affordable housing for very-low-income households below 50% Area Median Income.
(Examples: 1 person household earning less than $38,750; 2 person household earning less than $44,300; 4 person household earning less than $55,350.)
-Focus on affordable workforce housing for low-income households between 60% and 80% Area Median Income.
(Examples: 1 person household earning between $46,500 and $62,000; 2 person household earning between $53,160 and $70,880; 4 person household earning between $66,420 and $88,560.)
-Donate funds to non-profits to provide more affordable housing with intensive services for homeless households.
The survey is linked here, in English as well as in Amharic, Chinese (traditional/Cantonese), Oromo, Russian, Somali, Spanish, Tigrinya, and Vietnamese. SHA is sending it to all of its residents and voucher holders but stresses “the general public’s input is welcome too.” It’s open for two more weeks (through July 15th).
… it’s not too late to comment, since nonprofit Transitional Resources‘ project is still in the “early design” phase. A few notes from our visit toward the end of last night’s community-feedback open house:
That’s the “preferred” configuration presented by design firm SMR Architects – they’re hoping that a three-section shape will help the 44-apartment complex fit in a little better with the townhouses that have been built in the neighborhood. They’ll be oriented toward interior courtyards, like many of TR’s other units nearby, for more of a “community” feeling. Also like the other properties, this will be “supportive housing,” as described by TR, “providing studio apartments for people with behavioral-health needs who are experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness.” If all goes well with the permit process, TR CEO Darcell Slovek-Walker told us at the open house, they hope to start construction in about a year. The building will replace three houses where TR has tenants, and Slovek-Walker says it’s expected that those tenants would move to units in the new complex when it’s done.
The project will go through the city’s Administrative Design Review process, which means no further community meetings are expected, but if you have comments and/or questions, you can contact Slovek-Walker at firstname.lastname@example.org. (We’ve been tracking this project since it first appeared in city files more than a year ago.)
As reported here multiple times last year, West Seattle-based Transitional Resources plans a new supportive-housing apartment complex in the 2800 block of SW Yancy. The next step: A community open house as part of the city Early Design Outreach program. Here’s the announcement from TR:
Transitional Resources (TR) has been delivering behavioral health services here in West Seattle since 1976. With our main office, small residential treatment facility, and two apartment developments located on SW Avalon Way, we have been a part of the local neighborhood for many years. TR is a licensed provider of behavioral health care services and supportive housing, offering a continuum of behavioral health treatment, housing, and vocational services to those who are most in need in our community. We are intentional in our small scale and high staff-to-client ratios. As a result, TR produces some of the best outcomes in King County.
Over the past year, we have been keeping the community apprised of our plans to redevelop three shared houses at 2811, 2821 and 2827/2829 SW Yancy St into small apartment buildings, providing studio apartments for people with behavioral-health needs who are experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness. We are pleased to report that we have secured the necessary funding from the City of Seattle, King County, the State of Washington, Federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits, and the Federal Home Loan Bank of Des Moines, and are now proceeding with the next stage of design for the project.
As part of the City’s design review process, we are inviting interested stakeholders to an open house, where attendees can provide input to the design team from SMR Architects. Please join us:
Wednesday, June 5th from 6 pm – 7:30 pm
Avalon Place Community Room
2988 SW Avalon Way
All are welcome. No RSVP is necessary.
The Yancy Street project will be similar to our other permanent supportive-housing buildings on Avalon Way. Each of the 44 residents will have their own studio apartment facing an interior courtyard that includes a community living room and laundry room. Staff will be on site to offer support for the residents 24 hours per day, seven days per week. Additional support will be available at our drop-in center and behavioral health program offices ½ block away on Avalon Way.
We look forward to sharing more about our organization at our open house next week. We will continue to post project updates on our website at www.transitionalresources.org. I also invite you to contact me directly by phone at 206-883-2026 or via email at email@example.com.
ORIGINAL REPORT, THURSDAY: An early-stage proposal is in city files for what would be the third apartment building on the west side of one block of 42nd SW in The Junction, between Genesee and Oregon. A site plan and pre-application documents are in the system for 4401 42nd SW, the West Seattle Christian Church-owned ex-school building that has in past years had a variety of community uses including artists’ studios and the West Seattle Helpline‘s clothing bank Clothesline.
