HALA TEAM ISSUES RESPONSES TO FREMONT/WALLINGFORD RESIDENTS’ QUESTIONS
The Fremont neighborhood includes East Fremont, a pocket east of Aurora Avenue of mixed zoning including a single family zone, which was designated as the Wallingford Urban Village decades ago. Now Seattle proposes upzones in the urban villages, and East Fremonsters have been active in learning more. Many attended a March Open House in Wallingford to ask questions. Now the Seattle HALA Team has responded. Most detailed is this feedback to the Wallingford Open House. East Fremont, as part of the Wallingford Urban Village, is classified as a Lower Density Urban Village, that is “Urban villages with substantial amounts of lower-density or lower-intensity zoning, including existing Single Family zoning within an urban village, or large percentages of Low-rise zoning.”
The HALA team has put together a great deal of detailed information about the HALA process so far, including their responses to neighborhood questions across the city. They write: “Over the course of the last several months we have hosted or visited over 78 events and meetings across Seattle (that’s over 2 per week!). At every event we attend, we listen and take note of what we hear from you. As we move into a new year, we have summarized much of what we’ve heard so you can read a snapshot of what the city is saying about our affordable housing efforts. Below are a few of the summaries we have created. There’s more to read and look at on our website.
Some of the answers of the HALA Team responding to questions asked at the March Open House and detailed here include these :
“…If we have enough capacity now, why are we asking for more through HALA? Zoning changes happen for a variety of reasons, not always to add development capacity. The HALA zoning changes will add development capacity for the purposes of implementing the Mandatory Housing Affordability program to create affordable housing.Under state law RCW 36.70A.540 (Affordable Housing Incentives Program), cities can mandate affordable housing if it provides a benefit, like additional development capacity. We will not get affordable housing in commercial and multifamily zones where additional development capacity is not implemented. This change is necessary to ensure the city’s future growth addresses our critical housing affordability needs.
“When will there be a meeting to decide if Wallingford will up zone? Not when but if it will up zone. The Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda (HALA) is a citywide agenda, and the proposals will be implemented at a citywide level. Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA) is a new requirement for developers of each new commercial and multi-family residential development to either include affordable housing as part of their development, or make a payment to support affordable housing in Seattle. In exchange for creating affordable housing, developers will be able to access additional zoning capacity
“…Can rezoning happen incrementally? Could it be duplexes vs. large apartment buildings? The rezoning proposal is scheduled to be sent to City Council in early 2017. The proposal will include changes to all zones at that time. It will also include where new zones will be applied. In the case of Wallingford, it will include changes that are specific to Wallingford, and other Urban Villages. While we have the conversation about what zone will be applied, and where, we will be soliciting community feedback on these changes. In Wallingford we heard that transitions from larger development to smaller development is important, as well as other principles that can help guide growth. Over the next few months, we will be reaching out to residents to receive more input on what should be reflected for the community in any zoning change. …”
Update posted Jan. 3, 2017
HALA (Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda) & Seattle 2035 Comprehensive Plan
New development Dec. 13, 2016: “Seattle Neighborhoods – A Victory 13 December 2016 Update–It is with great relief that I report that the Hearing Examiner just released her decision powerfully agreeing with us – ‘ordering that the DNS is reversed and is remanded to OPCD for preparation of an EIS consistent with her decision.’
https://web6.seattle.gov/Examiner/case/document/6828 In reading thru her decision, it was satisfying to recognize that she agreed with almost every point we made. I will write later but just wanted to get this to you ASAP.. A very good day for the people….. Congratulations! Queen Anne Community Council Land Use Review and Planning Committee (LURC) Martin Henry Kaplan, AIA, Chair”
Here’s the latest update from the City: HALA update September 2016 and from the Mayor’s Office October 17, 2016. In part, the Mayor’s Office states, ” no MHA zoning changes will be proposed for single-family areas outside of Seattle’s Urban Centers and Urban Villages” and ” In the coming days, OPCD will release draft zoning maps for all areas where MHA will apply, which can be found at www.seattle.gov/hala.” http://fremontneighborhoodcouncil.org/new-zoning-maps-released-by-city/ And, Mayor Ed Murray will be signing into law the final Seattle 2035 Comprehensive Plan at 1:30pm on Fri., Oct. 28 at Seattle City Hall. The City Council passed the ordinance unanimously last week.
