Here’s a tip. You should tell the Seattle City Council’s Select Committee on Mandatory Housing Affordability all about the 94-year-old gem of a Capitol Hill apartment building and why it should be preserved and not have its insides ripped out and converted into microhousing.
Just make sure to save time in your public comment to also voice your support for raising building heights and allowing a wider diversity of uses in Capitol Hill’s core. The District 3 and District 7 MHA Public Hearing is Monday night.
If you are unable to attend, you can send your comments via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The proposed MHA zoning changes for Capitol Hill and the Central District include transitioning Broadway from around Cal Anderson Park all the way north to beyond Roy to 75-foot height limits and “neighborhood commercial” zoning that would allow seven-story buildings with commercial use throughout. Some of the bigger changes would also come around the Miller Community Center where planners are now proposing a less aggressive upzone than one potential alternative had originally proposed. Moving toward the Central District, most proposed changes are focused on the area around Madison and 23rd with notable exceptions around 23rd and Union and 23rd and Jackson where surgical upzoning has already been approved. Under the MHA framework, affordability requirements chained to the upzoning vary by “scale” and developers can choose to pay fees instead of including the rent-restricted units.
Critics have dinged the proposals from all sides. If fears that the changes threaten Seattle’s neighborhood fabric don’t get you, maybe the concerns over developers piling up affordable housing in less desirable areas of the city will work to scare away your support. We heard from both critics and supporters here at a recent open house held at Washington Hall. But if you really want to push back on an economic market where it makes more sense to convert a well-maintained, popular Capitol Hill apartment building into space for small efficiency dwelling units, you’ll probably want to have something positive to say about making more room for the thousands of people who want and need to move to Seattle. They are coming whether you like it or not.