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HALA EXPLAINED, WITH BIG IMPACT POTENTIAL IN EAST FREMONT

The HALA proposal to increase housing density in Seattle could create dramatic change in Fremont, especially that part of Fremont east of Aurora Avenue and west of Stone Way N.  Local meetings to explain the changes:

  • Wednesday,January 20th, 2016–Wallingford Urban Village Zoning Changes: Informational Meeting “Urban Village, Seattle 2035 and HALA Informational Meeting, 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. at the Good Shepherd Center, 4649 Sunnyside Avenue North, in the Chapel on the 4th floor. [See a summary of the changes proposed, below.]
  • Monday, January 25, 2016–Fremont Neighborhood Council  7-8:30 p.m. Location: Doric Temple #92, 619 N. 36th St. (around the corner from Hotel Hotel). Geoffrey Wallingford Urban Village mapWentlandt and possibly others from the City’s new planning department (formerly part of DPD) will make a presentation and ask questions.

Proposed zoning changes will impact people living in Wallingford’s urban village [sic], contained in the black boundary

The Wallingford Community Council wants you to know of major changes proposed in our neighborhood. Mayor Ed Murray will soon finalize recommendations to the Seattle City Council to revise the basic planning laws that govern what can be built on your and your neighbors’ property.

Mayor Murray has teamed up with developers and with advocacy organizations that promote housing density and want to change the way we live, all without a single public visit to neighborhoods like Wallingford that will be impacted. Their first step is changing the City’s Comprehensive Plan through the Seattle 2035 process, followed by zoning changes recommended in the Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda (HALA) plan.

Proposed “Seattle 2035” changes to the Comprehensive Plan would:

  • Eliminate requirements to include residents’ input in changes to neighborhood zoning and other aspects of the Comprehensive Plan
  • Make it much easier to rezone any property in or near the Urban Village from single-family to multi-family
  • Eliminate specific zoning types within the Urban Village from the future land use map
  • Again permit “skinny houses” and houses built on sub-standard lots
  • Remove protections for trees and goals for more trees
  • Permit more development on steep slopes and in environmentally sensitive areas
  • Eliminate parking requirements for apartment complexes while still allowing all residents to own cars and get RPZ permits

Mayor Murray’s “Grand Bargain” within the HALA panel of developers and advocacy organizations would:

  • Change all single-family zoning within Urban Villages to multi-family zoning
  • Change multi-family zoning to favor apartments and condos over town homes
  • Greatly increase the allowed heights and size in multi-family zones (from 3 to 4 or 5 stories) and in commercial zones (from 4 to 5 or 6 stories)
  • Push out locally-owned small businesses that cannot afford the higher rents in new mid-rise mixed-use buildings
  • Accelerate demolition of existing affordable housing by creating new incentives for developers and raising taxes on properties that are not redeveloped
  • Replace affordable housing with top-dollar houses and apartments, with only 5 to 7% of new units reserved as affordable
  • Create new legal loopholes for developers
  • Make these changes despite City studies confirming that existing zoning is adequate for predicted future population growth

FNC’s Land Use Chair Toby Thaler explains further:

As the article indicates, the proposals moving through Council could change zoning in Seattle’s residential neighborhoods in a way not seen for many decades. Past changes have focused on multi-family and neighborhood/commercial zones. These new proposals WILL up zone vast swaths of single family zones if they are adopted without changes. [Proposed zoning changes to be discussed at the Fremont Neighborhood Council  meeting January 25–see listing above.]…
I encourage people to attend as many of these meetings as possible and to contact your new district council representatives with your opinion. East of Aurora is in District 4, Rob Johnson, and he is the chair of the Council’s land use committee. West of Aurora is in District 6, Mike O’Brien, past chair and now vice-chair.

 

 

 

 

9 thoughts on “HALA EXPLAINED, WITH BIG IMPACT POTENTIAL IN EAST FREMONT

  1. I hope all of these revisions are adopted so we can afford to stay. As it is, our rent has gone up, we can’t afford to move our family out of the city further away from the resources our kids need and the community we’ve built here.

    1. What about our community, Chris? You know, those of us evil single family homeowners who’ve lived here for years, are raising families, and who know and socialize with other neighbors? Do our needs matter to you? No, apparently not, since you agree that the city should take away our right to have any say in what happens in our own neighborhood.

      But hey, it’s for a good cause, right? Because developers really are in it to make sure housing stays affordable for all, right? What ws that old P.T. barnum quote?

      1. Hey, duke.

        I’ve lived here for years, too. You should get no say in determining who can live in OUR neighborhood.

  2. Chris–It would certainly be a good idea to make housing more affordable. Unfortunately, few if any of the HALA or comp plan recommendations will lower the cost of housing. Unmanaged growth does not promote either affordability or community. The HALA recommendation and the City’s recent history of giving developers most of what they want gives us density without the infrastructure to support it, and erodes existing communities. All without providing affordable housing.

    1. Toby,

      I see your name in lots of places. Never in support of housing. This just makes the life of renting families like mine more difficult. What is your plan to lower the cost of housing? Was your house built by a developer? What communities are being eroded? I’ve never lived in a single city where neighborhoods weren’t in flux.

    2. As a homeowner in Wallingford, I’m shocked at the opposition to this. Rezoning will increase our property values! Don’t want to sell your single family home to developers? No problem, but I would absolutely love the flexibility to subdivide my lot and put up higher density housing on it. This gives us options, embrace the equity brothers and sisters.

      1. Don’t be shocked. A lot of us are losing sunlight, trees, visual space, even neighbors to lack of affordability, and we do not trust that this rapid development will create any affordable homes here. We’re seeing just the opposite. There are other ways to increase density “gently” by making it easier to add ADUs and DADUs on owner-occupied lots rather than building 4-packs and 6-packs, and thus keeping the “front porch” character we value even in the mixed density areas of our urban villages.

  3. Chris, it simply isn’t true that FNC and its Land Use committee don’t support housing. We’ve resisted removing current affordable housing and replacing it willy-nilly with poorly designed and expensive new development which has sometimes failed to increase the number of units available as well. We’ve also supported providing a variety of new units, some of which can accommodate families.

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