Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Feb 15 Miller Park Neighbors meeting report

Where the ~ 132 meeting participants came from 
(NOTE : 200 people have signed up for the 6PM February 28th Madison-Miller Urban Village Community Design Workshop at Miller Community Center. There's lots of good information about  Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA) on the Wallingford Community Council website)

(See also the Capitol Hill blog meeting report, with lots of comments and comments on our previous post).

Miller Park Neighbors
Miller Park Livability – Guiding Principles for Planning 

Discussion from 2/15/2017 Meeting

(Discussion from break out groups is in blue)
Miller Park today is a diverse, affordable, livable community. We support a plan for increased density that promotes the following Principles for Planning.
Define diverse
·      diverse in types of housing (single family historic architecture, old apartments/condos, new town homes, Seattle Housing Authority scattered site housing, Capitol Hill Housing)
·      age

·      occupants (families, singles, young professionals, retirees, locally owned businesses)
·      not as ethnically diverse as it was 10, 20, 30 years ago
·      The Miller Park UV is significantly more racially diverse than Seattle as a whole. Source: City of Seattle Office of Planning & Community Development: “Percentage of the Population Who Are Persons of Color by Census Tract”, May 1, 2012.
·      College students
Define affordable
·      both new and historic housing is not affordable
·      more affordable than North Capitol Hill
·      more density and competition could help lower rents but acknowledge no guarantee’s
·      renters would like city to pass tenant rights with price controls
Area already supports more density than typical single family, with smaller lots, duplexes, ADUs. There is a lot of diversity of unit types now
1.     Maintains the neighborhood’s current architectural character
There is a really mixed appreciation of “architectural character”. Home owners of 100+ year old craftsman and Victorian homes definitely value this principle. Other opinions are that density equals affordability equals fewer old single family homes that provide relatively more square footage for fewer occupants.
New construction of vertical style town homes is not ADA compliant or aging friendly.

Concern over the quality of housing in the area – both new and old. Instead of wholesale changes, can the area be looked at under this lens when deciding where single family zoning should be eliminated? Craftsman homes are a part of our city’s character. And for new construction/affordable housing, can there be a requirement to have the new additions meet quality and architectural integrity of the area. Can we incentivize affordable family housing consistent with the character of the neighborhood? There are many examples of older apartments and multifamily 4 and 6 plex’s that blend well with single family homes. A nice mix.
2.     Protects the presence of single family homes as a significant component of the Urban Village
Define single family – many homes in the areas currently zoned Single Family are rentals that provide affordable housing to multiple residents who are not related. So, “single family” may be defined as a home originally built for a family unit, normally has some yard, and is generally of the same architectural style consistent with Capitol Hill early 20th century development.
There is concern over the loss of families in the neighborhood and Seattle as a whole. We wonder if there is a study on how many houses will turn over in the next 3- 5 years.
Open space is important for development to encourage families. Miller field is always in high demand by sports leagues and solidly booked making only the small open space to the west of Meany open to neighbors. Miller Park is the only recreational area available to Meany school. This huge upsurge of use will make the park even less available to the neighborhood when Meany re-opens in the fall of 2017 with a population of 650 to 1000.
Invested community members are important, rather than people that live temporarily in small apartments and then move on.
There’s a concern that people will buy properties (especially in the small residential lot area) and leave them vacant until they can buy the properties around them and then build on several lots.
3.     Prioritizes new AFFORDABLE FAMILY HOUSING over luxury condominiums and microhousing: prevents developers from building market-rate-only buildings and paying fees to push affordable family housing out of the neighborhood
Specify that prioritizing affordable housing includes 3+ bedrooms and open space for those units, consistent with character of the neighborhood
There is general agreement that affordable housing is an issue but that the HALA proposal doesn't provide for affordable housing in the neighborhood and unnecessarily destroys community character. Lots of discussion regarding the fact that this doesn’t really provide the 7% and 11% affordable housing in the area, as history has shown that developers tend to buy this out and that the housing is built elsewhere. The development will actually have the opposite impact – replacing currently affordable housing with high-end condos, town homes and apartments as well as potentially pushing out home owners because of higher taxes on the new “development value” of the home.
Displacement of both renters and owners is a real concern. This includes modestly sized single family homes, and homes occupied by seniors on fixed incomes.
Why are just a few areas of the city earmarked for funding low income housing instead of spreading this responsibility throughout the city?
Concern that new density (and what is currently being constructed is) will be mostly single bedroom units that will be expensive, aimed at high earning single people, and not meeting needs for affordable housing
Concern that families will be pushed out by developments, and lack of living space and yards will displace families from neighborhood
Sense of community is important. Relationships and connections with your neighbors are eroded with apartment and condo buildings.

