Two big items on Sound Transit’s agenda for lots of affordable housing on Broadway, First Hill — UPDATE

UPDATE 3:35 PM: The Sound Transit board approved both motions Thursday afternoon paving the way for a “no cost” transfer of two First Hill properties to nonprofit developers Bellwether Housing and Plymouth Housing and, in the second vote, putting in place a memorandum of understanding between the transit agency, Seattle Central, and Capitol Hill Housing for a swap of Capitol Hill properties. Details on the plans are below.

In public comments, Bellwether’s CEO Susan Boyd called the joint proposal with Plymouth “a bold plan” that will create much needed affordable housing on First Hill.

Board member and Seattle City Council member Rob Johnson called the First Hill proposal “very consistent with what the community asked for” and said the neighborhood’s “YIMBY” spirit was reflected in the plan.

King County Executive Dow Constantine said affordable housing is now central to Sound Transit’s mission as it also works to provide transit to the region’s growing population. Pierce County Executive Bruce Dammeier, meanwhile, voted against the motion saying he was troubled by the “no cost” aspect of the plan as a “dangerous precedent.”

Additionally, the board also approved a motion on a plan for “Central Transit-Oriented Development” near the Roosevelt light rail station that will involve Bellwether and Mercy Housing Northwest.

Original report: Sound Transit’s board is scheduled to make two key decisions on property it owns across First Hill and Capitol Hill that will potentially open the way for big deals around affordable housing and and expanded Seattle Central.

The Sound Transit Board will vote Thursday whether to move forward with two land deals.

One motion paves the way negotiate with Plymouth Housing and Bellwether Housing in a purchase of Sound Transit land at 1014 Boylston Ave and 1400 Madison meant for high-rise affordable housing, up to 160 feet.

“We thought in viewing their proposal that their numbers were reasonable,” said Sarah Lovell from Sound Transit. “It is an expensive project. It’s expensive to build a high-rise. But stacking two housing project increases their ability to get subsidies. They’re trying to be really efficient with their design.” Continue reading

Plan would turn Seattle Central property at Broadway and Pine into homeless youth facility, housing

(Image: CHS)

Thanks to the watchful eye of Representative Frank Chopp (D-34), a Seattle Central College building at Broadway and Pine will likely turn into a hub of homeless youth services and, hopefully, a new apartment development replacing one of Broadway’s last surface parking lots.

Last winter, the college put out notice that they were seeking development partners for two Broadway properties. Per the law, public agencies are required to publicize it first to other government agencies. That’s when it came across Chopp’s desk.

“We did a tour of the site a while ago and it clearly is an ideal site for it,” Chopp tells CHS. “If you look at where the homeless youth congregates, it’s in Capitol Hill and the U District.” Continue reading

Ramen Hill: A brief tour of Capitol Hill’s ramen goodness

The recipe that has peaked the summit of Ramen Hill has some recurring ingredients: A legendary Japanese ramen house brings its proprietary broth recipe and one of a kind noodles to America, usually through a subsidiary or franchise, with one of its first if not only locations right here on Capitol Hill. Other recipes — like tiny Ooink — are entirely unique. But the trend is undeniable — Capitol Hill is now filled with ramen.

By CHS’s count, only four new Japanese noodle places have opened up on Capitol Hill in the past year. But with a small wave of openings in recent years, we have now reached a point that must be near broth saturation point. Below, join us for a brief tour of the newest slurp-y goodness now available to warm your rainy days on the Hill. Continue reading

Man suffers burns in incident outside Broadway drugstore

A man was burned and taken to the hospital Friday morning after reportedly setting himself on fire in front of businesses at Broadway and E Olive Way.

Seattle Police units were the first to arrive at the corner around 8:30 AM to a report that the man was on fire. Seattle Fire arrived as SPD was assisting the man. According to a department spokesperson, Seattle Fire paramedics rushed the man to Harborview for treatment of burns. He was reported in stable condition. Continue reading

Two days, two pedestrians hit on Capitol Hill streets

A pedestrian was injured after being struck by a driver Thursday afternoon at Broadway and John, a Capitol Hill intersection already targeted for safety improvements due to recent collisions and close calls and increased activity in the area around Capitol Hill Station.

