Category Archives: Calls to Action

Vote on subdivision with no minimum lot size, Wednesday August 12

The Land Use and Neighborhoods Committee of the Seattle City Council is considering Omnibus bill CB 119835 this Wednesday August 12 at 9:30 AM. This omnibus bill is supposed to be for minor editorial corrections, but several provisions will change all Single-Family lots into Multi-Family lots with no minimum lot size. We urge you to contact your Councilmembers and ask them to remove these provisions.

  • The Legislative Analysis of these provisions states: “However, the proposed omnibus language introduces ambiguity into the Code that could lead to unintended consequences for future development of vacant lots that are created through a unit lot subdivision process.”
  • The City Council should not be passing bills with ambiguous language.
  • Any single-family parent lot could be redeveloped with a house and an ADU and a DADU then subdivided in three unit lots that could be sold separately (as multi-family housing).
  • Unit lots have no minimum lot size requirement.
  • More trees would be cut to make way for these redevelopments.
  • The price of single-family lots would increase further reducing the affordability of housing.
  • The City Council should use a separate bill with a full public engagement to consider this major change in land use code.
Example of 4960 SF parent lot redeveloped into 2000 SF, 1150 SF, & 1800 SF multi-family unit lots.

Call to Action: Public to be removed from Design Review

Tomorrow Monday April 13 at 2 PM, the Seattle City Council will vote on CB119769, an emergency ordinance to expedite affordable housing during the COVID-19 crisis. The bill curtails public Design Review meetings for the next six to eight months to accelerate project approvals. Instead the Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections will conduct only internal administrative reviews.

Administrative Design Review is where the developer can promote variances to set backs and allowances for roof-top structures for their projects. See the Downtown Residents Alliance post for further discussion of the bill.

Express your concerns to the City Council or your Councilmembers. We emphasize these concerns:

  • A better option is to eliminate Design Review for the crisis period. All developers would have to follow the land use code without exception.
  • Only projects with significant affordable housing units on-site should be given this exemption. Market-rate and commercial projects can wait.
  • Six to eight months is an excessive time period for a crisis that may ease in one to two months.

Financial Help in Washington State for the COVID-19 Crisis

The King County Council has published a bulletin of useful resources for families, employees, and small businesses facing financial hardship from the COVID-19 crisis, and bulletins for how to apply for Unemployment and/or Workers’ Compensation. We were made aware of this information in a newsletter from Councilmember Jeanne Kohl-Welles sent Monday March 16. The contents of the Helpful Financial Resources section are republished below. As the bulletins note: “Due to the rapidly evolving nature of state and federal programs, this information may change unexpectedly.”

Please practice social distancing. We wish good health to everyone during these challenging times.

Best Regards,
The Wallingford Community Council

Continue reading

43rd District Town Hall, Saturday February 22

1:30 – 3:00 PM

Seattle First Baptist Church
1111 Harvard Ave

Join Senator Jamie Pedersen, Representative Frank Chopp, and Representative Nicole Macri for a town hall meeting.

  • Get an update on the 2020 Legislative Session.
  • Share your comments, concerns, and questions.

More information is available from the Representative Macri.

Route 44 Planning Drop-In Sessions, Thursday, November 21

The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) and King County Metro have kicked-off the early planning phase of the Route 44 – Transit-Plus Multimodal Corridor project. They are working to enhance safety, and to improve transit speed and reliability throughout the Route 44 corridor. SDOT and Metro anticipate implementing these upgrades to the Route 44 Transit-Plus Multimodal Corridor in 2023, prior to Metro’s future delivery of RapidRide.

Join SDOT and Metro at one of three drop-in sessions in the University District, Ballard, and Wallingford. The drop-in sessions are a good opportunity to learn more about the project, talk to the project team, and provide feedback on early concepts. Drop in any time; the information presented will be the same for each session.

University District
Tuesday November 19
2:00 – 3:30 PM
University Bookstore
4326 University Way

Ballard
Wednesday, November 20
6:00 – 7:30 PM
Leif Erikson Hall
2245 NW 57th Street

Wallingford
Thursday, November 21
6:00 – 7:30 PM
Wallingford Senior Center
4649 Sunnyside Ave N, #140

The Wallingford Community Council (WCC) is committed to working with the City on safer streets and smart designs, and has been involved with Route 44 improvements for many years. The WCC promoted the present in-lane bus stops, supported queue-jump signals and reduced bus stops for faster Route 44 bus travel through Wallingford. The WCC maintains its support for Wallingford businesses that could be impacted depending on the proposed changes to the corridor.

Please attend a session, review the project, and comment on the proposals.