4.     Accounts for the neighborhood’s relatively small lot sizes, narrow streets and alleyways and the need for on-street resident parking
Concern over cumulative impacts when Meany opens, especially for parking, traffic and increased demand on miller playfields/open space.
Younger renters expressed concern that they not have to pay for parking since they do not have cars. Discussion lead to the neighborhood needing Restricted Parking Zone (RPZ) and everyone agreed this would be fair since those without cars wouldn’t have to pay in.  Younger participants also acknowledged that in the future they may need a car if they were to ever have kids.
5.     Retains front-yard and back-yard setbacks of 15-20 feet and all established trees (12” trunks or greater)
Ballard (North of Market) used as an example of up zoning leading to a congested dysfunctional neighborhood, no light / green space / parking
Already limited space / green space and light. Need to preserve what we have.
Emphasize Trees, Better/stricter Design & Setbacks for New Buildings, and greater assurance that density will provide Affordability
6.     Ensures density increases happen concurrently with increases in parks, green spaces and transportation
Add need for sufficient sewer capacity, burying phone lines, etc. when adding density
Why aren’t developers required to pay impact fees for increased capacity? This should include new open space (parks), road and sewer improvements

7.     Encourages the continued presence of locally-owned small businesses
Don’t want local businesses to be overtaken by large chains as has occurred on Broadway.

Questions, Issues and Comments regarding 2/15 meeting and how to address the HALA/MHA zoning proposal
1.     Are there any protections for exceptional trees? Any requirement for planting trees? Any role for City Arborist (Nolan Renquist?)
2.     Should there be a design review for new development in the neighborhood?
3.     Did the urban village designation not promise some protections against future up-zoning?
4.     Already large housing capacity generated – per City, 778 units have been built in Madison Miller Urban Village between 2005 and 2016 and 681 additional units are permitted as of January, 2017. What is the target for added units citywide? How much has Capitol Hill already added, and how does this % compare with other neighborhoods?
5.     First should prioritize use of existing zoning capacity.
6.     Double up zone. Concern that areas were being both up zoned & the criteria for designated areas being loosened (e.g. LR2 becoming 40ft, not 30ft as before
7.     Asking for specific changes to zoning regulation specific to one neighborhood unlikely to be successful (e.g. requiring 15ft setbacks in Capitol Hill would not fly unless citywide)
8.     Too much, too fast on top of incredible current building boom in this Urban Village.  What is the rush?  Would like the Environmental Impact Study to be done after Meany Middle school re-opens and after over 500 new living units just south of John Street are completed and occupied.
9.     I was happy with the emphasis on compromise shown in the breakout groups.
10.  The senior citizens on limited income that have resided here 50 years are being pushed out by up-zoning & increased property taxes.
11.  Need a realistic assessment of chance that the HALA proposal will go through as is or if it will be amended.

Some thoughts from Debrah Walker:
I’ve been walking the Urban Village to determine the number of new units built since 2015, and that are currently under construction or have permits pending.  I’ve either talked to managers in the buildings or gone on-line to a buildings web-site or to the Building Dept’s web site to look up permit information. Dan and I will use one of the large maps to document this information and have it on an easel at the workshop on the 28th. I also plan to have my response to each of the MHA principals.
It’s been a pretty interesting exercise, and here’s a summary;
HALA has a chart titled; "20-year housing growth estimates for draft MHA zoning changes”  It identifies 30 Urban Centers or Villages, Current gross care, existing housing units as 0f 2015,  the adopted 2035 hosing growth goal, the proposed HALA increase in growth by 2035
145 gross acres
2781 housing units counted in 2015
Adopted increase of housing by 2035 = 800 units
New HALA total proposed increase by 2035 = 1124 unitsBy my survey the Miller-Madison Urban Village has already meet the new HALA 2035 increase;
(We will locate these housing units on the map. These numbers include some ADU’s in SF homes))
Units built after 2015, currently under construction, or in the permit process =  1121 unitsUnits that will be completed by the end of the year or in 2018 = 516
I also took a sample of unit sizes and asking costs;
Apodments   115 sq. feet to 300 sq. ft. Priced at $1100.00 to 1800.00/ month
Studio’s 496 sq. feet to 549 sq. feet at $1172.00 to $1980.00/ month
One bedroom 693 sq. feet to 1100 sq. feet at $2300.00 to $2600.00/ month
2 bedrooms  1017 sq. feet  at $3050.00/ mo. (I found 2 bedroom units only offered in ‘Sessions’ building on Madison)
3 bedroom (16) 1580 sq. ft. Townhouses for sale  by ‘Isola’ on 22nd and 21st Ave. E. . No sale prices available.
My biggest questions are;
1. Why up zone if our Urban Village has virtually already met the HALA goal ?
2.  Where is the affordability in HALA?  The overall goal of HALA is 20,000 units by 2035, with 6000 affordable units. To date  there have been 10,000 housing units built in Seattle.  Where are the 3000 affordable units?  Where will they be built in the future?
3. What is the rush?  Our EIS should not be started until Meany school is back and the 516 housing units currently under construction are occupied at the end of 2017. The impacts from the upsurge in new residential density and student population will be huge and must be taken into account .

1 comment:

  1. The HALA goals were never meant to be a ceiling on the supply of housing. We're in a housing crisis and we can't address this crisis if we're arbitrarily capping housing production and forcing people to bid up the price of remaining units.