Neighborhood groups try to halt new microhousing rules in fight for tighter restrictions on aPodments

DPD's map of microhousing activity in Seattle -- there are probably a few new projects that need to be added. CHS has reported on the concentration of aPodment-type developments on Capitol Hill.

DPD’s map of microhousing activity in Seattle — there are probably a few new projects that need to be added. CHS has reported on the concentration of aPodment-type developments on Capitol Hill.

In October, CHS reported that the City of Seattle was “seeking feedback” on new rules proposed to regulate microhousing and expose the developments to the public design review process.

A group of community organizations has, indeed, provided its feedback — in the form of an appeal that seeks to reverse a recent decision to move the proposals forward and halt any in-progress microhousing development.

The “authorized representative” on the formal appeal of the Department of Planning and Development decision is Capitol Hill resident and land use activist Dennis Saxman. CHS has reported on Saxman and Hill-based group Reasonable Density Seattle’s push for more restrictive rules for boarding house-style projects in which developers are free from existing design and environmental reviews that typically would be triggered by standard apartment construction. Microhousing developers and density advocates say the more open standards are necessary in neighborhoods like Capitol HIll where open affordable apartments are nearly impossible to find.

The Cortena at 227 Boylston (Image: aPodments)

The Cortena at 227 Boylston (Image: aPodments)

The appeal — the full appeal statement is below — contends the DPD’s determination of non-significance for the proposed microhousing regulation did not follow appropriate standards:
Screen Shot 2013-11-13 at 8.32.47 AM

It calls not only for the reverse the DPD decision but to halt permits on any new microhousing projects:

Screen Shot 2013-11-13 at 8.34.02 AM

West Seattle Blog, who first reported the appeal, detailed the timeline for the appeal to the city’s Hearing Examiner with a pre-hearing conference taking place today, November 13th, with the appeal hearing set for January 7th. Hearing Examiner procedures are public but there is no public comment allowed during the process.

The microhousing issue isn’t the only case critical to Capitol Hill’s development future coming in front of the Hearing Examiner in the new year — she’ll also consider an appeal of a decision on increased requirements for developers who seek to benefit from Pike/Pine preservation incentives.

Meanwhile, even as the groups seek to stem the tide of aPodment-type development, Capitol Hill is seeing a pulse of projects involving multifamily alternatives like rowhouses and townhouses that also don’t trigger design and environmental reviews.

The new microhousing regulations will also require City Council approval before taking effect. Those hearings have not yet been scheduled.

W-13-008 APPEAL_00001.pdf

9 thoughts on “Neighborhood groups try to halt new microhousing rules in fight for tighter restrictions on aPodments

    • Maybe instead of making laws specific to a tiny percentage of new construction, we could simply upzone the entire city? That way developers wouldn’t have to find tiny legal cracks to fit apodments through. This won’t be the last time builders get creative to fill the (very large) demand for housing on the Hill and Seattle.

    • I agree. There are already plenty of them in our neighborhood, which has been disproportionately affected (along with the U District) with these abominations. Ban them….now!

  1. I’m thinking back to the good old days when I lived in group houses, and four people were separated by sheets in the basement, one person would be sleeping in the living room, and eight people would be sharing the four bedrooms upstairs. The kitchen was shared by all 13-19 of us, and nobody ever washed the dishes because the person who had last used the sink hadn’t washed them either. And then there would be intricate scatological identifying discussions about whose dog had gone on the carpet, which became a moot point when the stuff had dried out, been ground into dust, and become unrecognizable, and therefore not worth the trouble of firing up the vacuum cleaner.
    I’m just thinking of that because the a-pods have shared kitchens. It’s probably not relevant. Just ignore me.

  2. I have no problem with aPodments.

    I DO have a problem with them being built without any environmental impact reviews. They shouldn’t be treated different from a conventional apartment building. They are apartments and should be treated as such.

  3. Pingback: Local Development Roundup: November 2013 • Seattle Bubble

  4. Pingback: City considers curbing building heights in response to outcry from neighborhood groups | CHS Capitol Hill Seattle

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