Proposed for the site, which was upzoned to 55′ by HALA Mandatory Housing Affordability, is a five-story building with 72 microapartments (Small Efficiency Dwelling Units) and five live-works, plus underground and surface parking. The documents filed online say parking would total 36 car spaces and 80 bicycle spaces. The church-owned house to the south is not part of this project; we reported last December that townhouses and live-work units are planned there (4411 42nd SW).
ADDED FRIDAY: WSCC pastor Worth Wheeler has responded to our question about the Clothesline’s future: “We have been working closely with West Seattle Helpline for a few months now on providing a seamless transition for their Clothesline operation to another building on our campus. The church is looking forward to a continuing partnership with the Helpline that provides ample space for their needs and keeps their vital work right here in the Junction, close to the transportation hub that is indispensable for so many of their clients. West Seattle Helpline will likely make an announcement in the coming weeks and months about this transition.” Helpline executive director Erin Dury Moore confirmed that, adding, “We look forward to continuing our partnership with West Seattle Christian Church, and their dedication to our Clothesline.”
Four months after the mostly-microapartments proposal resurfaced for 5952 California SW [map], it’s received key city approvals. The project description is the same as last December, when it went into a second round of Design Review, 2+ years after the first – “29 small efficiency dwelling units and 6 apartment units (35 units total). Parking for 5 vehicles proposed.” Today’s publication of the notice for this opens a two-week appeal period; the notice explains (PDF) how to file one. Meantime, the property was re-listed for sale a week and a half ago (PDF), with the notation “back on market,” asking price $1.8 million, a bit less than its August 2017 listing.
New in city files: An early-stage proposal for an apartment building at the southwest end of Harbor Avenue SW, just north of the West Seattle Bridge. The documents in city files say what’s being considered is a five-story, 75-apartment building that would have 38 offstreet parking spaces in a garage accessed off Harbor. The parcels are listed in documents as having the street numbers 3405, 3411, and 3417 Harbor; the latter, the address at which documents are filed, currently holds a small commercial building. The site’s current zoning is for 40 feet in height but under the HALA MHA upzoning that’s about to take effect, 55 feet will be allowed. The area is a mix of commercial and residential, across the street from Emerald City Pet Rescue and ActivSpace, with houses to the west and condos to the north.
Three more West Seattle projects have informal community meetings coming up as part of the city’s semi-new Early Community Outreach for Design Review process. All three of these projects are going through Administrative Design Review, which means no other meetings involved beyond these casual drop-in opportunities:
8415 DELRIDGE WAY: This 14-townhouse plan has a community meeting set for 4:30-5:30 pm next Monday (April 8th) at Southwest Library (9010 35th SW). There’s also a basic webpage set up for it, offering other ways to provide early feedback on the design, including this survey.
1606 CALIFORNIA SW: 12:45 pm Saturday, April 13th, is when you’ll be able to drop by the West Seattle (Admiral) Library for information on this 8-unit rowhouse project planned to replace a house and fourplex at 1600-1606 California SW. Here’s a webpage for the project, also with a link to a survey you can answer.
4800 ERSKINE WAY: The microapartment project planned to replace the Junction 7-11 will be discussed 5-6 pm April 15th at the Senior Center/Sisson Building (4217 SW Oregon), according to this poster:
Thanks to the reader who spotted it and sent the photo – since there’s no online mention yet in the city system. We have reported on the project before. The poster says construction is not expected before 2023 and notes that commercial space is planned as well as 65 microapartments, with no offstreet parking.
If you just looked at the unanimous final vote, you’d never guess that the Housing and Livability Agenda‘s Mandatory Housing Affordability upzoning had traveled a long and sometimes-bumpy path before final City Council approval late today. (The Seattle Channel video above shows the three-hour council meeting, including 46 minutes o public comment.)
