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