West Seattle, Washington
Although this year’s biggest election will be the City Council primary in August, that won’t be the first election of the year. You’ll get a ballot in less than three weeks for the February 14th special election, with just one measure on your ballot: Seattle Initiative 135. Not familiar with it? Here’s the text that you’ll see:
City of Seattle Initiative Measure 135 concerns developing and maintaining affordable social housing in Seattle.
This measure would create a public development authority (PDA) to develop, own, and maintain publicly financed mixed-income social housing developments. The City would provide start-up support for the PDA. The City Council would determine the amount of ongoing City support. Before it transfers any public lands for nonpublic use, the City would be required to consider a transfer to the PDA. The PDA’s Charter would govern the election, composition, and duties of the PDA’s Board of Directors.
So what’s “social housing”? Here’s how the organization behind the initiative explains it:
Housing created outside of the private market, publicly financed and publicly controlled. Unlike public housing models in the United States, social housing does not rely on profit motives, the private market or private partnerships, which creates permanent affordability and housing free from market speculation. Residents and their homes are shielded from the free market, with specific measures prohibiting the sale and marketization of social housing to ensure it remains in the public’s hands, for public use.
Also from their FAQ page, the explanation of “who will pay for it?”, since the city “start-up support” does NOT include funding:
Our initiative follows the path of the Pike Place Market and the monorail. This is a multi-step process. We are setting up the structure and the vision to get this public developer started, then we will begin raising money. We are pursuing several options, but money that is available today will not necessarily be the extent of what’s available tomorrow.
Once the public developer is established, they can receive and request funds from city, state, federal governments, as well as private donations if those donors feel so inclined.
You can read the full text of I-135 here. For a slightly shorter overview, see this page on supporters’ site (which also includes the full text). The House Our Neighbors political committee of Real Change gathered signatures to get it on the ballot. No opposition campaign is registered, so far. Ballots are scheduled to be mailed January 25th. Not registered to vote? Here’s how to do it.
Another infusion of volunteer help was at work this past Saturday at Habitat for Humanity‘s Highland Terrace project in South Delridge. The site in the 9000 block of 15th SW will hold six “permanently affordable” two- and three-bedroom homes that’ll be complete by next summer, to be owned by families earning less than 80 percent of the Area Median Income. Future homeowners help with the construction, too – Penny was among those working at the site on Saturday:
Also there on Saturday was a contingent of volunteers from ADT, one of the companies that has donated to the project.
ADT donated $30,000 to cover the cost of energy-efficient heat pumps for the homes at Highland Terrace. Last month, AT&T sent volunteers to the site along with a $10,000 donation. This is not the first Habitat for Humanity project in West Seattle – others include a 4-unit site near Westwood Village and 20 homes scattered around the High Point redevelopment in the late ’00s.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
On Tuesday, we reported on a microapartment project in The Junction. Across 44th SW from that site is a relatively new all-studio building that is in the process of being sold. That alone is not unusual – a check of commercial real-estate listings will show that apartment buildings are often on the market (and some sell without ever being publicly listed). However, this deal is unique: Post-sale, the Vega Apartments (4528 44th SW) are to be managed as “affordable housing,” according to a letter sent recently to nearby residents. A WSB reader forwarded it to us. The letter reads:
SRM Development is in contract to purchase the Vega Apartments located at 4528 44th Ave SW.
SRM is partnering with the Urban League of Seattle to preserve rents at affordable levels for 99 years and offer resident services. Our goal is to create and maintain safe, quality affordable housing options for individuals and couples in urban Seattle neighborhoods.
The Vega is an existing 5-story apartment building in West Seattle, built in 2017, which includes 58 studio units. It will serve tenants ranging from 50% or below of the Area Median Income (AMI) up to 80% of AMI, which ranges from $45,300 to $66,750 for an individual or $51,800 to $76,250 for a couple living in Seattle.