It dates back to an advisory committee convened in 2014 that delivered its report to then-Mayor Ed Murray in 2015. What he announced at the time as Mandatory Inclusionary Housing with a promise of 20,000 “affordable homes” in 10 years morphed to Mandatory Housing Affordability with an expectation of 6,000 affordable units in 10 years. In exchange for the upzoning – which in most cases adds an extra floor – developers must create affordable units either as a specified percentage of what they build or by paying the city a fee to fund affordable-housing projects. Here’s how today’s post-vote city news release explains “affordability”:
People must income-qualify for affordable housing; for example, an individual earning less than $42,150 will pay no more than $1,128 for a one-bedroom unit, while a family of four earning less than $60,200 will pay no more than $1,353 for a two-bedroom unit.
The upzoning affects commercial and multifamily property citywide, and some single-family-zoned property in or adjacent to urban villages. You can look up how – or if – the changes would affect any specific part of the city by using this map (but be aware that it doesn’t reflect some changes that were made toward the end of the review).
Today’s votes followed speeches by most councilmembers; West Seattle/South Park’s Lisa Herbold said that while she supports MHA, she remains deeply concerned that it will cause displacement, and her separate proposal on that front is pending. Another who spoke at length was citywide Councilmember Lorena González, whose remarks included how much she enjoys living in The Junction as a dense neighborhood with good access to transit, businesses, and services.
Next step is for Mayor Jenny Durkan to sign the MHA legislation into law (the bills finalized today are linked in the council news release); she issued a statement late today saying she’ll do that before the week is out. The legislation would then become law a month later.
The citywide coalition of community groups (including five from West Seattle) that lost its appeal of MHA’s Final Environmental Impact Statement, SCALE, has issued a statement too. The group says it’s “considering appealing the inadequately considered impacts of the MHA legislation to the Growth Management Hearings Board.” (That state board is explained here.)
Two West Seattle projects that are going through Administrative Design Review – seeking your comments, but without board meetings – now have design packets available for viewing:
3084 SW AVALON WAY: This 35-microapartment, no-offstreet-parking project is going through a second round of the final (“recommendation”) phase of Administrative Design Review. Here’s the packet.
It notes that the design has been changed somewhat to respond to the townhouse project to the north, which the same design firm, Cone Architecture, is handling, as well as to a variety of critiques offered by city staff in previous phases. Some of those are focused on the transition between the project and the neighborhood behind it. If you have comments, email the assigned city planner at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2000-2050 SW ORCHARD: This 18-townhouse, 18-offstreet-parking-space project is in the Early Design Guidance phase of Design Review. Rowhouse-style buildings are the “preferred alternative” of the size/shape options proposed by B9 Architects:
Here’s the packet for half of the site. The official review notice hasn’t been published yet so this is basically a preview. You can email comments to the assigned planner at email@example.com.
(Substituted Friday morning: Seattle Channel video of Thursday night hearing)
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).
AHEAD: THE REST OF OUR 4 1/2 HOURS OF AS-IT-HAPPENED COVERAGE: Read More
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 Apartments – demolished 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.
“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.
(West Seattle section of map featured on City Council’s MHA committee page)
Out of the snowstorm, into the fire. Just as we emerge from the all-consuming wintry weather, major projects and policies are approaching big decisionmaking points. Here’s another one: The city’s proposal for HALA Mandatory Housing Affordability upzoning. Thursday night at City Hall, it’s the final big public hearing before the City Council votes on the proposal, which has been more than three years in the making. Before the vote, councilmembers will consider possible amendments to the plan. Among them are amendments proposed by West Seattle/South Park (District 1) Councilmember Lisa Herbold, who explained them in her most-recent weekly update:
… I have been working with community members in each of the Urban Villages in District 1, specifically South Park, Admiral, West Seattle Junction, Westwood-Highland Park, and the Morgan Junction. They have helped me to develop a number of amendments that will, if passed, make changes to the current proposal to reflect the goals held by the community organizations representing those communities, while still implementing MHA in all areas proposed from MHA implementation.
Specifically, I am proposing five amendments with the Junction urban village that would upzone those five areas currently zoned as Single Family to Residential Small Lot (RSL), as opposed to the Executive’s proposal for Low Rise 1, 2, and 3 zoning. The reasoning for this is that the Junction has been identified as the location of a future light rail station; however, the specific alignment and location of the station have not yet been determined. Once that is determined, it will become more clear which properties Sound Transit will need to acquire. This is important because increasing development capacity in these locations may increase the value of the land, and Sound Transit is required to pay for the highest and best use of the land. Sound Transit is already needing third party funding for the development of these lines, and I do not want to see that problem exacerbated. The Community has expressed a desire for additional zoning capacity, but in accordance with the light rail station. To that end, the Office of Planning and Community has committed to beginning a neighborhood planning process in 2019 and 2020.
