HALA potential rezones in Urban Villages, District 1; this week in the Budget; Public comment period extended for potential bus stop shelter removals in the West Seattle Junction

HALA potential rezones in Urban Villages, District 1

On Wednesday, November 9th, from 6pm-9pm, the Department of Neighborhoods, the Office of Community Planning and Development and Councilmember Johnson’s office will host the Westwood Highland Park Urban Village Community Design Workshop at Chief Sealth High School Library, 2600 SW Thistle St. Seattle, WA 98126.

This workshop is an opportunity for you to provide guidance on the proposed urban village boundary expansion for the Westwood Highland Park Urban Village and inform the City Council about your vision for how it should look, feel, and function in support of citywide goals for increased affordability, design quality, and housing options.  There are two expansion areas proposed in District 1.  One is the West Seattle Junction, which is designated as a HUB urban village, and Westwood Highland Park.  The later has been designated as a residential urban village with high risk of displacement and low access to opportunity.  (Seattle Urban Village Map). Being within a proposed urban village expansion areas signals the City’s interest in studying these areas for potential growth and change. Urban villages are priority areas for other city policies, investments and programs. The following residential villages are not being expanded, but other changes are still being considered for the Morgan Junction, Admiral Junction and South Park. South Park is also designated as having a high risk of displacement and low access to opportunity.

In addition, on Tuesday, Nov. 29 (tentative date and location TBD) from 5-9pm, the Morgan Community Association (MoCA) will host a meeting in advance of the City’s December 7, 2016, West Seattle meeting (more below) to take comments on the proposed zoning changes, the Morgan Community Association is putting together a District 1 – wide meeting titled Mandatory Housing Rezones in District I. The intent of this meeting is to understand the City’s new Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA) program; to learn how to read the draft zoning changes on the complicated City maps; and identify associated neighborhood planning that needs to accompany the zoning changes. A goal of this meeting will be to empower residents with knowledge about what exactly is proposed so they can provide pertinent comments about the City’s up-zone plans.

Finally, the Department of Neighborhoods; Office of Planning and Community Development; Seattle Department of Parks and Recreation; and the Seattle Department of Transportation have announced that on Wednesday, Dec. 7th, from 6pm-8pm, at Shelby’s Bistro and Ice Creamery (4752 California Ave SW) they will be hosting a conversation around proposed changes to generate more affordable housing, improve transportation services, and make new parks investments. They will also be sharing the proposed new Urban Village maps for West Seattle Junction, Admiral Junction, Morgan Junction, Highland Park, Westwood Village and South Park.  Community members have expressed concern that this meeting is scheduled on the same night that the Southwest District Council has its regular meeting.  My hope is for a solution that results in the greatest amount of participation in this important conversation.

Urban village boundaries will be finalized after Council deliberation on proposed zoning changes to implement the Mandatory Housing Affordability, a new program that will require all new commercial and multi-family residential buildings to either include affordable housing on site, or make a payment to support affordable housing.  The MHA program is one of more than 70 Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda (HALA) Recommendations, many of them related to urban villages including:

  • Increasing the amount of land zoned for multifamily housing, expanding walksheds for transit, increasing amenities and services in those areas
  • Increasing housing options on single family zoned land within Urban Villages
  • Reducing parking requirements for multifamily housing outside of Urban Villages or Centers

In dedicating more land for multifamily housing in and around Urban Villages and more multifamily housing of all types and sizes inside Urban Villages we can – for the first time in our City’s history – also require developers to pay their share to ensure that some of the housing they build is truly affordable to those who need it.  I will continue to have a sharp focus on addressing housing displacement impacts of development as the Council discusses the proposed upzones.

Both the Westwood Highland Park and West Seattle Junction urban village boundary will go before Council in 2017. After the urban village expansion boundaries are proposed the regulatory changes to the boundary or the zoning will still need to go through a rezoning process that also requires approval by City Council. To continue to follow this issue, please sign up to receive agendas for the Planning, Land Use and Zoning Committee.

For additional information check out the urban village growth rate and the 2035 Comprehensive Plan.

This week in the budget

On Wednesday Councilmember Burgess, Chair of the Budget Committee, released an Initial Balancing Package for the 2017-2018 City budget. This reflects changes proposed by Councilmembers to the Mayor’s proposed budget. You can review a summary document, which includes links that provide additional detail.

Next week, the Budget Committee will meet to discuss additional changes. The deadline to place items on the agenda is 5 p.m. on Friday. Three Council sponsors are required; for the previous round, individual Councilmembers could propose changes.