The acquisition offers a unique opportunity for low to moderate income residents to afford to live where they work and with close access to public transport line, which meets to goals and objectives of the City of Seattle’s Consolidated Plan for Housing and Community Development. We are seeking financing for the acquisition and management of the Vega Apartments in part from the City of Seattle Office of Housing.
SRM and Urban League are grateful for the opportunity to provide and maintain more affordable housing in the West Seattle neighborhood and look forward to being long-term community partners.
The letter also points to a page on SRM’s website which says this is one of six apartment buildings around the city that would be involved in the deal; the others are all outside West Seattle. The information on the page otherwise largely replicates what was in the letter sent to neighbors. It also links to a current page for Vega, showing vacancies for ~240-square-foot studios at rents ranging from $1,325 to $1,425.
So what would change for current and future tenants if this partly publicly funded deal goes through? And will the deal proceed if public funding is not obtained? We have been trying to get answers to those and other questions, but both SRM Development and the Urban League have not responded to our inquiries. The city Office of Housing would only say, through spokesperson Nathan Haugen, “We can confirm that SRM and Urban League have applied for funding … We unfortunately cannot comment any further as we are currently in process of closing out any awards.” According to the Office of Housing’s website, the department was accepting applications through mid-September for shares of $44 million in its Rental Housing Program. The notice says in part:
Seattle OH seeks to fund projects that:
• Combat residential displacement in communities that have experienced and continue to be at greatest risk of displacement.
• Address essential preservation and rehabilitation needs in existing OH-funded properties.
• Deliver new housing in geographic locations that offer access to transit, job centers, and services
According to this industry-publication report, the SRM Development executive who signed the letter about the West Seattle plan was hired by the company last year to head a new “affordable housing” division. One more note: Five of the six buildings involved in the pending deal are owned by West Seattle-headquartered Blueprint. We’ll continue following up.
The first major mixed-use project to be built in The Admiral District in several years is now open. A grand-opening celebration is happening through 4 pm today at Admiral Station Apartments (2715 California SW) – all are welcome to drop by for food (catered by Husky Deli and Puerto Vallarta), a raffle, swag, and tours through 4 pm.
We visited Admiral Station, which has 49 apartments – 12 already leased – earlier this week for an advance tour. Here’s what we saw:
The King County Assessor’s Office has announced that “the annual process of mailing property valuation notices to taxpayers” has begun, and West Seattle property owners will get theirs soon. According to the announcement: “Median residential property values rose by 18.3% in West Seattle, and by 11.4% in North Central West Seattle.” (The median is “half more, half less,” NOT the average.) For the latter, that’s a higher increase than the 8% a year earlier. As decreed by state law, these valuations were set at the start of this year for taxes that will be due next year – these notices are not a bill. The KCAO says a major factor in the rising property values was the continued low inventory of housing for sale, coupled with high demand.
P.S. You don’t have to wait for the postcard to arrive by mail – if your new valuation has been finalized, it’ll show up online; one way to look it up is to use the King County Parcel Viewer to check – once you’ve gotten to the page for your address, click through to the “property detail” page. One more note: If you disagree with your valuation, you can appeal it – here’s how.
We received some questions today about a big deployment of cranes and trucks that took over a block in Gatewood for most of the day, 41st SW between SW Southern and SW Rose. Workers on scene told us they were there to place a prefab DADU (Detached Accessory Dwelling Unit, aka “backyard cottage”). The company involved in this installation was Abodu; permit filings say this DADU was planned to be just under 500 square feet. We weren’t there for the actual placement but it likely looked a lot like this one in Highland Park in early June:
Thanks to Kay for that photo. Same company built that DADU too.