Additionally, three other amendments I have proposed, one in the Morgan Junction and two in the Westwood-Highland Park urban village, would provide better stair-stepping and avoid harsh transitions from one zone to the next.
At the last meeting of the Council’s Select Committee on Mandatory Housing Affordability, I presented these amendments and some of my colleagues expressed concern. I am proud of District 1, for the most part, embracing the conversion of Single Family Zoning in Urban Villages to RSL. This is significant progress from a year ago when there was fierce opposition in some corners to any changes to Single Family Zoning in Urban Villages. I believe it’s my responsibility, in governing to collaborate with my constituents, and in that spirit, I will continue to champion these amendments. I encourage you to come to the public hearing on Thursday the 21, to share your thoughts about these amendments, because I could use your help. …
Herbold also talked about HALA MHA and her proposed amendments at last Thursday’s West Seattle Chamber of Commerce lunch meeting:
If you can’t make it to Thursday’s hearing (5:30 pm in Council chambers, 600 4th Ave.) you can also voice your opinion to councilmembers by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
TIMELINE: After Thursday’s hearing, the council expects to vote on amendments and other related bills next Monday afternoon (February 25th), after their regular weekly afternoon meeting, around 2:30 pm. The final vote on HALA MHA, amended or not, is expected during the 2 pm council meeting on March 18th.
NOT SURE WHAT HALA IS? Herbold’s aforementioned weekly update includes a short primer/recap. The city’s interactive maps will show you how any particular property will or won’t be affected by the upzoning proposals, as they stand now.
Today we welcome one of our newest sponsors, The Kenney. New WSB sponsors get the chance to tell you about who they are and what they do – here’s what The Kenney would like you to know:
(WSB file photo)
The Kenney is West Seattle’s original senior-living community. The Kenney has been a beloved icon, serving seniors in West Seattle since 1909. Representatives of The Kenney are proud to say that what started as one couple’s dream is now one of the most respected nonprofit retirement communities in the region.
In 2015, The Kenney affiliated with Heritage Ministries for additional stability. Through this partnership, The Kenney can ensure that it is well positioned for future stability and growth as a 501c3 nonprofit Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC), sometimes known as a life-care community.
With three distinct living levels, each with services and features designed to support current and changing needs, residents may enter The Kenney in any of the three living levels as appropriate. Gourmet dining service offers three daily meals, with a focus on organic and locally sourced delicious foods. With a lifestyle free of home maintenance, residents are able to take full advantage of many life-enriching opportunities to socialize, enjoy fitness, engage in the arts and current events, and get out and about with transportation for shopping, events, and appointments.
Independent Living at The Kenney
The Kenney is a perfect home for an active, relaxed lifestyle in the heart of West Seattle, with its many parks, beaches, restaurants, and shops close at hand. Independent living is offered in apartments located in the Ballymena, Seaview, and Sunrise buildings. The Kenney offers more than 100 beautifully appointed Independent Living Apartments ranging from the coziest studio to spacious 2-bedroom apartments with patios and stunning views. They have also recently announced plans to build 5 row houses which will include private garages, with construction slated to begin in late 2019. The apartments and row houses come in a variety of sizes and are customized with choices of finishes, appointments, and features to suit individual tastes. Entering The Kenney at this level allows the resident to experience the full benefits of community living, with a safety net of support services for current and future needs.
Assisted Living at The Kenney
The Lincoln Vista apartments offer a unique residential experience of maximum independence and privacy, with staff ready to offer support and services as needed 24/7. Studio and one-bedroom apartments include kitchens and accessible bathrooms. Services include three meals daily, weekly housekeeping, laundry service, and activities. A team of licensed nurses and nursing assistants offers services adjusted to the need of each resident, including a higher level of care that may help a resident avoid the need for long-term nursing-home care. Monthly fees correspond to the size of the apartment and level of service needed.
