Friday, February 10, 2017

Join Your Neighbors to Protect Miller Park Neighborhood!


6:45 PM, Holy Names Academy Auditorium, 728 21st Ave E, Seattle 

The City is planning significant zoning changes
Your Help is Needed to Shape Those Changes 

As part of the City of Seattle's HALA & the Mandatory Housing Affordability program, the City proposes to rezone ALL Single Family areas to Multi-family in & near Urban Villages (see map hereand to add 10 FEET to the height limit in  ALL the multifamily areas (apartments, townhouses  and condos in the NC and LR areas between Madison and John).

We need to organize as a neighborhood to develop a balanced plan that:
Preserves Neighborhood Character
Encourages Diversity and 
Truly Supports Affordable Housing Goals

Our Neighborhood currently exemplifies what an Urban Residential Village (URV) should be.  The proposed rezoning promises to make all streets in the urban village look like this:

Join Your Neighbors to Protect Your Community

at Miller Park Neighborhood Meeting, February 15, 

7:00  pm, Holy Names Auditorium, 728 21 Ave E.

At this meeting, we will:

  • Review the City’s draft proposal
  • Establish guiding principles for the neighborhood 
  • Discuss concerns
  • Prepare for City’s 2/28 Miller Park Neighborhood Workshop at Miller Community Center, a critical meeting, where we will voice our collective concerns & present our alternatives.   

It’s not too late to stop these drastic changes, but we must join together to succeed.

Stay informed. Learn more & subscribe to email list at
Contact with questions.

TAKE ACTION! Submit Comments to City Council (calling works best): - 684-8806 - 684-8802 - 684-8808 - 684-8016



  1. Will there be City staff at this meeting?

    1. None at the Feb. 15 meeting, that I know of. The Feb. 28 meeting is run by the City and will have lots of staff on hand.

  2. If I don't think these are drastic changes, am I welcome at this meeting?

    1. Anybody is welcome at the meeting. We need to establish what the overall view of the neighborhood is, and plan appropriate action (if any).

  3. I attended the meeting last night. I'd like to thank my neighbors for spending the time and energy to put together the event, I know that something like this takes a lot of work and I appreciate the effort involved.

    However, I was very dismayed by the content presented. This meeting was billed as an opportunity to "develop a balanced plan," but we were handed talking points for interacting with the city as soon as we walked in the door. If these things are already decided, what room for discussion is there?

    The presentation from Gregory Hill was, frankly, offensive. Although he tried to couch the presentation as factual, he repeatedly brought up unsupported allegations and incredibly biased opinions. For example:
    - City staff at DPD are negligent and do not review applications
    - The Mayor and Council are conspiring with developers to break the law
    - The Mayor and his staff want to "punish" owners of single family homes
    - Zoning changes are being written by developers
    - Families can't live in homes without yards
    - Buildings in NC-2 will be 93' high
    - Millenials are buying more cars than boomers

    That this were immediately followed, without discussion or an opposing viewpoint, by group breakout sessions that were explicitly intended to "orient" us to "speak intelligently" with City staff on the 28th belied the entire concept of a "community discussion." The entire event was framed to generate conflict between neighbors and the City.

    If the views expressed at the meeting last night are supposed to be representative of my neighbors and community then I'm disappointed in my neighbors.

    1. Very nicely put. I attended the meeting and had much the same reaction. Thank you for posting!

  4. I thought the point of the meeting was to support single family neighborhoods in Urban Villages . As far as I know we neighbors were not included in this decision to have no single family homes. We wanted our views out there in an organized manner. We met last month at a HALA organized event and realized that most people in our Miller neighborhood had no idea about the zoning changes. It was our understanding that the mayor stepped back on his original plan to get rid if SF housing. Of course we opened the meeting for all neighbors to attend but our intent was to rethink upzoning for SF and to better understand zoning in the Miller-Madison Urban Village. The Miller-Madison HALA sponsored design review meeting on 2/28 will be an opportunity for everyone to express their views.

    1. -"It was our understanding that the mayor stepped back on his original plan to get rid if SF housing."

      That's not what the mayor said, or how zoning works. It was never on the table to just completely remove detached single family housing, it just means other type of housing is allowed in that zone.

      The mayor's original plan was to allow duplexes and triplexes in all single family zones- which was how it was before (more opportunities for ownership in a smaller lot that otherwise would be unaffordable on an average lot, more opportunities for multigenerational living, adding density that is to scale with its surroundings, etc.)

      This would have meant that any "impacts" such as parking, property tax increase, infrastructure strain, would have been spread throughout 65% of the land, rather than have it localized through rezones such as these. Since all our new construction has been happening in only multifamily zones (which are currently 11% of Seattle's land, including downtown, which is maxed out in development for a bit), impacts are hyperlocalized.

      Given where Miller Park is located, near transit, urban amenities such as community centers, parks, and supermarkets, it makes a lot of sense to rezone this area to absorb our new population growth that is still increasing.

      Hope that helps, and see you at the 2/28 meeting.

