￼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means opening up fantastic Seattle neighborhoods like Miller Park to more Seattleites by reforming Seattle’s rigid and outdated zoning code.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 firstname.lastname@example.org or Patience Malaba at email@example.com.