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

Hearing Examiner knocks down one big barrier to Seattle Mandatory Housing Affordability program

A barrier to Seattle’s plan for Mandatory Housing Affordability upzoning in its densest neighborhoods has been breached as the city’s Hearing Examiner has ruled against a coalition of neighborhood groups calling for further review of the program.

In the ruling released late Wednesday afternoon, the Hearing Examiner upheld the city’s environmental review of the program across most of the 55 points brought against MHA in the coalition appeal. “On review of the entire record, the level of environmental analysis under the FEIS (Final Environmental Impact Statement) satisfies the rule of reason in all aspects except historic resources, and the Department’s determination of adequacy should be confirmed,” the examiner writes. Continue reading

Final pieces of Seattle’s 2019-2020 $5.9B budget puzzle: Navigation Team funding, food banks, and red-light camera revenue

The Navigation Team during a cleanup along I-5 (Image: City of Seattle)

With reporting from Seattle City Council Insight

The march to complete Seattle’s 2019-2020 budget is proving a real slog at the top as the process now has about 95% of the plan in place after an epic nine-hour Seattle City Council meeting earlier this week that included votes on a mind-numbing 188 agenda items.

The final pushes around polishing the Durkan administration’s first budget proposal and setting Seattle’s next nearly $6 billion city budget pivot –unsurprisingly — around how to spend the small portion available out of those millions on improving the city’s approach to homelessness and affordable housing. Continue reading

Liberty Bank Building: vision of equitable development, great views of the CD

A ceremony to celebrate a financial boost to its vision of inclusive development also provided en opportunity for an early tour of the nearly completed Liberty Bank Building Monday in the Central District.

“I’m a product of the Bronx, New York. Raised in Baltimore. Used to having a lot of diversity in our lives. Coming to the Pacific Northwest, I was stunned and a little lonely for a while,” Regina Glenn said Monday inside the under construction building. “Coming to this project it reminds me of that pulling together that we had.” Continue reading

Sawant finds no support on ‘legal and viable’ affordable housing proposals

District 3 representative Kshama Sawant found no support from her fellow City Council members Tuesday in her fight for increased spending for affordable housing as Seattle City Hall plods to a conclusion of the 2019-2020 budget process.

“What is not acceptable to me or the movement that is fighting for this is to do nothing or do very little,” the frustrated councilor said.

During Tuesday’s session, none of Sawant’s fellow council members were willing to join the Socialist Alternative firebrand in pushing a series of budget amendment proposals born of the “People’s Budget” process. Continue reading

Sawant and the People’s Budget rallies for increased funding for affordable housing, shelters

Socialist Alternative Party community organizer Kailyn Nicholson introduces Council member Kshama Sawant as the first speaker at the People’s Budget 2018 at Seattle City Hall, Saturday, October 6, 2018. This was Sawant’s fifth year hosting the People’s Budget. (Image: Ryan Phelan)

By Ryan Phelan, UW News Lab/Special to CHS

Concerns for affordable housing, homeless shelters, tenants rights, workplace protections and Indigenous Peoples Day stoked criticism of the mayor’s proposed budget at the People’s Budget rally hosted by District 3 representative Kshama Sawant on Saturday.

“This budget that Mayor Durkan has proposed this year is not even a business as usual budget,” said Kailyn Nicholson, a community organizer for Socialist Alternative, Sawant’s political party. “This budget is even worse than that. This budget is flat out regressive.”

The People’s Budget, hosted at City Hall, is a political movement that rallies yearly for progressive change in the proposed Seattle budget. Several speakers and attendees focused on affordable housing initiatives. Less than 1% of Mayor Jenny Durkan’s proposed budget is allocated for affordable housing, Sawant said. Continue reading

‘Seattle Rainbow Housing’ — Study shows affordability crisis hits LGBTQ seniors even harder

Capitol Hill Housing is planning LGBTQ and senior affordable housing at 14th and Union

A report commissioned by the city’s Office of Housing found that there are several key challenges facing seniors in Seattle’s LGBTQ community, including inadequate services, lack of stable affordable housing, and high rates of discrimination and bias in housing.

“We wanted to understand the LGBTQ senior housing and service needs in the local area, especially given how the cost of housing is increasing,” Karen Fredrisken Goldsen, a professor in the School of Social Work at the University of Washington, said. “Certainly there are concerns regarding the lack of housing affordability and accessibility in Seattle, King County.”

The report, led by Fredrisken Goldsen, found that Seattle “is falling behind other major metropolitan areas in addressing LGBTQ housing and senior needs.” Meanwhile, cities like San Francisco, California have invested millions of dollars to address the needs of LGBTQ older adults.

“With LGBT older adults, if they lose housing, it’s often difficult for them to secure new housing,” Fredrisken Goldsen said. Continue reading

Seattle approves prioritizing affordable housing in city land sales

The sales pitch for the “Mercer Megablock” — a valuable chunk of city-owned land being put up for sale — is geared around Seattle’s expensive luxury housing market (Image: mercermegablockseattle.com)

Even before the final vote was taken, affordable housing advocates were pushing to put the new policy to work on Seattle’s “Mercer Megablock” Monday afternoon as the Seattle City Council approved new rules for how the city sells off its surplus land.

CHS reported here on the prioritization for affordable housing in the surplus property disposition policies built on Teresa Mosqueda’s work to reshape how Seattle sold off Seattle City Light land.

The new legislation applies to all city-owned property and “sets a policy that requires the city to prioritize using surplus land for affordable housing, parks or open space, child care, early learning and educational facilities, light rail station area development, and community and economic development,” according to an announcement from the City Council.  Continue reading