It’s been more than 7 years since the last time a ceremonial groundbreaking launched construction of a residential project in West Seattle. That was for The Whittaker in 2014; today, it was for the first of at least eight West Seattle projects on which Housing Diversity Corporation and STS Construction Services (WSB sponsor) are partnering. This will be a 114-apartment building at 3405 Harbor Avenue SW (previously 3417 Harbor, when we covered its journey through the Design Review process). Before the shiny ceremonial shovels went into the ground, the project was explained by HDC’s Adina Eaton and Brad Padden, STS’s Craig Haveson, and architect Atelier Drome‘s Michelle Linden (whose firm is also investing in the project):
We asked Haveson a few followup questions, starting with a question about the “puzzle parking” he had mentioned in his remarks. This building was planned with 65 parking spaces, and Haveson says that’s only because they’re required by the city – while the project is in a “frequent transit” zone, that only partially reduces the amount of required parking, as the site is not part of an urban village. “Puzzle parking” enables more cars to be parked in less space, thanks to a mechanical system (explained here) that stacks and shuffles them. If traditional lot or garage spaces had to be built, Haveson says, this project wouldn’t have penciled out.
The word repeatedly used for the future apartments, especially by HDC, is “attainable” rather than “affordable”; though there will be some 1- and 2-bedroom apartments, the focus is on smaller spaces. The target residents, Haveson observed, are more into experiences – if their rent is $100 cheaper, that’s “two more dinners out.” The partners also stress the location of this project, on the path to Alki and the Water Taxi dock, a bus ride away from the businesses in The Junction.
WHAT’S NEXT: As we reported four weeks ago, site work has begun; construction of a project this size typically takes at least a year and a half. We asked Padden which of the partnership’s seven other West Seattle projects – all listed on the HDC website – is likely to break ground next; he said 9201 Delridge Way SW and 4448 California SW are the closest.
If you’ve been affected by the city’s pandemic-related eviction moratorium, as a renter or landlord, the city wants to remind you that it’s ending today, and wants to be sure you know about an informational resource. Here’s the announcement:
As directed by Mayor Harrell in Executive Order 2022-02 on the City’s eviction moratorium, the City has set up an Eviction Assistance web page as part of the broader Renting in Seattle online resource. The Eviction Assistance page offers renters and small landlords key information they should know about the expiration of the moratorium, set to end on February 28, 2022, and post-moratorium tenant protections. It also provides links to resources and more detailed information. We will be adding translated information as it becomes available.
The website – seattle.gov/EvictionAssistance – lists resources available to tenants once the moratorium ends, including:
-Free legal assistance from the Housing Justice Project
-Assistance for rent and utility payments due to COVID financial hardships
-Rules limiting eviction of tenants with delinquent rent accrued between March 3, 2020, and up to 6 months after the end of the moratorium
-Rules limiting eviction from September to June based on Seattle Public Schools’ calendar for households with students (childcare—under 18), educators, and employees of schools
For a more complete look at the City’s renter protections look at seattle.gov/rentinginseattle.
$59 million has been allocated for rental assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic to help Seattle renters stay in their homes. This includes a variety of federal dollars allocated to respond to the pandemic, as well as City General Fund designated for rental assistance.
If you live in a single-family home within the city limits, the land it sits on is likely zoned SF 5000, SF 7200, or SF 9600. Those names will go away under a city proposal unveiled in today’s Land Use Information Bulletin. The city already is in the process of changing neighborhood plans to show “neighborhood residential” as the new name for areas that had been “single-family’; now it’s planning to change the actual zoning designations citywide. The notice is an early alert that the City Council’s Land Use and Neighborhoods Committee will hold a public hearing next month. Here’s what the proposal would do:
• Single-Family 9600 (SF 9600) zones would be renamed “Neighborhood Residential 1” (NR1);
• Single-Family 7200 (SF 7200) zones would be renamed “Neighborhood Residential 2” (NR2);
• Single-Family 5000 (SF 5000) zones would be renamed “Neighborhood Residential 3” (NR3); and
• Residential Small Lot (RSL) zones would be renamed “Neighborhood Residential Small Lot” (RSL).
