Housing Affordability Update // Crescent-Hamm Landmark // Youth and Family Justice Center // Responding to the President’s Executive Order

Update on the Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA) Timeline

I wanted to make sure that you heard from me first that the office of Planning and Community Development (OPCD) is amending the schedule for release of the draft EIS for the proposed citywide MHA zoning changes and now it is anticipated to come out in May. This will give the community an additional two months to provide feedback before the draft EIS is published. The Department of Neighborhoods (DON) plans to door knock all of the single family homes that are part of the potential upzones. Also, DON and OPCD will conduct another series of meetings in May and June.  In addition, depending on how well the Draft EIS identifies and addresses the issues raised in public comment, which the Council has been compiling, I will consider whether there is a need for additional time for public comment on the Draft EIS.

Upcoming meetings in District 1 neighborhoods:

You can also email Spencer.Williams@Seattle.Gov or call (206) 384-2709 to register for meetings.

More links:


Crescent-Hamm Building Landmark Nominations

On February 15, the Landmarks Preservation Board will consider the designation of the Crescent-Hamm Building (Easy Street, 4559 California Avenue SW) as an historical landmark. They earlier approved its nomination.

The Board also announced they will consider the nomination of the Campbell Building at 4554 California Avenue SW (Cupcake Royale) at the meeting on February 15 at 3:30 p.m.  The Board will meet on February 15 at 3:30 p.m. in Room L280 in City Hall.

I’ve sent a letter to the Landmarks Preservation in support of designating the Crescent-Hamm Building as an historic landmark, and in support of the nomination of the Campbell Building. The nominations were proposed by the Southwest Seattle Historical Society.

To be designated, a building must be at least 25 years old and meet at least one of the categories listed under SMC 25.12.350. The first step the Board takes is to approve the nomination; the next step is to approve its designation.

If designated by the Board, a Controls and Incentives agreement is negotiated with the property owner; once signed, it is forwarded to the Board for approval at a public meeting, then sent to the City Council for approval.


City Grant Program Changes

The Department of Neighborhoods (DON) recently announced changes to the two city grant programs.

First of all, DON announced changes to the Neighborhood Matching Fund, which provides $3 million in awards in 2017. The changes increase the limit for the “small sparks” fund, available year-round, from $1,000 to $5,000. The “Community Partnership” fund will be for projects between $5,001 and $100,000. Applications will now be available three times a year. DON has also expanded eligibility, to allow community-based groups and District Council organization to apply. Recurring community events will be eligible for funding every other year, instead of only once.

DON will host a workshop about the Neighborhood Matching Fund on Tuesday, February 7 at Neighborhood House at 6400 Sylvan Way SW, Room 207B, for anyone interested in the program. Registration details are here.

Secondly, DON announced that the Neighborhood Parks and Street Fund will be using the Participatory Budgeting process in 2017 to award $2 million in grants for small-scale parks and streets projects of up to $90,000. $285,000 will be available for each of Seattle’s seven Council Districts.

Eligible projects include:

  • Street projects such as traffic calming (traffic circles, median islands, speed feedback signs, etc.) or short segments of sidewalk construction (less than 100 feet, or one third of a block)
  • Parks projects such as include accessibility improvements, trail/path maintenance and upgrades, park benches or tables, natural area renovations, minor playground improvements

DON is calling this use of participatory budgeting Your Voice, Your Choice. The Your Voice Your Choice program has four steps: idea collection, project development, public voting, and implementation.

Last year it was used citywide for youth aged 11-25 to vote; they voted to approve seven projects in voting in May of last year.

Idea collection is taking place during February, and is designed to be low-barrier. You can submit project ideas online here. Public meetings for in-person idea collection are listed here; the South Park Neighborhood Association is listed for February 14. If you’d like to have DON attend a meeting, contact Jenny Frankl at jenny.frankl@seattle.gov.

If you’d like to be part of the project development team (all 7 districts will have them), you can sign up here. These teams will select around 8 to 10 projects for voting in June. Voting will take place within each of Seattle’s 7 Council Districts.

If you’d like to facilitate a discussion, here are resources from DON:

Examples of projects funded through the 2016 Neighborhood Parks and street fund are here.


Letters re: Juvenile Detention Portion of the Proposed Youth and Family Justice Center

Earlier this week Mayor Murray sent a letter to King County requesting the County take a second look at the design of the proposed new juvenile detention center.  Both the City of Seattle and King County have stated that zero detention of youth is a policy goal.  Though we have made strides in reducing the numbers of youth incarcerated, the racial disparity of those in detention has increased.

I sent two letters regarding this project last year. The first was to the Director of the Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections, and requested that he carefully consider issues raised regarding the permit application and request for a waiver for building standards.  This permit is currently under appeal.

The second letter last summer was sent to King County, requesting, given the reduction in youth detention and the promise of new detention reduction programs to reap additional reductions, that they “consider a third-party needs analysis of the proposed juvenile detention portion for the Youth and Family Justice Center,” along the lines of a 2011 study by the National Council on Crime and Delinquency regarding Baltimore’s youth detention facility.

King County Executive Constantine also released a statement regarding the project, which notes King County Superior Court’s use of youth restorative justice.


In Memoriam: Cass Turnbull, Peter Sherwin

We recently lost two Seattle activists who have contributed greatly to our city’s wellbeing.

Cass Turnbull passed away last weekend. She was a tireless advocate on behalf of natural areas and trees. She founded PlantAmnesty, and served on the board of TreePAC.

Cass played a big role in helping to save the Myers Way parcels for future open space use. The effort to save these parcels depended on community activism from Top Hat, Highland Park, South Park and Westwood/Roxhill/Arbor Heights. Its success also depended on support from citywide groups such as the Green Spaces Coalition and TreePAC. Cass helped build citywide support on short notice, organizing presentations for people across Seattle.

In response to the City’s decision to preserve the Myers parcels, Cass wrote me saying, “One of the three brightest days of my life was when I heard Myers Parcels was to be saved. Let’s do more.”

She will be missed.

Peter Sherwin also passed away earlier last month. He was one of the most honest and straightforward people I’ve ever met.   He was fun, he had a big heart, and an incisive sense of humor. He understood change efforts had to capture the imagination.  This was most evident for me in his slogan for his labor of love, Rise Above it All, the monorail expansion effort.

He was involved in countless civic endeavors and campaigns over decades, and was always willing to share his creative ideas, suggestions, and research, most recently information he’d found about Pronto.  Thanks to Peter, I’ll always remember to consider all the facts – even the sometimes politically inconvenient ones.

He too will be missed.


My Comments in Response to the President’s Executive Order

Last Wednesday, I participated in a press conference in City Hall Plaza, in response to the President’s order on immigration. You can see my comments at the Seattle Channel, in my capacity as chair of the Council’s committee that oversees Civil Rights issues regarding the removal of the words “civil rights” from the White House website, Spanish translation, and information for people with disabilities.

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