Large tracts of Fremont, on both sides of Aurora, lie in the Fremont and Wallingford Urban Villages. If you live in or near one of these Urban Villages, FNC wants to make sure residents know about proposed changes. For example, you should know that the City of Seattle is proposing major re-zones to your neighborhood with the hope that increasing the number of units and setting aside units as affordable will increase availability of housing at more reasonable prices. This page contains basic information about the proposals, links to maps and to the City’s documents about these changes, and links to further information about these changes in City policy. The Fremont Neighborhood Council will work to help keep you updated on these crucial citywide and Fremont-specific planning and land use decisions. Visit us here to stay connected as proposals move forward over this next year.
May 10, 2016:The City Council is now moving ahead on a number of the recommendations. Information here
What is HALA? Launched in 2014, the Housing Affordability & Livability Agenda (HALA) is a proposal by Seattle Mayor Ed Murray that seeks to address Seattle’s housing affordability challenge. The HALA committee process resulted in 65 recommendations spanning a variety of strategies.
This page contains some basics about the proposals, a map and links to further information about these proposed changes. The City of Seattle is currently undergoing a public process to vet the proposals with the community. Legislation to implement specific proposals will go to the Seattle City Council for approval in 2017.
What do the recommendations mean for Fremont? The proposed land use changes discussed here are driven by a few of the many recommendations in the HALA report. Many blocks of Fremont lie in or near the Urban Villages, low-rise, or commercial/ neighborhood zones recommended for changes.
First, Recommendation R.1 titled “Partnership for Mandatory Inclusionary Housing (MIH), also known as the HALA “Grand Bargain,” would open up more of Seattle’s single-family, apartment, neighborhood commercial, and commercial zones for “more intensive use” in exchange for including affordable housing units in new construction of multi-family housing. An increase in the allowed size of buildings and the number of units of potential housing would be linked with a set aside of a portion of new units for use by those qualifying for affordable housing. Instead of dedicating specific units of buildings, developers would be allowed to contribute a fee for the city to use to build affordable housing elsewhere.
Two other recommendations, MF.3 and MF.4, propose land use zoning changes of Single Family zoning in and adjacent to Urban Villages. Large tracts of Fremont on both sides of Aurora lie in the Fremont and Wallingford Urban Villages. The Single Family zoned area in East Fremont in particular is subject to potentially large up zones in allowed building size and numbers of housing units.
Recommendation MF.5 proposes to add one story to the allowed height limits of buildings in all low-rise apartment (LR) or neighborhood/ commercial (C and NC) zones. Many blocks of Fremont lie in LR and C/NC zones.
In summary, HALA proposals, if adopted as written, will:
What is Seattle 2035? Seattle 2035 is the City’s proposed update to its Comprehensive Plan, prepared as HALA is up for consideration. At the same time, the City is possibly preparing a “refresh” of its Design Review Program. As currently proposed, these new and changed policies could:
What questions should Fremont residents be asking? As the Council reviews the HALA and Comprehensive Plan Seattle 2035 recommendations, it is important that the following questions be considered:
The Fremont Neighborhood Council will work to help keep you updated on these citywide and Fremont-specific planning and land use decisions. Visit our website to stay connected as proposals move forward over this next year.
For basic information about the HALA proposal, the timeline for review, and more, visit www. seattle.gov/HALA. The City’s lead contact is: Geoffrey Wentlandt AICP LEED ap, Senior Planner, City of Seattle Department of Planning and Development, 206.684.3586 I Geoffrey.Wentlandt@seattle.gov
Interested in getting involved?