Friday’s meeting of the Planning, Land Use, & Zoning committee will begin with an incantation to open a Hellmouth under City Hall. Thenceforth,
High Priest Committee Chair Rob Johnson will preside over three legislative evils.
The boom in the tech industry is forcing rapid growth in Seattle, pitting the agents of corporate exploitation against the people's desire for a livable city.
The author of the definitive study of Seattle’s Urban Village strategy says HALA undermines that strategy by splashing upzones across the city.
Peter Steinbreuck authored the “Seattle Sustainable Neighborhoods Assessment Project” (SSNAP) in 2014 under a contract from the City of Seattle. The study was commissioned to provide baseline data for the consideration of the Seattle 2035 Comprehensive Plan. Steinbreuck concluded in his report that the Urban Village strategy (established by the 1994 Comp Plan) is working and viable. (See: a short Power Point or the complete report at Steinbreuck’s website.)
The critical tactics of the Urban Village strategy are to concentrate growth – job growth and population growth – in designated areas, and to support that growth with high-capacity transit services. In parallel, four core values are to be preserved: community, environmental stewardship, economic opportunity, and social equity.
The appeal by Marty Kaplan and the Queen Anne Community Council is running long. The hearing, which began August 31, took up all of two days and is not complete. The appeal will continue on Friday, September 30th, at 9:00 AM.
The appeal is aimed at requiring the City to create an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for Councilmember Mike O’Brien’s proposed legislation that would loosen regulations on Detached Accessory Dwelling Units (DADUs), also known as “Backyard Cottages” (though they’re more like small houses than like cottages).
Recordings of the appeal hearing are available on the Hearing Examiner’s website.
The best thing about the Crosscut story on the Escala appeal is the response it elicited from one JJ Smith, a commenter on Disqus to whom we have had occasion to refer previously. We are reproducing Smith’s response here because we appreciate the swift precision of the author’s prose and the accuracy of their thinking. We do not know who Mr/Ms Smith is, but we will offer them a gig if they’ll get in touch.
The author seems to assume, without citing evidence, that the Mayor’s HALA scheme will actually increase housing “affordability” in Seattle. Is it too much to ask to see the independent analysis that proves this before accepting the premise?
Unfortunately, HALA is the product not of a rigorous and public analysis, but of a private handshake deal between major developers and the mayor’s office. From that point on the “grand bargain” was treated as fait accompli, and the rest has all been a sales job.