Seattle Fire and police were called to the busy intersection just after 1:30 PM to the reported collision. According to Seattle Fire, the person who was struck was being transported to Harborview. We should know more about the patient and their condition soon. UPDATE: SFD tells us the person struck was an adult female who was transported to Harborview in stable condition. A witness report via Facebook said the woman may have suffered pelvic injuries. Continue reading

75 feet up and down Broadway — Seattle ‘Preferred Alternative Zoning’ plan released

With reporting by Kelsey Hamlin

With Mayor Tim Burgess’s noon press event in a Capitol Hill park to kick off the next phase in the process, officials have released the first look at the “Preferred Alternative Zoning” proposal at the core of Mandatory Housing Affordability, citywide changes intended to help create some 6,000 units of “rent restricted homes” across Seattle by connecting affordability mandates to upzoning parts of around 6% of the city.

“Today we continue our push to address Seattle’s housing affordability crisis,” said Burgess in the city’s announcement (in full at the bottom of this post. “With this plan, we will extend our requirement that new developments contribute to Seattle’s affordable housing supply. We’ve already implemented this requirement in the University District, downtown, and elsewhere. Now it’s time to bring this requirement to other high-opportunity neighborhoods so that we can hasten our progress in building a more inclusive and equitable city.”

“The MHA is not just about affordable housing,” said Seattle City Council member Rob Johnson. “It’s about the terms of those units.”

The City Council will consider the proposal and hold public hearings before the plan is finalized. New affordable housing units created under the plan must maintain their rates for 75 years.

“It’s a very long piece of legislation,” Johnson said. “Each of these individual neighborhoods requires some TLC [Tender, Love, and Care].”

You can view the newly released map here and navigate to specific addresses. Hashed areas indicate proposed zoning changes. The proposal comes after months of public feedback after the framework for MHA was first set last fall.

Additional public feedback is expected to run over the first six months of 2018. Johnson predicted legislation for these changes wouldn’t actually happen until July or August 2018.

The proposal released Thursday morning includes 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 — Continue reading

Election Day on Capitol Hill and the Broadway ballot drop box is busy

It is Election Day in Seattle. Or, really, Election Night — the first drop of early voting counts will hit sometime after 8 PM. Don’t worry. You still have time to vote. And you don’t need a stamp — just a pen.

CHS stopped by the friendly neighborhood King County Elections ballot drop box Monday. The blue and white, tough as nails security box was already doing brisk business with Capitol Hill and Seattle Central voters. Continue reading

CHS Ink | A special edition with Hugh, a Broadway regular

(Image: Tiffany Fetters)

Frequent CHS Flickr Pool contributor Tiffany Fetters shared some details of a recent Capitol Hill tattoo session that makes for a very “special edition” of CHS Ink. Meet Hugh, a Broadway regular who recently got his first tattoo after decades on Capitol Hill. Continue reading

Review board says Bonney Watson development needs better connection to Cal Anderson Park

Mill Creek Residential will need to take another crack at their plan for two mixed-use apartment buildings that will eventually rise on the site of Broadway’s Bonney Watson Funeral Home.

At Wednesday night’s meeting of the East Design Review Board, board members asked the developer to come back after presenting them with a laundry list of more details they want to see before the project moves on to the next phase. Continue reading

Moving on from streetcar extension plan, city also ditches Broadway bike and street improvements

At the end of 2016, CHS reported that a $28 million plan to extend the First Hill Streetcar north on Broadway — and, in conjunction, improve the streetscape and extend the street’s protected bike lane — was put on hold by City Hall and changes in the Capitol Hill business community. 2017 was supposed to be a year for revisiting the plan.

No need. $3 million worth of planning for an extension and the street changes will remain packed away and some of the millions already collected from grants to make the construction happen is now being handed back.

“I would describe it as indefinitely deferred,” the Seattle Department of Transportation’s transit and mobility director Andrew Glass Hastings tells CHS. “That project is pretty much designed. That design is still useable should we decide in the future, in conjunction with stakeholders up on Capitol Hill.” Continue reading