Memory Care at The Kenney
The Kenney offers memory care in a secured residential environment. With only 12 apartments, Memory Care offers all of the benefit of Assisted Living with the addition of specialized programing, in a small intimate setting. The design of the memory-care area enables residents to enjoy the privacy of individual apartments and the freedom to stroll and socialize in a secure environment. A staff of licensed nurses, nursing assistants, and activity professionals is specifically trained to assist residents with memory difficulties caused by Alzheimer’s and other dementia illnesses. With the support of staff, residents are stimulated to socialize, exercise, engage in the arts and participate in learning
For more information on The Kenney, or to schedule a tour of their facilities, visit thekenney.org or call 206-937-2800.
We thank The Kenney for sponsoring independent, community-collaborative neighborhood news via WSB; find our current sponsor team listed in directory format here, and find info on joining the team by going here.
ALKI POINT PROJECT: 3220-3224 Alki Avenue SW is not a big site, but it caught some readers’ attention because of its prominent location where Beach Drive becomes Alki Avenue at Alki Point. The 97-year-old house above and a smaller building behind it were demolished earlier this week; only debris remained by Friday.
City records show this site, purchased by a homebuilder for $1.2 million, will be redeveloped with two three-story, 2-unit townhouse buildings, each with three parking spaces (as required by the Alki Parking Overlay, one and a half spaces per unit). The site is zoned Lowrise 2.
A few blocks south …
BEACH DRIVE ROWHOUSES: Two duplex buildings at 6003 SW Orleans, just off Beach Drive near Cormorant Cove Park, are proposed for replacement with six rowhouse-style townhouses, with six offstreet-parking spaces. It’s an early-stage proposal for a site that also is zoned Lowrise 2.
ORIGINAL REPORT, 11:58 PM TUESDAY: More than tbree years have passed since then-Mayor Ed Murray proposed the upzoning plan eventually named HALA Mandatory Housing Affordability,to affect commercial and multifamily property citywide, as well as other property in the city’s “urban villages.” Now it’s moving toward a final vote, expected in mid-March. First, councilmembers will consider potential amendments to the plan. Wednesday morning at 9:30 am, they will look at 10 amendments proposed for West Seattle, as well as 1 for South Park, plus dozens in three other City Council districts. From the agenda documents, here are short descriptions of the 10 amendments proposed to modify what HALA MHA upzoning would otherwise do in West Seattle:
Intersection of SW Carroll St and Beach Dr SW
Do not rezone the Residential – Commercial node at the intersection of SW Carroll St and Beach Dr SW.
That’s the area by Weather Watch Park, best known businesswise for La Rustica.
1-2 through 1-6
Single-family zones within the West Seattle Junction Residential Urban Village: Modify all proposed rezones from Single-family within the West Seattle Junction Urban Village to Residential Small Lot.
Otherwise, the single-family-zoned areas there are slated for upzoning to Lowrise 1.
West Seattle Junction Residential Urban Village: Triangle Area
Increase proposed maximum heights of Neighborhood Commercial zones within the Junction triangle area from 75′ to 95′.
The Triangle area went through its own planning process early this decade.
Area west of Fauntleroy, south of SW Graham Street
Reduce the proposed zone designation in the Morgan Junction Urban Village south of SW Graham Street and northwest of Fauntleroy Way SW to a less intense Lowrise multifamily zone designation.
That would be LR2 instead of LR3.
Area bounded by SW Barton, Barton Pl SW and 21st Ave SW
Reduce the proposed zone designation within the Westwood-Highland Park Urban Village in the area generally between SW Barton Pl and Delridge Way SW from Lowrise multifamily to Residential Small Lot.
Here’s an explainer of RSL and other zoning designations.
26th Ave SW between SW Barton & SW Roxbury ST
Reduce the proposed zone designation within the WestwoodHighland Park Urban Village along 26th Av S from Lowrise multifamily to Residential Small Lot.
(Close-up maps for each proposed amendment are toward the start of this document from the meeting packet.) The council will discuss these, and the amendments proposed for three other council districts, at Wednesday morning’s meeting (9:30 am, City Hall, live coverage as usual via Seattle Channel) with more discussion planned February 8th. An evening public hearing is planned February 21st, and then the council is scheduled to vote on amendments February 25th.
ADDED WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON: The video of today’s council committee meeting is now available online.