CHUV Logo For Blog PostsThe Seattle City Council’s Planning, Landuse and Zoning Committee will vote on the Mayor’s proposed Mandatory Housing Affordability-Residential (MHA-R) legislation *, aka the “Grand Bargain”, as early as Tuesday, July 19. Please join us and send an email to the City Council to ask for Smarter Growth in our Crown Hill Urban Village community.

This legislation will put the framework in place to upzone of all homes within Crown Hill Urban Village to multifamily, and increase the height and size limits of new buildings. Our community would be one of the most impacted in the City by these changes. While the legislation being considered now is the “framework”, it will set the stage for specific rezoning proposals for each neighborhood, including ours, in 2017.

The Crown Hill Urban Village Committee for Smart Growth supports more affordable housing. However, the current proposal to allow blanket Upzone of all properties in Crown Hill Urban Village and expansion area will have negative consequences in our neighborhood.   We propose smarter growth in our community, guided by neighborhood needs before a one-size-fits-all upzoning. You can read our committee’s position on MHA.

Please email Planning Land Use and Zoning Committee members Rob Johnson (chair), Mike O’Brien (vice-chair and our district representative) and Lisa Herbold by Monday, July 18. You can also forward your letter to the rest of the City Council and the Mayor. We have provided a sample letter as a general guide, but hope you will tailor your email to share your own story and perspectives. Please remember that respectful, thoughtful and personal communication to our elected officials is also the most impactful advocacy.

Sample letter/email to the Mayor and City Council

Dear ____,

I live (in/near) the Crown Hill Residential Urban Village.  I am writing about Mandatory Housing Affordability framework legislation and its impact on my neighborhood.

While I support more affordable housing, I believe the current Mandatory Housing Affordability plan misses opportunities for smarter growth including:

  1. Meaningful neighborhood planning before rezoning, so growth is informed by a plan that considers parks, open space, transit, walkability, schools, jobs, small businesses and other needs of a vibrant community.
  2. Added density should be definitively tied to infrastructure and transit improvements so transit, parks, utilities and other infrastructure grow to meet the increased demand.
  3. New development should center along arterials already zoned for growth first, to transform big box stores, empty parking lots and inefficiently utilized space into walkable, mixed-use residential/commercial property, before upzoning single family or expanding CHUV.  Please incentivize development of existing zoned capacity that is under-utilized before upzoning single family properties, which we believe will put our neighbors who currently rent or are vulnerable at risk of displacement of losing their homes.

Please consider amendments to the Mandatory Housing Affordability legislation to integrate these common-sense changes so we can add adequate affordable housing while making Crown Hill Urban Village a vibrant and livable neighborhood for everyone – current residents and our new neighbors.

Thank you for your attention.

Sincerely,

Your Name, Your Address

* What is Mandatory Housing Affordability – Residential (MHA-R) legislation? MHA-R requires developers to either include a small percentage of new affordable housing units in all new housing developments (Inclusionary housing), or pay a fee to the City that would go towards building new affordable housing units (Fee Based housing). In return for including a percentage of Affordable Housing Units or paying the fee, the city will upzone Urban Villages, Urban Village expansion areas and other defined locations in the city for multifamily housing to create additional building capacity for developers (AKA the “Grand Bargain”).  Learn more and read the City’s explanation of MHA here.

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