Zoning district names would be updated on the zoning map and in the Land Use Code (Title 23 of the Seattle Municipal Code (SMC)), short-term rental regulations (SMC 6.600), traffic administration regulations (SMC 11.16), street use regulations (SMC Title 15), building and construction codes (SMC Title 22), and environmental regulations (SMC Title 25).
Though there’s talk of eventually changing the actual zoning, all this does for now is change the names. The public hearing is planned for the Land Use and Neighborhoods Committee’s 9:30 am meeting on December 8th; you’ll find the agenda here when it get s closer. In the meantime, you can read the entire 218-page bill here. You can also email comments through December 7th to Noah An in the office of Land Use/Neighborhoods chair Councilmember Dan Strauss; email@example.com is the address.
Introducing West Seattle’s newest luxury waterfront development, Infinity Shore Club Residences (1250 Alki Avenue SW), one of WSB’s newest sponsors, which means they get the opportunity to tell their story:
Set in what is arguably Seattle’s most desirable waterfront location, there is no other new condominium project quite like Infinity Shore Club in Seattle right now. Infinity rests on a stunning stretch of Alki Beach that looks out over Puget Sound to the Olympic Mountains and offers a vista of Seattle’s one-of-a-kind skyline. The building, currently under construction, will house a boutique collection of just 37 condominium estates with more amenity space than other buildings of its size — promising residents the privacy and elevated feel of a luxury resort experience every day.
Residences include one-bedroom-plus-den, two-bedroom, and three-bedroom options, which range in size from 1,108 to 2,382 square feet. In addition to several spacious layouts, Infinity offers a lot of the things home buyers will expect to find in new construction homes: a modern design and large window walls to let the outdoors (and large amounts of natural light) in, brand-new appliances, and high-quality finishes inspired by the project’s natural surroundings. But this community offers so much more!
With multiple shared amenity spaces and unique perks, Infinity ia designed to allow homeowners to live life on the water to its fullest. Residents will enjoy private outdoor terraces that maximize their living space plus access to a shared rooftop terrace with panoramic views, several distinct areas for relaxing or socializing, and firepits around which to cozy up on chilly evenings. They will also enjoy the back deck oasis, with spaces for lounging and entertaining in a peaceful garden environment, and the fully equipped fitness center, pet spa, and storage for bikes, kayaks, and other recreational equipment. But perhaps the most luxurious amenity of all is the infinity pool which, along with a heated spa, sits in a central location between the building’s two residential arms, and allows patrons to swim and relax while taking in the incredible views that only this West Seattle location can provide.
Currently entering its final phase of construction, Infinity Shore Club will be ready for occupancy in early 2022. For those searching for their perfect home at the edge of the shore, this is the ideal time to learn more about Infinity’s floor plan options and availability—take the opportunity to tour and choose the ultimate beachfront home now, while there are still many options available, and be move-in ready by early next year! Pricing starts at $1,149,950.
We thank Infinity Shore Club Residences 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.
Eight years have passed since Seattle City Light declared its ex-substation at 16th/Holden to be surplus, along with several others in West Seattle, and proposed putting it up for sale. The site’s underlying zoning was for single-family housing, but community members counterproposed that commercial development might be better. It was rezoned for mixed use a few years later – as described during a Highland Park tour with then-Mayor Ed Murray in 2017 – but has continued to sit idle.
Now there are some possibilities in play, and HPAC heard about them at tonight’s meeting. City Councilmember Lisa Herbold, who shepherded the rezoning years ago, first explained that City Light still owns the site and remains amenable to a no-cost transfer of the site to the city Office of Housing. So OH and Enterprise Community Partners have been evaluating the feasibility “to explore further what’s possible at the site.” She said they’re opening a dialogue to “get moving on a path forward.”
