Seattle forms Middle-Income Housing Advisory Council to address ‘missing middle’ housing needs — UPDATE

(Image: City of Seattle)

When it comes to Seattle’s largest problems, Mayor Jenny Durkan likes to have a posse.

Durkan announced Monday morning that a newly formed Middle-Income Housing Advisory Council to address “missing middle” housing needs will meet for the first time later in the day at City Hall.

“As the City continues its focus on addressing housing needs for low-income residents, the Advisory Council will work to identify investment strategies and related tools to help close existing market gaps and attract significant capital investment to build more for-rent and for-sale homes that are affordable to Seattle’s middle-income wage earners,” the announcement reads. Continue reading

Building by building, apartment by apartment, Capitol Hill short-term units coming back on market for long-term renters

This week, you could rent eight apartments in 15th Ave’s Murray Hill building for short-term stays. That will change by May 1st.

Seattle affordability warrior, before you begin your wave of Capitol Hill vigilantism against buildings you believe are skirting the city’s new short-term rental regulations, chill out and wait until May.

“We are planning a mixture of long term rental and Airbnb,” Cathy Qui tells CHS about the plan — within 120 days — for the Murray Hill Apartments, the 15th Ave building she and her husband purchased for just over $4.1 million last March. Continue reading

Here is where Seattle City Council is considering backing off Mandatory Housing Affordability changes on Capitol Hill — UPDATE

“Replacing the house at 16th and Thomas” (Image: Kate Clark via Flickr)

The City Council committee shepherding Seattle’s Mandatory Housing Affordability legislation toward eventual reality will continue its work Wednesday fine-tuning the plan’s upzoning — block by block.

New amendments could mean areas like Capitol Hill’s Miller Park neighborhood won’t see some of the big changes originally proposed, moves that will slice some of the more ambitious upzoning on the Hill but compromises that could also quell concerns from neighbors worried about taller buildings. Continue reading

City Council begins work to address Seattle’s eviction problem

86.5% of eviction filings in the study were for nonpayment — more than half of those were for one month or less of unpaid rent (Source: Losing Home report)

Last year, a study of Seattle evictions showed disproportionate impacts to women and Black renters in the city and how evictions are tied to rising levels of homelessness and housing insecurity. In the first step toward working on legislation to address problems around evictions, the Seattle City Council is working on a new Eviction Prevention Resolution hoped to be introduced later this month.

“”I think the way we’ve structured this resolution is to be less focused on the identification of particular solutions, but instead working from the Losing Home report lifting up their identification of the problems and laying out a timeline for the council to work on identifying the solutions necessary to address those problems,” Civil Rights, Utilities, Economic Development, and Arts Committee chair Lisa Herbold said Tuesday in a discussion of an early draft of the resolution, below. Continue reading

Microhousing still has a home on the Hill on Harvard Ave

A trio of single-family style homes that have somehow survived in the heart of Capitol Hill at the corner of Harvard and Denny for some 116 years will make way for a planned seven-story building with 80 or so new apartment units. But first the 102 Harvard project must pass through design review. The process begins Wednesday night.

Design review: 102 Harvard Ave E

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Mandatory Housing Affordability zoning changes planned for March vote

View the city’s MHA proposal maps here

The City Council is planning a March vote on Mandatory Housing Affordability upzoning hoped to further stem the tide of Seattle’s expensive rents and impossible house payments.

The council’s MHA committee meeting met for the first time in 2019 Monday to begin the process of sorting out amendments to the proposal before a February 25th public hearing on the plan and the March 18th vote hoped to bring the multi-year process to fruition. Continue reading

‘Community interest’ — Newly formed Central Area Board will have say on Midtown: Public Square

A key Central District project to create a set of seven-story mixed buildings at 23rd and Union is ready to finish off 2018 Wednesday night with what many hope is the final step in a multi-year design review process spanning two different developers.

An important group will be on hand to see the process through.

The City of Seattle’s Department of Construction & Inspections tells CHS that the members of the newly created Central Area Design Review Board will be part of the December 19th review joining the East Review Board that has been overseeing the process since the first look at a project from a previous developer in early 2017.

Design Review: 2301 E Union

“Based on community interest, the East Board has agreed to incorporate members of the newly created Central Area Board into the recommendation process for this proposal,” a city rep tells CHS. “While the permit application was vested to the previous design review board district boundaries, the property owner has voluntarily agreed to incorporate members of the Central Area Board into the discussion and recommendation process.” Continue reading

At Capitol Hill open house on Seattle single-family zoning, calls for big change, affordability

Representatives from the Seattle Planning Commission chose Capitol Hill to meet with community members Monday night to discuss the findings of a report that officials say shows major changes to Seattle’s single-family zoning are “necessary for the city’s future.” CHS stopped through the lobby of 12th Ave Arts to talk with people who showed up.

“Restoring the flexibility in housing types seen in Seattle’s historic residential neighborhoods is critical if the city is to achieve its goals of being a diverse, equitable and sustainable place to live,” a statement on the new “Neighborhoods for All” report reads.

Alex Broner, who says the housing issue is a personal one to him after struggling to afford it in Seattle in the past, thinks this report is a “good foundational step,” but wanted to know how the city transitions from the findings into policy that reflects the suggestions of the commission, which included encouraging more compact development on all lots.

“People whose housing is threatened or who lack housing really start falling down in terms of their ability to take care of themselves in every other way,” Broner, director of the Housing Now advocacy group, said. “It seems like something a society should be able to get its handle on, but we seem not to.”

“It’s only a first step, it’s only a foundation, we have to keep going. We need to, I think, allow these realizations to kind of liberate us from some old ways of thinking.” Continue reading

With Capitol Hill ‘open house,’ planning commission report recommends shake-up of Seattle single-family zoning

Representatives from City Hall and the Seattle Planning Commission will be at Capitol HIll’s 12th Ave Arts Monday night to talk about a newly released report that officials say shows changes to single-family zoning are “necessary for the city’s future.”

“Restoring the flexibility in housing types seen in Seattle’s historic residential neighborhoods is critical if the city is to achieve its goals of being a diverse, equitable and sustainable place to live,” a statement on the new “Neighborhoods for All” report reads.

City reps will be on Capitol Hill to talk about the report’s findings and the strategies the commission says should be implemented by Mayor Jenny Durkan and the Seattle City Council to begin “a return to the mix of housing and development patterns found in many of Seattle’s older and most walkable neighborhoods” across Seattle.

Seattle Planning Commission ‘Neighborhoods for All’ report release event

Among the findings: Continue reading

Once lined up for microhousing, Capitol Hill’s Roy Vue wins landmark status

From a plan to gut and fill in its namesake garden courtyard with microhousing apartment units to setting the groundwork for landmarks protections that will preserve its architectural features for years to come — the 94th year of existence for Capitol Hill’s Roy Vue Garden Apartments has been a big one.

In a pre-holiday vote last Wednesday, the Seattle landmarks board voted unanimously to make the Roy Vue a landmark and extend the city’s protections to the building’s exterior, central arcade, and, importantly, the site’s courtyard and elevated garden spaces. Continue reading