City Council Poised to Gut Environmental Reviews, Monday October 7

On Monday October 7 at 2 PM, the City Council is rushing to take a final vote on CB 119600. This legislation will substantially weaken requirements for the environmental review of projects and policies under the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA).

In the opinion of the Seattle Times Editorial Board:

“Don’t be fooled by [the] greenwashing. It does the environment no favors to weaken the State Environmental Policy Act… This will mostly benefit real estate investors trying to further cash in on the Amazon boom.”

“Seattle’s environmental community should also urge the council to reject this faux-environmental policy. They must resist the siren song of developer-friendly think tanks, telling tales of how the earth will be saved by bulldozing houses, cutting trees and replacing them with big apartments.”

“This [legislation] is about weakening policy written to protect the environment and quality of life for everyone. It reduces costs for the few who profit off land speculation.”

We urge you to contact all City Councilmembers with your concerns about CB 119600, and ask them to delay this legislation for consideration by the newly-elected Council next year. (Contact information is below.) You can further express your concerns by testifying at the City Council meeting on Monday October 7 at 2 PM in Council Chambers at Seattle City Hall.

There is no reason for the City Council to rush. Under state law, the City has until April 2021 to consider and adopt more reasonable and more environmentally friendly provisions. When our big issues are climate change, equity, and human health, the SEPA process should be strengthened, not weakened.

Continue reading

Ballots Due on Election Day, Tuesday August 6

Ballot Drop Box at Waterway 19 next to Gas Works Park.

Please vote in the Primary Election.

Ballots can be returned by mail for free without a stamp, and must be postmarked by Election Day, Tuesday August 6. Or ballots can be placed in a Ballot Drop Box by 8 PM on Election Day.

There is a Ballot Drop Box next to Gas Works Park. It is located at the Waterway 19 pull-out just east of the main parking lot on N Northlake Way.

Further information is available at King County Elections.

City Council Vote on Backyard Cottage Zoning Changes, Monday July 1

City Councilmember Abel Pacheco and the Mayor need to hear from you before Monday. Contact them today!

Monday, July 1, 2019, 2:00 PM in Council Chambers at Seattle City Hall.

Councilmember Pacheco and the Mayor need to hear from you regarding proposed changes to the rules governing backyard cottages (Detached Accessory Dwelling Units or DADUs) and mother-in-law apartments (Attached Dwelling Units or ADUs) on single-family lots.

Currently, the City allows backyard cottages to be built on most single-family lots.

The proposed changes include:

  • Removing the owner occupancy requirement. (Currently, the owner must live on-site.)
  • Allowing both a mother-in-law apartment (ADU) and a backyard cottage (DADU) on the same lot, instead of one or the other, increasing the number of possible housing units on a single-family lot from two to three units.
  • Increasing the height and size of backyard cottages while reducing the minimum lot size.

Concern: These changes combine to turn single-family lots citywide into targets for developer and investor speculation as they open up having three rental units on one single-family lot and decreasing the opportunities for home ownership. The Seattle Times Editorial Board writes, “The new proposal is a wish list for developers, private and nonprofit, allowing nearly every single-family lot to be used for triplexes.”

There are more proposed changes to be concerned about in this upcoming legislation regarding open space, trees, setbacks and property lines, parking, etc… To read more about these concerns, click here.

Don’t be fooled by advocates calling this a moral imperative. This mostly helps politicians’ benefactors: developers and labor groups wanting license to build rentals virtually everywhere.
– The Seattle Times Editorial Board

Think about it and share your opinion of these proposals with your elected officials in city government. It’s important that they hear from you now. See below for a suggested message.

Please call and comment by email to our City Councilmembers:
Abel Pacheco: 206-684-8808, abel.pacheco@seattle.gov
Lisa Herbold: 206-684-8803, lisa.herbold@seattle.gov
Bruce Harrell: 206-684-8804, bruce.harrell@seattle.gov
Kshama Sawant: 206-684-8016, kshama.sawant@seattle.gov
Debora Juarez: 206-684-8805, debora.juarez@seattle.gov
Mike O’Brien: 206-684-8800, mike.obrien@seattle.gov
Sally Bagshaw: 206-684-8801, sally.bagshaw@seattle.gov
Teresa Mosqueda: 206-684-8806,  teresa.mosqueda@seattle.gov
Lorena González: 206-684-8802,  lorena.gonzalez@seattle.gov
All Councilmembers: council@seattle.gov

Please share your concerns with Mayor Durkan:
Mayor Durkan: 206-684-4000, jenny.durkan@seattle.gov


Feel free to send your own version of this suggested message:

I encourage you to keep the current accessory unit rules allowing ADUs & DADUs to remain in place, as is, with no rule changes.

The existing rules support both home ownership and the city’s goal for 4,000 additional rental units through ADU development over the next ten years. The success of the current program can be seen through the rate at which new ADUs have and are currently being built throughout Seattle.

