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.
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.
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.