      - Capitol Hill renter and artist

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. Oh, I should add that the single family reform (that is now scrapped) would not have replaced these strategic rezones. It would have just meant opportunities for housing diversity versus what we have now: 1 bedroom apartments versus unafforable detached single family houses.

    4. Numerous of us SF home owners responded to the original plan and added Attached or Detached Accessory Dwelling Units. These were big efforts and now we are told there is this new zoning we need to follow. In my neighborhood we are artists, teachers, midwives, architects, landscapers, fire women. North Capital Hill is not touched. We have the cheaper houses because that is what we could afford. Losing our SF homes to a neighborhood of 40-50' townhouses etc is a lost of many aspects that are key to a healthy neighborhood and it means taxes that we will have difficulty paying. Some of our neighbors have been here for 80 years. I have been here for 40. We still have diversity. We still have sunshine around our houses and grow gardens. Why wipe all that out. We are being displaced--elders, families, disabled, groups of students and young professionals in shared houses. If we zoned in a way respectful to the environment, people with SF homes would feel more flexible. I hope that we can increase the density along the arterials where there are already some businesses with residences. Start there and then expand as needed. We need to slow the process down so we can plan more carefully. The zoning changes are not producing that much affordable housing in Seattle since developers can pay their way out of that and the affordable units that are built are short term as opposed to the life time of the building.

  5. Here is a report to give all a national perspective on housing trends:

    Basically: we're experiencing urbanization ("reverse white flight" is one aspect, the other is generational preference), diminishing homeownership, high personal debt, higher rates of renting. If we don't rezone, prices everywhere will rise, burdening renters especially.

    And yes, DADUs are not enough. Building up on arterials isn't enough either (especially at the rate people complain and stall development with parking matters). Mind you, this is only about 6 city blocks that are rezoned. The majority of the city *will still be single family zoning.*

    Hope that helps.

    - A renter who has been rent burdened with debt

  6. Thanks for your thoughtful sharing. A big issue is increased land use codes and design issues. My husband is a retired residential architect so we are looking at all the increased heights and density and it's ugly making. And this area won't provide affordable rents. The land values have escalated. The developers will charge big rents in this neighborhood. Also the taxes are already high and getting higher since real estate taxes are our major source of funds for every thing since we don't have an income tax. So we will be priced out of our own homes if this continues. So we become displaced too. We have spent 40 years in this neighborhood and are on a fixed income at this point. We couldn't afford in North Capital home and we are not going to move away from all our friends and things we love here in our neighborhood, in the city. We never ever wanted to live anywhere else. So while it might seem like just 6 blocks to you, it is our home and we have spent a tremendous amount of energy making the neighborhood safe, designing the Miller Park Community Center, planting trees...There are families here with young children too. We have friends who are renters, working hard and in their 40's. I know we have an economic problem. Playing into the hands of developers is a part of the problem here. They make more money with more density. I don't just want more housing, I want to see thoughtful well designed housing that provides some yard space and let's the sun shine in. How can we hold the developers and designers accountable?

  7. I agree that the meeting was somewhat structured to channel people into a certain perspective, although it was also made clear other voices were welcome in the breakouts. It's a bit of a dammed if you do, dammed if you don't situation. I do appreciate the organizers' efforts to keep the neighborhood nice.

    A couple of thoughts:
    - Diversity of housing is good. We'very had this traditionally with chirches, schools, projects, and even city property (recently sold) in the area. I'd like the zoning to encourage that mix without covering the whole region to tall ugly condos.
    - Would the "affordable" housing really be affordable, rather than just less-luxurious?
    - Some added density in our urban area makes sense, but how about some services in addition?
    - The traffic burden is already high on narrow streets, and many have no alleys to help. A traffic study might help look at what additional capacity we can take.
    - I would like to see these proposed changes linked to changes across the city to expand other nuclei of urban density. We shouldn't absorb it all.
    - The long term families here will need to accept that we can't just keep things as they were. We can ask for "balance" but we have to define that and give options.
    - MPN is an important force in the upcoming meeting but it'll be important to allow others to voice alternative views without running over them roughshod.

  8. i see many are confused here.

    the purpose of the zoning changes is to increase density and specifically build more low income housing. please read Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA) docs and Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda (HALA) docs before ranting, refuting and correcting others.

    the proposed zoning changes are not being applied to the entire city.

    the madison-miller neighborhood CURRENTLY offers great diversity in race, religion, income, age, family status, home ownership, et al in good mix of residential/commercial use with optimal density. our parks are packed 16 hours day, our businesses are thriving, roads are ripped up from use, a number of new mother-in-laws/ADU have been built, construction of mid rise buildings on 19th, water/sewer on cap hill are at MAX capacity, public and private schools are overflowing with current enrollment, and we have yet to feel the impacts of reduced lanes on 23rd pushing traffic onto side streets.

    1 madison-miller is at optimal diversity and density.
    2 changes in zoning will not yield the desired affordable housing.
    3 lets find the right place(s) to change zoning and invite affordable housing construction.

  9. Not amused by changes in definitions of all zones- height, floor ratio, density, etc. Minimizes the upzoning. We are jumping TWO zones, not just one.