Seattle passes Mandatory Housing Affordability plan to allow its densest neighborhoods to become even denser

A North Capitol Hill resident made his case against Eastlake upzoning prior to Monday’s vote

Four years and 40 Seattle City Council meetings later, the plan to surgically allow taller and more multifamily-packed development in the city’s densest neighborhoods including Capitol Hill has been approved.

“We’re embracing growth by embracing inclusion,” council member and Mandatory Housing Affordability committee chair Rob Johnson said Monday before the vote. “And we’re embracing inclusion by changing plans that were made 25 years ago.”

The vote Monday ran 9-0.

The MHA plan ties upzones in 27 of the city’s densest neighborhoods to the creation of affordable units and will transition a reported 6% of Seattle’s current single family-zoned property. Continue reading

One dead in 14th/Yesler apartment fire

(Image: Seattle Fire)

One person was found dead in a two-alarm apartment fire overnight in the Yesler Place building at 14th and E Yesler.

Seattle Fire was called to the scene around 12:30 AM Monday and found a second story unit in the 2005-built, 12-unit building fully ablaze.

Firefighters quickly brought the fire under control before flames could spread beyond the unit or to the building to the south.

SFD says the blaze was mostly contained to the unit where the body was found. The Medical Examiner was called to the scene and will handle determination of a cause of death and identification of the victim.

Four units in the building were not able to be reoccupied overnight, Seattle Fire said, and Red Cross was requested to assist the victims.

Seattle Fire is conducting an investigation into what caused the blaze. UPDATE: Investigators have ruled the cause of the fire as undetermined pending autopsy results, Seattle Fire says.

Total estimated loss was estimated at $295,000.

Capitol Hill homeowners mount last-ditch effort against MHA upzoning… in Eastlake

The view from Harvard Ave E (Image: CHS)

They know they are probably too late. They know that after a multi-year journey of hearings, community meetings, public comment, and legal challenges, the Seattle City Council wants the Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA) legislation, which connects affordability mandates to upzoning parts of the city’s densest neighborhoods, to reach its destination during a final vote Monday afternoon. Perhaps they even know Monday’s vote is basically pro forma, as council members have worked on it for years and voted unanimously to advance the legislation last month.

And, yet, a group of North Capitol Hill homeowners, along with the Eastlake Community Council, is trying to fight the upzoning of a seven-block-long (and mostly half a block-deep) sliver of I-5-bordering properties in Eastlake. The amendment for zoning increase, from low-rise to mid-rise with a height limit of 80’ on Boylston Ave. E and a short stretch of Franklin Ave. E was recently introduced and approved by the city council as part of a series of amendments that scaled back upzones across neighborhoods and increased some others. Continue reading

CHS Pics | Seattle Youth Climate Strike — ‘We don’t have any more time to waste’

(Images: Margo Vansynghel for CHS)

Under an early spring sun, hundreds of students and some parents and supporters rallied on Capitol Hill Friday on the turf of the Bobby Morris Playfield for the Seattle Youth Climate Strike.

The students came to Cal Anderson from schools across King County, including Garfield High School, Thornton Creek Elementary School, Nathan Hale and Sammamish High School. They skipped school to demand legislative action on both local and state levels in Washington, adaptation of the Green New Deal to shift to 100% renewable and clean energy, and the declaration of the climate crisis as a national emergency. Continue reading

Seattle responds to Christchurch with sadness, efforts to make Washington safer for Muslim and minority communities

3-year-old Muca Abdi is reported to be the youngest victim in the attack (Image via @KhaledBeydoun)

Local leaders and organizations have responded to the murders of the Christchurch terror attack with sorrow, denouncement of the hate behind the act, and updates about making things safer for Muslim and minority communities in the aftermath of the killings that left dozens dead in New Zealand.

“This cowardly act is additional evidence that hate is on the rise. Now, more than ever, we must work to combat hate and heal together – because an attack on one community is an attack on all our communities,” the AntiDefamation League – Pacific Northwest said in a statement. “In an act of solidarity and allyship, we recommend that you search for your nearest vigil and show your support by showing up.”

CAIR-Washington and the Muslim Association of Puget Sound will hold an interfaith vigil Monday night in Redmond. Continue reading

Cards *for* Humanity: Capitol Hill woman part of growing industry around helping Seattle — and beyond — make friends

(Image: 365 Meaningful Conversations)

(Image: Jake Boling)

Audrey Phillips is not great at small talk. She’s more of a listener. People have always felt comfortable sharing their stories with her. Once, she was seated next to an older man on the plane from Seattle to New Jersey. She asked him how he was doing. They ended up talking about his divorce for the rest of the flight. Phillips was 15.

Another time, when her car wouldn’t start, Phillips checked in with the woman on the phone from AAA roadside assistance. “It seems like you’ve had a hard day,” Phillips remembers telling her. She had. They talked for two hours about the woman’s daughter and her brushes with the criminal justice system.

For friends and family of the former ski instructor and wilderness guide, it came as no shock that she would carve a job out of skipping the small talk to go straight to what matters. With her one-woman-business, 365 Meaningful Conversations, Phillip’s doing that by organizing events where people “can genuinely connect.” Continue reading

Design for Midtown: Public Square and its ‘art plan’ set and ready for construction at 23rd and Union

The redevelopment of Midtown Center and the most significant thrust in the wave of change transforming 23rd and Union can finally move forward toward a start of construction later this year.

The design review board has given its final blessings to the plans for Midtown: Public Square, a three-piece, seven-story apartment development with more than 400 apartment units, a quasi-public central plaza, and underground parking for around 250 vehicles set to rise above the land home to the old shopping center.

In December, the project was kicked back in the design process over concerns about the large installations of art panels hoped to help the project better reflect the culture and the history of the Central District. Continue reading

Reminders: student climate strike at Cal Anderson, 43rd District town hall

There are a couple civic-minded events taking place around Capitol Hill to keep in mind to start the weekend. You’ll find kids rallying to save the planet in Cal Anderson and updates from our elected representatives at a town hall on First Hill.

Friday, hundreds of students are expected on the turf at Bobby Morris Playfield for the student-led Seattle Climate Strike:

Seattle Climate Strike

Organizers at the Seattle branch of the worldwide March 15th effort say they are fighting for “radical legislative action” and the Green New Deal.

Saturday, join your 43rd District electeds for updates on the 2019 legislative session in Olympia.

43rd Legislative District Town Hall

CHS looked at some of the key bills in motion from Sen. Jamie Pedersen and Rep. Nicole Macri here.

A ‘citadel of beauty’ on E Olive Way? Rose Temple set to rise from ashes of doomed speakeasy

By the Pound created a financial mess — but good bones for a new bar


Life — especially Capitol Hill nightlife — finds a way. The fully built-out bar space where financially doomed speakeasy By the Pound sputtered to an early death last year will spring back to life this April under new owners.

Rose Temple from two first time bar owners is set to rise from the court document-littered ashes on E Olive Way.

We don’t know much about the concept but Rose Temple is being opened by business partners Austin Polley and Benjamin Smith. Polley left as manager at Westward under Renee Erickson’s restaurant group last year. The bar’s new website touts a planned April opening. Continue reading