Under the proposed changes, owner occupancy is being dismissed as a requirement. Without the owner occupancy requirement, single-family lots city-wide will be turned into targets for developers and investors looking to increase their rental portfolios. As the Seattle Times asks, “If the goals are increasing housing opportunity and reducing economic disparity, why not preserve and widen pathways to home ownership and the middle class?”

Home ownership creates stability for families, individuals, pets, schools, and neighborhoods.

Please vote No on the proposed rule changes to the current ADU/DADU legislation!

Sincerely,
[your name]


For more information:
To read the DRAFT ADU Legislation – click here.
For a Comprehensive List of Changes and Concerns – click here.
To read the Seattle Times Editorial on this subject – click here.
For a letter from Phinney Ridge Community Council – click here.
To read suggestions for how to both increase backyard cottages and retain opportunities for home ownership – click here.

City Council: Backyard Cottage Zoning Changes, Tuesday June 18

Zoning Changes for Backyard Cottages and Mother-in-Law Apartments and Home Ownership

Tuesday June 18, 2019, 2:00 PM
The Sustainability and Transportation Committee will consider and vote on the proposed legislation.

Currently, the City allows backyard cottages to be built on most single-family lots. On June 11 and before June 18, 2019, City Council members need to hear from you regarding proposed changes to the rules governing backyard cottages (Detached Accessory Dwelling Units or DADUs) and mother-in-law apartments (Attached Dwelling Units or ADUs) on single-family lots.

The proposed changes include:

  • Removing the owner occupancy requirement. (Currently, the owner must live on-site.)
  • Allowing both a mother-in-law apartment (ADU) and a backyard cottage (DADU) on the same lot, instead of one or the other, increasing the number of possible housing units on a single-family lot from two to three units.
  • Increasing the height and size of backyard cottages while reducing the minimum lot size.

Concern: These changes combine to turn single-family lots citywide into targets for developer and investor speculation as they open up having three rental units on one single-family lot and decreasing the opportunities for home ownership. The Seattle Times Editorial Board writes, “The new proposal is a wish list for developers, private and nonprofit, allowing nearly every single-family lot to be used for triplexes.”

There are more proposed changes to be concerned about in this upcoming legislation regarding open space, trees, setbacks and property lines, parking, etc… To read more about these concerns, click here.

Don’t be fooled by advocates calling this a moral imperative. This mostly helps politicians’ benefactors: developers and labor groups wanting license to build rentals virtually everywhere.
– The Seattle Times Editorial Board

Think about it and share your opinion of these proposals with your elected officials in city government. It’s important that they hear from you now. See below for a suggested message.

Continue reading

Public Hearing: Backyard Cottage Zoning Changes, Tuesday June 11

Zoning Changes for Backyard Cottages and Mother-in-Law Apartments and Home Ownership

Two events at City Council Chambers, 2nd floor, Seattle City Hall, 600 Fourth Ave on the proposed legislation.

Tuesday June 11, 2019, 5:30 PM
Public Hearing at City Hall
– Please attend if you can.  Arrive early to sign up to speak (usually two minutes per person).

Tuesday June 18, 2019, 2:00 PM
Possible Vote by the City Council.

Currently, the City allows backyard cottages to be built on most single-family lots. On June 11 and before June 18, 2019, City Council members need to hear from you regarding proposed changes to the rules governing backyard cottages (Detached Accessory Dwelling Units or DADUs) and mother-in-law apartments (Attached Dwelling Units or ADUs) on single-family lots.

The proposed changes include:

  • Removing the owner occupancy requirement. (Currently, the owner must live on-site.)
  • Allowing both a mother-in-law apartment (ADU) and a backyard cottage (DADU) on the same lot, instead of one or the other, increasing the number of possible housing units on a single-family lot from two to three units.
  • Increasing the height and size of backyard cottages while reducing the minimum lot size.

Concern: These changes combine to turn single-family lots citywide into targets for developer and investor speculation as they open up having three rental units on one single-family lot and decreasing the opportunities for home ownership. The Seattle Times Editorial Board writes, “The new proposal is a wish list for developers, private and nonprofit, allowing nearly every single-family lot to be used for triplexes.”

There are more proposed changes to be concerned about in this upcoming legislation regarding open space, trees, setbacks and property lines, parking, etc… To read more about these concerns, click here.

Don’t be fooled by advocates calling this a moral imperative. This mostly helps politicians’ benefactors: developers and labor groups wanting license to build rentals virtually everywhere.
– The Seattle Times Editorial Board

Think about it and share your opinion of these proposals with your elected officials in city government. It’s important that they hear from you now. See below for a suggested message.

Continue reading