Enterprise Community Partners’ Jess Blanch explained her organization is national and works on affordable housing from policy to finance to development. “We cover it from end to end.” She directs the program Home and Hope – housing on publicly owned tax-exempt land, like this site. She says “a few issues are in play” – it’s zoned NC-40.”Given the site size [10,000 sf], it is really too small of a site for affordable rental housing, the way (that) is financed.” But affordable homeownership might be a possibility. It would have to be 100 percent “public benefit” for the land to be given for this purpose – that means low-income community members – making no more than 80 percent of the area mean income – would have to be served in its commercial space, such as a food bank or preschool. It could also be live-work space.
Erika Malone from the Office of Housing explained her department doesn’t develop, own, or manage projects so if the property is transferred to them, they would then put out a Request for Proposals. The site would have to be developed as “permanently affordable housing.”
Herbold said that “if there’s interest in a ground-level use that provides a public benefit, it makes it more possible to develop the property for affordable housing.” They wouldn’t be able to do a low- or no-cost transfer if it was going to be ground-floor retail and housing above it – they’d probably have to sell it to a for-profit developer.
HPAC co-chair Kay Kirkpatrick said having commercial space there would be a public benefit in its own way because Highland Park needs more walkable businesses; the guests said that wouldn’t meet the technical definition of public benefit. Kirkpatrick and attendees pointed out that an adjacent property is currently up for sale. But that site (about 5,000 sf) wouldn’t add enough land to make affordable rental housing “pencil out,” said Blanch.
Some brainstorming ensued; community ideas about ways to have a business that served low-income residents included a FareStart-type café, serving the public and training people emerging from homelessness.
So what’s the next step? Herbold said they want to know if HPAC would be OK with a potentially non-commercial ground-floor use. Then the Office of Housing would explore seeking a nonprofit homeownership organization – Community Land Trust, Habitat for Humanity, for example. “There are still a lot of iunknowns regarding what’s possible,” Malone said. Then discussions between oH and SCL would ensue; if they worked out how it could be transferred, Permanently affordable homeownership vs. development that would include bjusinesses – which would mean a for-profit developer.
Enterprise has worked up some concepts, Herbold said. Blanch said she didn’t want to share those publicly but said the site could hold 8 to 10 townhouses, for example. Since the site is adjacent to single-family homes, that puts “some constraints’ on the “developable envelope.” Or, “condo apartments” would be an option.
What kind of a timeline are they working on? Kirkpatrick asked. Enterprise has a contract with the city that’s being renewed at least through next year, Blanch said. So a decision on a direction can apparently wait until early next year (this was HPAC’s last scheduled meeting until January).
(We’ll report on the rest of tonight’s HPAC meeting – two discussions with SDOT – in a separate story Thursday.)
Six years ago, the Beachwood Apartments at 4027 Beach Drive SW were momentarily in the spotlight because of community questions regarding their takeover by Seattle Sober Living. The organization stressed that it wasn’t a halfway house or treatment facility – just a building renting apartments to men committing to drug- and alcohol-free living. The years passed and it didn’t return to our radar until this past weekend, when a reader emailed to say the building looked empty. Checking the Seattle Sober Living website, we found the Beach Drive location was no longer listed; though in 2015 it was the organization’s only location, now SSL lists buildings in Capitol Hill and Kirkland. Unable to find anything else about the West Seattle building’s status, we emailed David Gould, director of SSL then and now (and a West Seattle resident). He replied:
We have found another property in the Seattle area which we believe is even better suited for our tenants. SSL is no longer renting the property at 4027 Beach Dr SW.
Speaking for myself and representing feedback I’ve received from tenants and their families, the West Seattle community is owed a debt of gratitude for welcoming us. This is a beautiful area and hundreds of recovering addicts who have come through the Beach Drive home hold a special place in their heart for this community. Lives have been changed. Thank you, West Seattle.
