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City planning Broadway Hill Park rollout of Seattle Mandatory Housing Affordability proposal

Broadway Hill Park (Image: CHS)

A Capitol Hill neighborhood park born thanks to a failed multifamily housing project is the planned site for City of Seattle Mayor Tim Burgess’s rollout of the citywide Mandatory Housing Affordability proposal.

City Hall departments are planning for the Thursday announcement at Capitol Hill’s Broadway Hill Park but neither the mayor’s office nor the Office of Planning & Community Development have yet confirmed the event. In a city struggling with intense affordability issues and only a short time left on the clock before the new Durkan administration moves in, the announcement of rezoning proposals in neighborhoods across the city is a sensitive one.

UPDATE: Confirmed!

The announcement of the citywide proposal will solidify the MHA plan for the required Environmental Impact Statement process and will represent City Hall staff’s distillation of months of community and online feedback on the alternatives. Don’t expect the proposal to mirror either of the two alternatives discussed for Seattle neighborhoods and Capitol Hill — we looked at the Capitol Hill and Central District components here — thus far. “It will be more of something in the middle,” one City Hall staffer told CHS.

Explore the live MHA Draft Zoning Changes Here

Flashpoints to watch for in the proposal will be around the Miller Community Center which could be slated for a boost to mostly 40-feet for townhouses, row houses, or apartments with seven to 10% affordability. Near the southeast corner of the Miller Playfield, a 50-foot zone and 11% affordability was also being considered. For the Capitol Hill core around Broadway and Pike/Pine where redevelopment has already been heavy, the proposed changes are less dramatic though changes could be coming to both sides of Broadway between Howell and E Roy where an upzone would allow for seven story buildings with commercial use throughout. You can see what the Capitol Hill Renter Initiative had to say about the citywide alternatives here.

If and when it happens, the planned setting of the citywide MHA announcement in what could be the last of its kind park in the dense blocks of Capitol Hill just above Broadway is likely part of the message. Broadway Hill officially opened in July 2016. Seattle Parks acquired the land at the corner for Federal and Republican in 2010 for $2 million after a townhome project slated for the property fell through.

Concerns about crowding and loss of open space are just part of the pushback officials have faced from neighborhood groups aligned against the Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda process.

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7 thoughts on “City planning Broadway Hill Park rollout of Seattle Mandatory Housing Affordability proposal” -- All CHS Comments are held for moderation before publishing

  1. Unbelievable. It was nice to have a park that I could take my infant son and safely enjoy the summer. Please don’t let this park disappear.

    • I can understand being concerned that the park will no longer be safe for mortals to use, after Tim Burgess has performed a ritual there. Why can’t he do it at City Hall?

  2. Although volunteer park is only a few blocks away and plenty of families are homeless, you have to wonder about our priorities here.

  3. If the city approves the MHA alternative that will rezone everything between Pine and Roy, and 10th and 16th, to 85 feet (like what’s west of Broadway now), that park may lose a lot of light.

  4. The Renter Initiative page includes this statement, in support of midrise zoning east of Broadway:

    “Alternative 2 is distinguished by a larger upzoned area, from lowrise to midrise, east of Broadway. This upzone would lead to a higher level of affordability requirements, M2, that would help preserve the economic diversity that we love about our neighborhood. ”

    Are they under the mistaken impression that so-call “affordable” units have to be built in the new buildings in the neighborhood, rather than elsewhere where it would be cheaper? Do they not realize that upzoning incentivizes the replacement of older buildings and will likely gentrify the hell out of the area? Whose Kool-Aid are they drinking? Are they yet another front group for developers?

  5. Single-family homes on Federal and 10th are already getting ripped out in pairs to build 29-unit SEDU apartment buildings–with *no* affordable units to be built or funds to be paid. The Seismic Retrofit ordinance is going to drop in the next few months, which will lead to many owners of unreinforced masonry buildings to bail out. Change, displacement, and the loss of many current buildings *is happening already.* If you think gentrification hasn’t already been going on, or won’t continue with or without MHA, get a clue.

    For an area that is so close to LINK light rail, the First Hill streetcar, and (soon) the Madison BRT, there is no better place to allow future growth to go as high as possible, with as little parking as possible. The taller the building, the more likely that MHA will produce on-site performance instead of payment in kind. And even in cases where developers pay the fees, that will be a much, much better outcome than what we’re getting now, which is ugly and too-small buildings, not nearly fast enough for everyone who wants to keep living here.