Capitol Hill Community Post | Miller Park YAY-bors

From Miller Park YAY-bors

Recently, a group of our Miller Park neighbors–dubbing themselves the “Madison-Miller Park Community” joined with other groups in filing an appeal of the City of Seattle’s implementation of the Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA) Final Environmental Impact Statement. (FEIS). These groups hope to slow down or stop the implementation of the pending Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA) program that would build new affordable homes for our neighbors who ​desperately​ need them.

Like many Miller Park residents, we were disappointed in our naysaying neighbors. In response, we have formed a different local group, the Miller Park YAY-bors.

Over the last few years, we had all heard about the City’s proposed plan to make housing affordability mandatory. The program works by coupling needed growth with necessary affordability, tying slight one-to-two story upzones with affordable housing mandates on new development. The specific upzone in our neighborhood, immediately adjacent to Miller Park’s bustling mixed-use commercial strip, will create more than 1500 new homes in our community out of nearly 95,000 citywide, including 11,000 affordable homes citywide, so that more people can live in Seattle.

We stand with our fellow pro-housing advocates who rewrote the traditional neighborhood script earlier this month​ when the crowd at a Magnolia meeting came out heavily in favor of more housing on the Fort Lawton site in Discovery Park. Advocating a similar pro-housing position, we support the affordability upzones in Seattle, and we plan to file a legal brief of our own that supports making affordable housing mandatory: Yes, in my backyard. We believe that being a welcoming city means opening up fantastic Seattle neighborhoods like Miller Park to more Seattleites by reforming Seattle’s rigid and outdated zoning code.
Miller Park is a great place that any Seattleite should be able to live in. Personally, our favorite thing about the neighborhood is a very basic component: our neighbors. Finding kindred spirits is as easy as sitting down at the local bar and ordering a drink or walking into your apartment building lobby–like one of our members did one night last year, coming across a stack of red and white pro-housing posters–with an accompanying note with a call to neighbors who support making Miller Park more welcoming.

This note matches our sense of Miller Park, a neighborhood that had already set a precedent for putting out the welcome mat: with one of Seattle’s premier low-cost health care facilities, Country Doctor, as well as a nearby affordable housing complex.

Miller Park, and Seattle in general, should be a place that people from all along the economic spectrum can call home. That idea is currently in jeopardy. Inflexible zoning laws and limited public funding prevent us from adding more housing in many neighborhoods, especially affordable housing. These affordability upzones will correct those outdated rules and generate more resources at the same time.

Housing production across the city has not kept pace with our incredible population growth. According to Dan Ryan with the Seattle Transit Blog, “Last year, the population of King County grew 48,600, or 2.3%. The housing stock grew 14,700, or 1.6%. The gap, 0.7%, is a rough measure of our failure to create enough

housing.” That’s an out-of-whack ratio. And the gap between what’s available and what’s needed has created a spike in housing prices, leading to a housing affordability crisis in our city. By enacting the MHA upzones in Seattle, we can address this gap and begin to ensure that we add to our affordable housing stock as Seattle grows.

Extending our welcoming neighborhood values, the Miller Park YAY-bors want our sliver of Northeast Capitol Hill to be one part of the collective Seattle effort to change these outdated regulations and be a welcoming city to all.

To support the pro-housing upzones, join the Miller Park YAYbors when we attend the District 4 upzone hearing, February 12, 2018, 6:00 PM, at the Eckstein Middle School Auditorium. For more information, you can email the YAYbors at miller-park-yay-bors@googlegroups.com or Patience Malaba at patience@seattleforeveryone.org.

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22 thoughts on “Capitol Hill Community Post | Miller Park YAY-bors

  1. This is awesome!! I was also super unmotivated by some of the Miller Park residents – just a complete lack of understanding on how our city is changing.

    Yay! <3

  2. Thank goodness some people don’t want to close the doors behind them! Miller/Madison Park Homeowners can go SHOVE it. So what if there is some affordable housing near your over priced 100 year old POS house, the more the merrier. The lower income levels will help add diversity to an extremely homogeneous white group of pretentious folks that choose to live over there! Hard to believe that Seattle is a liberal city when there are SO many people that think like these naysayers. Yay for the the real instigators of change!

    • The funny part (well, more like depressing part) is that they say they *used* to be diverse- they keep repeating it in public meetings. But what they mean by “diverse” is “not all of us are rich.” Now it’s even more white than ever but instead they choose to hold tight to this myth of diversity (“we’re artists and teachers and blue-collar workers!”) without seeing the reality of housing scarcity and central-city homogeneity (communities of color getting pushed outside the city more and more.)

      Honey hate to break it to you but if you own a house IN THIS ECONOMY…you rich. That’s wealth.

    • BS Nettles – a house is only realized as wealth if you can/want to sell it and get something less expensive – in other words – leave. Not to mention the housing market is volatile – just because prices are up right now doesn’t mean they will stay that way forever. Not to mention the carrying costs – taxes, insurance, maintenance, loan interest….

      Consult any financial planner – a house that you live in is NOT an investment. It’s a place to live. It is stability and peace of mind, but not an investment….

    • Housing is wealth. If you own equity in a house, you can borrow against it at much lower rates than, say, a credit card offers. Financial planners don’t consider a first residence to be an “investable asset,” but it’s still an asset, and hundreds of thousands of area residents are sitting in gold mines right now thanks to our restrictive and exclusionary zoning laws.