Alliance Multifamily is managing the building now. While stressing that he wasn’t speaking for the ownership, Gould said he had “heard it was going to be rented as standard housing.” And indeed, when we subsequently went over for a photo of the building, we noticed sandwich boards advertising “Now Leasing.”
That’s the “packet” from Public47 Architects for tomorrow night’s Southwest Design Review Board meeting about the proposal for a new building to replace the Golden Tee Apartments – keeping the name – at 3201 SW Avalon Way [map]. From the packet, here’s the overview:
The proposed 8-story, mixed use project seeks to achieve the following development objectives:
• Provide approx 144 residential apartment units
• Parking for 70-80 vehicles
• Provide +/- 3500 SF of street-level commercial space
• Foster pedestrian friendly sidewalk experience
• LEED Gold construction standard
The review meeting is online, at 5 pm Thursday, and includes an opportunity for public comment on the proposed design, Information for videoconferencing or calling in is on the city website. This could be the final Design Review meeting for this project; the site has been upzoned to 80′ maximum, leading to project revisions, since its first review meeting three years ago.
Almost all the sizable apartment buildings that have gone up in West Seattle in the past decade-plus are participants in the city’s Multi-Family Tax Exemption (MFTE) program. It’s a voluntary program that enables building owners to not pay property tax on the residential portion of their projects, as long as they provide a certain number of units at lower rents pegged to tenants’ income levels. Tomorrow (Friday, September 10th), the City Council’s Finance and Housing Committee looks at legislation that among other things would extend the program – otherwise, nine participating properties will expire this year, after 12 years, including two in the West Seattle Junction, Mural and Altamira. (For an example of how the exemption works, you can look at Mural on the King County Assessor website – the property’s assessed value is $47.7 million, but it’s taxed on $5.7 million of that.) The slide deck for tomorrow’s meeting says 28 apartments at Mural and 32 at Altamira have MFTE-restricted rents. The proposed MFTE changes also could mean lower rents for tenants if they meet new, lower-income levels; otherwise, they’d be grandfathered in at the current rent level. The city says the proposed updates are the result of recent changes in state law. Tomorrow’s committee meeting is at 9:30 am, online; see the agenda for how to comment and how to watch.
We’re continuing to check on stalled development sites. Today, an update on 5242-5258 California SW, the site that includes a former strip mall plus two former restaurants (most recently Papa John’s, closed since 2017, and Thaitan, closed since 2019) north of Brandon. The site is listed for sale again, this time as a “permitted development site” approved for 32 townhouses. The asking price: $7.7 million.
The land is owned by entities traceable to Memphis-based Lexington Asset Management, which bought it in 2018 and 2019 purchases totaling $4.6 million, according to King County Assessor’s Office records. Development proposals for the site went through the city process in stages going back to 2017. The sales flyer for the site calls it “the largest permitted townhome opportunity in the heart of West Seattle in over 20 years,” though Rally – the townhome development at the former Charlestown Café site – isn’t far behind, at 27 units. The flyer also makes note of the closed bridge, observing that “West Seattle Bridge reopens in 2022, which will accelerate home value and rent growth (work is already underway).”
Meantime, the graffiti and trash at the site has led to complaints filed with the city, most recently early this year (we noted a crew placing new plywood over the windows in mid-March, but as our photo above shows, the tagging has been re-accumulating since then).
Construction of the new Lam Bow Apartments (6935 Delridge Way SW) has finally begun, almost five years after a three-alarm fire gutted one of its buildings. In 2019, the Seattle Housing Authority decided the remaining building should be replaced too. Here’s a rendering of the 82-unit affordable-housing building that will replace the two original buildings.
(The project went through Administrative Design Review – public comment but no meetings; here’s the packet by SMR Architects, if you’re interested in design/layout details.) When the city first put the project out to bid last year, no one bid. So they tried again this year, and Walsh Construction was the winning bidder; SHA spokesperson Kerry Coughlin says the contract is for $32 million and that the building is expected to open by spring 2023.
