The Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA) program rewards developers and speculators, while Seattle residents pay the price. This “Grand Bargain”, devised by Seattle’s Mayor and City Council, promises to destroy established communities, displace thousands of low- and middle-income residents, and reduce family-scale housing options. Importantly, MHA doesn’t guarantee affordable housing concurrent with new development in affected neighborhoods.
The MHA program applies to all multifamily zones in Seattle. In Urban Villages, all single-family properties will be rezoned to multifamily. In exchange for providing a miniscule number of new affordable housing units, MHA allows developers to build larger and taller buildings. Currently affordable old housing units will be torn down to provide market rate housing that only high income earners can afford. Every new MHA building will increase the cost of housing in Seattle. Continue reading
by Shirley Nixon and Nancy Bocek, co-leads of Livable U District
Increasing allowable building heights in the U District by 400% to nearly 500% in many cases (current 55’, 65 and 85’maximums to 240’ and 320’) is a too massive and unnecessary upzone!
The U District is indeed to become a sacrifice zone, with its unique character destroyed forever. We need to tell our elected officials that this upzone proposal is unacceptable, unsupportable and unfair. But Council Member Rob Johnson seems determined to vote it out of his PLUZ Committee and adopted by the full council in just a few short weeks.
If this is to be prevented, City Council members must hear now from residents and independent business owners who want a more Livable U District and First Things First instead of an upzone ordinance that will only blanket the community with taller densely packed buildings, less livability, and more displacement.
Where do we fit in all this? Dispelling the myth that this upzone is what “the community” wants and needs. Continue reading
The West Seattle Junction Neighborhood Organization, JuNO, sent a letter to City Council requesting a six month delay on the HALA draft proposal before proceeding to an Environmental Impact Study or EIS. Please see the attached letter for an outline of their concerns, which include a lack of neighborhood outreach by the city and not enough time for the neighborhood to responsibly study and respond to the proposed rezones.
If you would like more info on JuNO and how to get involved, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
by Lisa Parriott
In 2012, Dianna McLeod, a senior citizen, called the City of Seattle’s DPD and asked if her side yard was a buildable lot. She was told no. Immediately following, developer Dan Duffus bought her property, split the lot in 2, built and sold a towering toaster box house on the new lot for a large profit.
Our neighbor, a senior citizen, contracted with a professional real estate agent to sell his home with a large side yard. His north Admiral (West Seattle) property sold for $505,000 less than 14 months ago to developer Cliff Low. He now lives in a trailer park in Puyallup. On January 12, 2017, 9AM @ Seattle Municipal Tower in Parriott vs. City of Seattle, the neighbors will make the case to the City’s Hearing Examiner that the side yard is not a separate building site, based on a 1957 City LU Code loophole – Historic Lot Exception. If unsuccessful, Cliff Low will have secured a vacant lot in Seattle for little to no money. He will be allowed to squeeze a towering toaster box home onto the side yard and walk away with over $400,000 profit. Continue reading
by Shirley Nixon:
Attached is a 2015 map showing property parcels in the U District, and whether the parcel owner voted for or against expanding the U District Business Improvement Area (BIA). If the parcel is shown in red, the owner objected to the expansion and having to pay a BIA assessment. Blue parcels voted for the BIA. Light purple parcels are owned by the UW and not assessable in the traditional sense. White parcels are single family, townhouses, or multifamily of three units or less, which are not taxable. (Condominium buildings were deemed taxable as “businesses” even though composed of multiple single-family units; which is a whole other sore spot….)
You’ll note that there are vastly more red parcels (by a factor of about 4 to 1) than blue parcels. Continue reading
by Jon Lisbin
The Seattle City Council is considering massive upzones in the University District as the first implementation of it’s “Inclusionary Housing” strategies throughout the city.
Truth is, if I was Mayor, I may have taken the same approach. Put together a panel of experts and stakeholders to come up with strategies to address Seattle’s affordable housing crisis. Unfortunately, that’s where intelligence ended and corruption began. The composition of HALA (Housing and Livability Agenda) Committee was heavily weighted toward developers and their interests. The resulting skewed report was biased towards special interests. Continue reading
by Linda Nash and Jim Hanford
2016 will be the hottest year on record. Atmospheric carbon levels are now higher than they have been in 4 million years. Seattle has admirably made the commitment to carbon neutrality by the year 2050. Locating new housing and businesses near transportation is an important step. But that alone is not enough. One-third of Seattle’s energy use comes from buildings. Continue reading
A series of documents have been posted on the “What’s Happening” tab, and under the “Growth with Affordability” link. In the Citywide Implementation of MHA box on this page are the following three documents related to the EIS scoping.
The City of Seattle is proposing amendments to the Land Use Code to implement Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA) for multifamily and commercial development meeting certain thresholds. MHA would require developers either to build affordable housing on-site or to make an in-lieu payment to support the development of affordable housing throughout the city. MHA is expected to create a total of 6,000 new affordable homes over the next 10 years for lowincome families and individuals. To implement MHA, the City would make changes to the Land Use Code to grant additional development capacity in existing commercial and multifamily zones and in areas currently zoned single family in existing or expanded urban villages. A summary of the current draft of the additional development capacity in each zone can be found here: Continue reading