The Miller Park Neighbors community group’s rallying cry encouraging residents to organize to address proposed increased building heights under the Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda drew about 100 people to a Wednesday meeting.
Jonathan Swift, a member of Miller Park Neighbors, said the goals of the group include preserving the neighborhood, keeping it diverse and making it affordable.
But it was hard to find many examples of clear support for the city’s HALA proposals and with elements like a presentation from Wallingford anti-density advocate Greg Hill, it was hard not to see the proceedings under a “not in my backyard” light.
Greg telling us that developers and the Mayor have a handshake agreement to break the law pic.twitter.com/mrvrnhUPtz
— David Seater (@dseater) February 16, 2017
Jack Thompson, a leader in one of the small groups attendees broke into for discussion at the meeting, has lived in the neighborhood for 40 years. The diversity the group aims to keep applies both to the people living in the neighborhood and the housing options, he said. “We have a little bit of everything here,” Thompson explained.
Last month, CHS reported on a split on Capitol Hill — those living in already dense areas generally support the proposed upzones and changes, while many of those living in less dense areas generally, well, don’t. That fault line is especially apparent around the Miller Park neighborhood where the area around the Miller Community Center is slated for a boost to mostly 40-feet for townhouses, row houses, or apartments with 7 to 10% affordability. Near the southeast corner of the Miller Playfield, a 50-foot zone and 11% affordability is proposed. The current proposals upzones all single family housing in the neighborhood.
However, some Miller Park residents Wednesday night said they are in favor of more density. Miller Park Neighbors draft principles, they say, include protecting single family homes as a part of the area and prioritizing new affordable family housing and retaining setbacks and established trees. Some residents in the small group felt that to make the neighborhood more affordable, density needs to increase.
“If we want more families, we need more density,” resident JR Fulton said.
Ashley Jefferson said the group he helped to facilitate wasn’t all against increased density but wanted to ensure affordable housing is a part of any new waves of construction.
Another group felt the neighborhood is dense already, but acknowledged affordable housing is important, and more is needed in Seattle.
“But this way might be too much, too damaging and (the group) would like to find a different way to do it,” the group facilitator said.
The meeting Wednesday nigh held at the Holy Names Academy aimed to prepare Miller Park residents to speak about their ideas and thoughts on proposed zoning changes at the city’s Madison-Miller Urban Village Community Design Workshop on February 28th. The city is using the workshops in areas across Seattle to refine the HALA proposals.