As reported here last month, citywide Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda (a West Seattle resident) is proposing a name change in the city zoning code – dropping “single-family” and replacing it with “neighborhood residential.” Her proposal would not change the actual zoning, just the name, but it’s considered a potential step toward eventually ending what some call “exclusionary zoning.” If you’re interested in hearing more about the name-change proposal, it’s one of the agenda items for tomorrow night’s quarterly meeting of the Morgan Community Association, 7 pm online; attendance info (Zoom or phone) is in our calendar listing. The council is accepting comments now, and plans a public hearing one week from tomorrow, at 9:30 am Wednesday, July 28th – info on that is on this webpage about the proposal.
We reported briefly via Twitter this morning that citywide Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda, a North Delridge resident, is proposing what could be seen as a step toward getting rid of single-family zoning, which she has long opposed – changing its name. From the news release we just received:
Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda (Position 8, Citywide) announced legislation today that will change the name of single-family only zones, a recognition that the term “single family” as used in Seattle’s zoning code is a misnomer, inaccurately describes current uses, and has roots in exclusionary practices.
The legislation, co-sponsored by Councilmember Dan Strauss (District 6, Northwest Seattle), is in response to the Seattle Planning Commission’s repeated request since 2018 to change the name of single-family only to “Neighborhood Residential,” as laid out in their Neighborhoods for All report. The Planning Commission has reiterated this call in their recommendations for 2019/2020 Comprehensive Plan amendments and in their recommendations for analysis for the 2020/2021 Comprehensive Plan update.
“Seattle’s neighborhoods have always been more diverse than the single family only designation would have us believe—from some of the longest-standing and beloved neighborhood businesses, to brownstone apartment buildings built before tightening zoning restrictions, connected housing with shared courtyards, that all allow for residents to live near schools, parks, and services our communities rely on. Changing the zoning title can help reflect the diverse housing we need across our city to support community well-being, walkability and affordability in Seattle, and create a more equitable and inclusive Seattle to accurately reflect our diverse neighborhoods,” said Mosqueda.
“Language matters. ‘Single family’ zoning may seem to some as merely a planning term, but we know historically it has been used to further exclusionary practices and discriminatory policies of the past. If Seattle is going to be an equitable and just city, then we must also apply that same lens to our zoning code. After years of discussion, we are acting on what we know is right to undo the legacy of exclusion that exists within our planning documents — starting with how we talk about our neighborhoods,” Mosqueda concluded. …
The City Council requested this zoning name change be studied by the Executive every year since 2018 in the Comprehensive Plan Annual Docketing Resolution. This proposal would finally implement that recommendation by first amending the City’s Comprehensive Plan to make the change, and then follow with changes to the land use code.
This change will touch many elements of the Comprehensive Plan, including: (1) the Future Land Use Map; (2) the Land Use, Housing, and Parks and Open Space elements; (3) seventeen neighborhood plans; and (4) the Housing appendix.
These proposed changes can be seen on the Land Use and Neighborhoods Committee website at: seattle.gov/council/committees/land-use-and-neighborhoods. The City Council’s Land Use and Neighborhoods Committee will hold a public hearing to receive input on the preliminary proposal on Wednesday, July 28, 2021 at 9:30 AM. Councilmember Mosqueda intends to formally introduce legislation in August as part of the annual Comprehensive Plan update.
See the proposed legislation here. The announcement also notes this would change official neighborhood plans around the city, including, in West Seattle, those for Admiral, Morgan Junction, West Seattle Junction, and Westwood Highland Park.
While this is a proposal to change the zoning type’s name, not the zoning itself yet, it’s been a hot topic in this year’s mayoral and council races, with most candidates voicing support so far for ending “exclusionary zoning.” Mosqueda said during this morning’s council briefing meeting that potential future zoning changes could come in 2023 and 2024.
