HALA Workshop @ Seattle Neighborhood Coalition

by Linda Melvin

On Saturday, March 11, 2017, a workshop sponsored by the Seattle Neighborhood Coalition (SNC) featured renowned neighborhood activists Cindi Barker, Greg Hill, and Bill Bradburd as the primary speakers.  The workshop was attended by interested activists from Downtown, Mt. Baker, South Park, Leschi, Central District, First hill, West Seattle, Queen Anne, Wallingford, Ballard, Magnolia, Phinney Ridge, Lake City, and Licton Springs.

The subject:  Neighborhood consequences of the HALA-MHA upzones.

Background:  So far, the University District upzones have been approved.  Up next:  Downtown, South Lake Union; followed by Chinatown/Int’l District, Uptown, Central Area; then “citywide,” which includes all other Urban Villages and Centers (est. to Council late 2017/early 2018).

Lessons learned:  Expect last-minute surprises (e.g., rezones to areas NOT included in HALA plans); insist on “clawback” provisions (i.e., if mandatory provisions are disallowed by the State, then upzones are negated); City Councilmembers generally approve the upzones despite legitimate neighborhood arguments.

HALA Community Open Houses planned

–   Ballard/Fremont, 6:00 pm, Thurs, April 27: Hale’s Ales Brewery, 4301 Leary Way NW

–   North Seattle, 1:30 pm, Sat, April 29: Northgate Community Center, 10510 5th Ave NE

–   West Seattle, 10:00 am, Sat, May 6:  Westside School, 10404 34th Ave SW

Some specifics–Note:  all zoning changes below are within Urban Villages:

–   Single-family zones will become Residential Small Lots (RSL):  cottages, tandom houses, townhomes, stacked homes–all of which allow greater lot coverage and building heights, smaller setbacks, and require less parking.

–   Lowrise 1 zones will become Lowrise 2 or Lowrise 3:  in either case, would allow apartments (e.g., SEDUs [small efficiency dwelling units]); and again, will allow even greater lot coverage and building heights, smaller setbacks, and require less parking.

Additional points:

–   Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) due mid-May 2017 (Geffrey Wendlandt of OPCD is in charge).

–   New development capacities proposed above will increase overall city growth from 70,000 to 95,000 units–well above what is required in the 2035 Comprehensive Plan!

For more information:

–   Go to Seattle.gov, Office of Planning and Community Development:

–   Click on Population and Demographics:   Lots of information to explore on this page!

–   Click on Neighborhoods:

–   Under Land Use Zoning and Permitting, Click on Existing and Future Land Use:  You’ll get a pdf file–scroll down to your Urban Village for a wealth of information–Current “as-is” and future “as-zoned”; note, this is BEFORE HALA proposals!

–   If you want to know how fast you’re growing, Click on Residential Growth Report:  You’ll get another pdf file.  First page is citywide info, details on subsequent pages.

–   If you want to know what’s in the pipeline, Click on Residential Permitting Report:  Another pdf, organized by neighborhood.

One more note–rentals:  Most developers (LLC’s) working within Seattle are actually located outside the City limits.  If you’d like to identify/contact a property owner:

–   Click on:  http://www.kingcounty.gov/services/gis/Maps/parcel-viewer.aspx

–   Click on Parcel Viewer and zoom in until you locate the parcel you want; then click on it.

–   Use the link in the Property Report pop-up to move to the tax records.  Click on the Property Tax Bill button, note where the Account Number is posted, and Click on the Search button.  Compare the address of the property to the mailing address of the tax bill.  Assume that if addresses are different, it’s a rental unit!

And finally, for information geeks, David Ward (Ravenna neighborhood) illustrated how to source actionable data from various sites, and suggested this site for lots of current demographic data:  http://statisticalatlas.com/metro-area/Washington/Seattle/Overview.

Stay tuned for more information.



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