Items I sponsored that are confirmed as added to the Initial Balancing Package include the following.  I couldn’t have done it without you; thank you to all that advocated for these important changes:

  • Funding for the South Park Family Service Center in 2017 for youth support, ESL, parenting, housing, home-visit, and educational programs.
  • Funding to determine the scope and definition of a new Seattle Legacy Business project in order to preserve businesses that contribute to the City’s unique culture and character and are at imminent risk of closure.
  • Funding to enforce local new rental housing regulations
  • Funding for civil legal services attorneys to provide services to Seattle Municipal Court indigent defendants already receiving criminal representation in order to help with civil issues related to housing, immigration, and debt
  • Implementation of Got Green’s Green Pathways recommendation endorsed by the Council in Resolution 31712 in order to identify city internships, apprenticeships, youth employment, workplace investment and job training that can lead to career paths in green jobs.
  • Funding to conduct testing for bias in employment and housing
  • Funding for directed investigations (proactive investigations that do not require a complaint) in the Office of Labor Standards
  • A new line item in the City Light Capital Improvement Plan for $1.5 million in funding for the Fauntleroy Green Boulevard Project for Transportation Relocations, for street light improvements and utility pole relocations
  • A report on the process and cost of code interpretation and legal building site letters (no funding)
  • A needs assessment by Human Services Department for senior services (no funding)
  • Reduction in funding for operations of Pronto bike-share (cut of $300,000 in 2017, $600,000 in 2018); a separate action by Councilmember Burgess, and supported by me, would hold $1.2 million in proposed 2017 funding for a new bike-share system until authorized by the Council
  • Elimination of a Digital Strategist Position in Seattle Public Utilities ($153,000 in 2017, $158,000 in 2018)
  • Increase allocation of Red Light Camera revenue to school zones, to place the use of funds more in line with national best practices to dedicate camera revenue to pedestrian safety uses
  • Funding to develop new Community Service Officer Program eliminated in 2004. The original CSO program connected vulnerable populations with services and provided an important link between the community and the police department. CSOs patrolled areas serving populations such as unsheltered individuals, disabled, runaway youth, and the elderly. They mediated neighborhood disputes; provided basic counseling and social services referrals; participated in crime prevention activities, and prepared a variety of incident reports, among other things. (Councilmember Burgess combined a proposal to develop a program in 2017, which Councilmember O’Brien and I proposed, with funding for a 2018 program, which CM O’Brien proposed, and I supported)

Items I am continuing to work on include:

  • Funding to complete studies called for in the West Seattle Bridge Whitepaper
  • Funding for arts capital projects
  • District Council meeting funding ($6,947 for 2017)
  • Lander Street Overpass full funding
  • Amendment for Council Bill creating Community Involvement Commission to provide for a first review of proposed grant projects by District Councils
  • Police hiring proviso for preference points
  • Hearing Loops for City Hall Boards and Commissions Room
  • Transitional Housing backfill funding for 8 projects serving veterans, homeless youth, immigrants, and domestic violence survivors
  • SYVPI Recreational Programs at the Boys and Girls Club and the YMCA
  • Age Friendly Innovation Fund
  • Child Care Space Mitigation Fund
  • Office of Labor Standards (OLS) Fee Supported Structure
  • Statement of legislative intend for SDOT that requests that they work with the Port of Seattle, the Federal Railway Administration, and the railway companies doing business at Terminal 5, to extend the quiet zone from Terminal 5 to the Delridge Way/W Marginal Way intersection.

More information about these items is included in a blog post from two weeks ago.

Agendas and links to materials are available at the Budget Committee meetings page; here are links to the budget process and schedule. You can sign up for e-mail agenda notices here.

Additional information, including an archive of budget documents from 2009 to the present, is available at the Council’s Budget website. Meetings can be viewed live on the Seattle Channel’s live feed; past meetings can be viewed at the Seattle Channel’s Budget Committee archive.

Public comment period extended for potential bus stop shelter removals in the West Seattle Junction

alaska-ave-sw-sw-44thKing County Metro has announced a public comment period for the potential removal of two bus shelters in the West Seattle Junction. The shelters are on the south side of SW Alaska Street between California Ave SW and 44th Ave SW; the two shelters are the ones closest to 44th, between the alley and 44th.  This would not affect the shelters to the east, between California and the alley. The image to the right shows the bays under discussion.

If you have comments, please contact dale.cummings@kingcounty.gov or call 206-553-3000.

The West Seattle Blog had a story about this, which includes the King County Metro announcement, and additional background information.

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