    • Wrong on both counts Jason…. I am not a financial planner, but I am a practical person and I can read… (these are just two examples – there’s much more about this available)

      https://www.moneyunder30.com/why-your-house-is-not-an-investment

      https://www.entrepreneurmag.co.za/advice/personal-wealth/personal-finance/why-your-house-is-not-an-asset/

      and second loosening zoning laws is making housing prices soar…. Look at tax records – the value of existing houses has plummeted the value of land has skyrocketed. Because builders know they can outbid anyone who just wants a house to live in, the price of houses that should be inexpensive – old fixer uppers, butt ugly out of style ones, even uninhabitable ones have been pushed up artificially high – yeah a developer can afford to pay $800,000 for a crap house when he knows he can tear it down and build 6 cheaply made condos that will themselves sell for still $800,000 each…. people looking for an affordable house to fix are now completely SOL.

    • Your house is both an asset and an investment. Historically houses haven’t been high-returning investments — they’ve returned barely more than inflation since the 1940s — but they are investments nonetheless. Your home is also an asset. It has carrying costs, as do many assets, but at the end of the day you own it and you can treat it as collateral for loans as you would with any other asset. To say otherwise makes for good headlines but is not rooted in fact.

    • CD, if you had bothered to read the article you found on DuckDuckGo, you would see that despite its headline, it treats housing as an investment and evaluates its investment returns, concluding that it is not a “good investment” in that other investments return higher percentages and have lower carrying costs while also having lower utility (i.e., you cannot live in them). Likewise, that South African article you found on a search for “home is not an asset” cautions people that homes have carrying costs and so can have a negative cash flow, making them more complex assets to own than, say, stocks. You are choosing to endorse the catchphrases of authors like Robert Kiyosaki, not the definitions of financial experts, whom you have rejected on grounds of a lack of shared identity.

      To read pages that I agree with, here’s a web search link: https://duckduckgo.com/?q=%22home+is+indeed+an+asset%22&atb=v84-2__&ia=web

    • LOL -did you look at that list…. a blog, a person who guarantees to get you out of debt, a plumber in Georgia who is a real asset…

      Vet your own sources before you vet mine…. I get the funny feeling people like this one who is a professor are more credible.

      http://www.businessinsider.com/wharton-professor-home-not-an-investment-2016-10

      Your home is not an asset – you cannot even realize any gains you might be lucky enough to have made after you pay off your mortgage, interest, repair and maintenance cost, taxes, etc *unless* you leave it, in which case you will still need to purchase another form of shelter. It’s not just easy money, like you are trying to make out. I’ll bet you think a car is an asset too….

      As far as your assertion that you can get a home equity loan… yeah- if you are stupid and like risk and interest… No thanks.

      I bought my house because
      a) I did not want to be beholden to anyone about what I could and could not do in it – I can have pets if I want them, paint the walls chartreuse if I care to, remodel when and how I like, cook totally stinky food without having to care about the upstairs neighbor, do aerobics at 3am….
      b) I like the predictability and stability of owning rather than renting – no wondering or worrying that rents will rise or that the building might sell and be converted to condos – or torn down for something bigger….

      I plan and always have planned to keep this home until I cannot physically live in it. It is neither an investment – it is my HOME.

    • I’ll leave you with dictionary definitions to argue with.

      asset, n. A useful or valuable quality, person, or thing; an advantage or resource

      Your house is a useful or valuable thing. It is an asset.

      investment, n. Property or another possession acquired for future financial return or benefit.

      Your house is a property that you acquired for future benefit, to have a place to live in without being bound by the terms of a lease. It is also providing a financial return to you by having increased in value, allowing you to borrow against your equity. It is an investment.

      Please send your future responses to the editors of The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language.

    • LOL – I’m talking about the real world – yeah, by the dictionary anything you own at all is an “asset” – yeah you could sell it all and maybe have a pile of money – but then you wouldn’t have shelter, clothing, food or transportation…

      Have fun with that…

  3. I live in this zone and I dispute your characterization of the up zones as “slight” – in my area the up zone would be allow for more than double the height of the average house on the street with tiny setbacks. The zoning is entirely inappropriate for this street and also a slap in the face to us who live here and were on board with the recent previous rezone – that one is really just beginning to show results, which have been good. To come and want to double dip us has just made people angry. I’m not sure where you are, but not one of my neighbors that I have spoken to thinks this is a good idea.

    • This upzone also only hits the areas where there are still middle class families living. It does not touch areas adjacent which have more expensive (1.5mm and up) houses, but which are equally close to the transit line, miller park, and the new 19th ave e commercial areas.

  4. I assume the new development in this area would come under the HALA plan. If so, the group is kidding themselves if they think their area will have more affordable housing. Developers will not include many (if any) affordable units in their new buildings, because they make more money building market rate units. Instead, they will pay into the housing fund, and affordable developments will occur in less desirable areas of the city, where land costs are lower.

  5. “Approximately 65 percent of Seattle’s land—not just its residential land but all its land—is zoned single-family, severely constraining how much the city can increase housing supply,” the report reads. “Among its peer cities, Seattle has one of the highest percentages of land dedicated exclusively to detached single-family structures and a small number of accessory dwelling units.”

    We should be upzoning the entire city. All of Seattle has about the same amount of housing as Manhattan… THAT IS ABSURD. We live in an urban city, we should build like an urban city.

    AND we should ensure that we have these developer fees in place to build affordable housing.

    AND we should encourage developers to pay into the affordable housing fund so that housing WITH services is built for our most vulnerable neighbors.

    AND we should force the city to utilize ALL feasible surplus land for affordable housing projects.

  6. I just got home from the MHA/HALA community event at Washington Hall and learned of your group.

    Appears there is some misunderstanding about the “Miller Park neighbors-dubbing themselves the “Madison-Miller Park Community””. The Mad-Miller group did not come together in hopes of slowing or stopping the implementation of MHA/HALA. The group came together in support MHA/HALA goals to roll up our sleeves and work with the city/council to optimize the zoning plans to meet density and affordability goals in the Madison-Miller Urban Village (one of the 28 city-defined Urban Villages in Seattle).