While a long-in-the-works development plan proceeds for the north side of SW Orchard just east of Delridge Way, there’s now a new one for the south side of the street.
An early-stage site plan has just been filed with the city for 2051 SW Orchard (the site highlighted yellow in the screengrab above from King County Parcel Viewer). The site plan shows 39 townhouses, with offstreet parking in “shared underground garages.” The prospective development team is currently the most prolific in West Seattle – an entity of STS Construction (WSB sponsor) is listed as the owner (though not yet in county records), with architect Atelier Drome. Since this is an early-stage plan, there’s no timetable yet for feedback, reviews, and public comment.
As for the proposal on the north side of the street – city files indicate the 18-townhouse project, which hasn’t yet finished Design Review, is still being actively pursued. That project has a different owner/architect team.
King County’s Eviction Prevention and Rental Assistance Program is now open for applications from renters facing housing instability because of the pandemic. Three weeks ago, we published news of the first phase of applications, for landlords; more than 5,000 properties and 1,429 landlords with 5 or more tenants behind in rent are now registered. If your landlord is getting funding, you don’t have to apply directly; if not, you do. Eligibility information is here. If you qualify, the program will “offer payments for back rent, utility expenses and even future rent obligations,” according to today’s full announcement, which also says that if a property qualifies, “Landlords must agree not to terminate or refuse to renew tenancy until after December 31, 2021, except for special circumstances such as sale of the property or health and safety issues.”
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Another twist in the ongoing saga of the West Seattle Junction’s public parking lots.
A nonprofit housing developer has made an offer to buy the land for future development, according to documents we’ve obtained.
The West Seattle Junction Association has long leased the lots, operating them as parking for customers of local businesses. Its lease requires WSJA to cover the costs of the property taxes for the lots, which finally led, earlier this year, to the lots’ conversion from free parking to paid parking. For years before that, as reported here, WSJA had been trying to strategize how to deal with the six-digit tax bill, which is approaching $200,000 a year. While the parking fees are now covering some of it, they won’t cover all. And, as pointed out in that 2018 WSB story, the lots’ long-term future as developable land has always been kept in mind – it’s a major reason why the taxes have gone up.
With eviction moratoriums continuing, some have asked about support for property owners as well as renters. King County has just opened applications for help in this year’s version of a county program that will help them as well as tenants. The King County Eviction Prevention and Rental Assistance Program is now accepting applications from landlords who have five or more tenants behind in rent. On May 17th, it will start taking applications from tenants. The county announcement includes these points:
*The new program is significantly larger than the 2020 program, with over $125 million available to assist residents.
*EPRAP will help King County residents in danger of eviction by paying past, current, and future rent.
*Landlord sign-ups are being collected first and the Tenant pool will open in mid-May.
*The 2020 eviction prevention program provided rent assistance to 9,073 households countywide and expended over $37 million.
Find out more by going here.
Today we welcome a new WSB sponsor – Mitch Moore with Inspired Home. New sponsors get the chance to explain what they do – here’s what Mitch would like you to know:
I have been an established General Contractor in West Seattle for over 20 years.
Although I have worked throughout Seattle and Bellevue, West Seattle is my home, where I have raised my family and been an integral part of the community and where I focus my work efforts.
My work has been featured in Seattle Met Magazine, Upscale Living Magazine, and I have been awarded accolades by Curbed Seattle, and HGTV.
I personally manage each project and am on-site throughout the day. Your home is my office.
I take great pride that my reputation has been built on being on-time and on-budget.
I enjoy the creative design process, creating new spaces that fit your needs aesthetically and within your budget parameters.
Whether you want your dream kitchen or a simple kitchen change-out, you are ready to finish your basement, finally add a Master Suite or want to remove walls to create an open concept living space, I am happy to help conceptualize and deliver a quality project.
I very much look forward to assisting you with the transformation of your space.
Mitch Moore, Inspired Home
We thank Inspired Home 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.