Category Archives: Calls to Action

Ask City Council to allow discussion on Transportation Impact Fees. Support Council Bill 120635.

CALL TO ACTION: Email, Call and Testify

This week, please ask City Council to support Council Bill 120635 to amend the City’s Comprehensive Plan to allow the Council to engage with the public and then to later vote on whether to adopt transportation impact fees to pay for infrastructure needs created by new developments.

Monday, Nov. 6th: Please contact all Members of City Council and ask them to vote YES on CB 120635.

Tuesday, Nov. 7th: Please consider also making public comment either in-person or via telephone and ask all Councilmembers to vote YES on CB 120635.

City Council needs to hear from we, the people.  🙂

NOTE: CB 120635 is a procedural requirement—it does NOT impose any fees. What it does do is allow for the discussion, public engagement, and then, ideally, a vote.  If the comp plan does not get amended, then the exploration of impact fees cannot happen.  Impact fees are charged by all surrounding communities of Seattle, i.e., Redmond, Bellevue, Renton, Bainbridge Island, etc..


What are Impact Fees?  Impact fees are one-time charges assessed by a local government against a new development project to help pay for new or expanded public capital facilities that will directly address the increased demand for services created by that development. *
 
What can Transportation Impact Fees be used for?
Transportation impact fees must be used for “public streets, roads, and bicycle and pedestrian facilities that were designed with multimodal commuting as an intended use” that are addressed by a capital facilities plan element of a comprehensive plan adopted under the GMA, per RCW 82.02.050(4) and RCW 82.02.090(7).
According to our discussions with the Washington State Department of Transportation, “bicycle and pedestrian facilities that were designed with multimodal commuting as an intended use” would include any bike trail/lane/path, sidewalk, or any other multimodal trail/lane/path, whether on-street or off-street, as long as it is publicly owned or within the public right-of-way and connects two or more destinations.
It is unlikely that transportation impact fees can be used for other multimodal improvements not listed above, such as transit vehicles or recreational hiking trails.
Since impact fees are restricted to capital facilities, they cannot be used to fund transportation studies or operating and maintenance costs. *


Development impact fees are not a new idea—the cost to provide infrastructure for new real estate development should be carried in part by those new projects (“growth should pay for growth”).  Implementing development impacts fees—like 70 other Washington Cities already do—requires a two-step process: our comprehensive plan must be amended to allow impact fees before they can be considered by a separate ordinance. CB 120635 is just the first step (amending the comprehensive plan)!  

The timing of CB 120635 is particularly important because the 2015 Move Seattle property tax levy expires next year. Ideally, that property tax can remain flat or even decrease; shifting a reasonable amount of the burden to the for-profit developers of new market rate projects (as is done by Redmond, Bellevue, Federal Way, Shoreline, and 66 other Washington cities) will help make this tax reform possible. 
 
CM Herbold, a long-time proponent of impact fees, and CM Pedersen are co-sponsors of CB 120635 to amend the Comp Plan to enable consideration of a program at a later date.


Reference:
– * Source and language for What are Impact Fees and What can Transportation Impact Fees be used for? Comes from https://mrsc.org/research-tools/ask-mrsc
– To read Council Bill 120635 – click here

Background reading links:
– CM Pedersen’s page
– CM Herbold’s page
– Seattle Times: Seattle Leader Wants Developers to Help Pay for Transportation Projects


Some talking points on this topic:
•        Seattle is overdue for impact fees to help us pay for our transportation infrastructure rather than piling the entire cost-burden on homeowners and renters through property taxes. 
•        Seattle is an outlier when 70 other Washington State cities, including Bellevue, Redmond, Renton, Bainbridge Island (as well as cities across the nation) collect this important revenue for better infrastructure to support growth. 
•        Impact fees do not interfere with growth – Bellevue, Redmond and many other cities in Washington use those fees and these cities have not stopped growing. 
•        Seattle’s proposed impact fees would be relatively small in comparison with other cities’ programs.
•        Public, non-profit, and other low-income housing projects could be exempt from these fees. 
•        Impact fee revenue can be used for projects that support for ALL modes of travel, including pedestrians, transit, bikes, and freight. 
•        Impact fee revenue would free up other transportation revenues that Seattle needs to fix our aging bridges.  
•        Impact fees could be used to help pay for new or replacement trees in upgraded rights of way (streets) projects. 
•        Impact fees are not likely to appreciably impact market rate housing production or rents – driving down land values reduces upward pressure on market rent rates.  
•        Impact fees will not reduce the supply of low-income housing: Low-income housing is likely to be exempt.

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Wallingford Kiddie Parade – 11AM, Saturday, July 15th!

A community event since 1949? 1950?

Celebrate Wallingford - Kiddie parade July 14 2023 11am Poster

The Wallingford Kiddie Parade is 11AM, Saturday, July 15th!

Parade Route is along N 45th, starting at Bagley N. and ending at Interlake N.

What makes this parade special is that it is all about the kids marching in the parade!

This year’s theme: Halloween in July!  Bring kids in their Halloween costumes to Bagley N. & 45th, and if you are joining them – don’t forget to dress up, as well! 

For more information about participation, here’s your LINK

The Great Parade Float Bonanza: We encourage people to create cool floats!  Blake Garfield, (Celebrate Wallingford Board President) has a couple trailers to loan to folks who’d like to create a parade float.  Yes, there’s NO rental fee! He’ll even deliver it to your door.  The only commitment is your promise to turn yours into something fantastic.  Intrigued? Want to enter?  Find out more LINK

A little community history: This parade is Seattle’s oldest parade. It began as a Kiddie Parade and throughout the years has had several different faces. The event nearly fell into such disrepair that it was questionable whether it would survive. But survive it has.  Celebrate Wallingford is a brand-new neighborhood non-profit created especially to produce the parade. Wallingford Parade is for everyone in the neighborhood, and out! Parade route is from Bagley N to Interlake N on N 45th. Everyone is welcome. More info: Parade | Wallingford Parade (celebratewallingfordwa.org)

This is a community event by, for, and in YOUR neighborhood.  Help make it happen!  Love a Parade? Volunteer HERE  and/or Join the Board!

To Sponsor / Donate, click HERE 

Oppose HB1110/SB5190 – upzones without affordability!

Urgent CALL TO ACTION to oppose
HB1110/SB5190 which mandates statewide blanket upzones
without any guarantee of affordability.

HB1110/SB5190 seeks to dictate and override current land use laws in Seattle and statewide without any guarantee of affordability.

Please send comments to Governor Inslee, state senators in your district, and ask them to OPPOSE this bill. 

     Governor Inslee – fill out his contact form here, and to call: 360-902-4111

     District 43rd(mostly south of 45th street)
Jamie.Pedersen@leg.wa.gov       360 786 7628

     District 46 (North of 45th street)
     
Javier.Valdez@leg.wa.gov       360 786 7818

along with:
     Chair of Ways and Means
     
Christine.Rolfes@leg.wa.gov       360 786 7644     

One can also comment and track the bill by:
1)  Going to the Washington State legislature page and click on MENU on left  https://leg.wa.gov
2)  Then click on “Bill Information” on list and then type in search bar the bill number “1110” only (do not include the HB prefix), then click “search”
3) Click “Comment on this bill” and fill in your name, address, and zip to verify your legislators
5) You can choose to “oppose,” “neutral,” or “support” and leave comments
6) Lastly be sure to “send comment” or “submit” (make a copy for your records, optional) 


Here are the core excerpts from the original bill HB1110 and substitute bills:
1) Any city with a population of 75,000 or more … must provide statewide … authorization for the following:
a) The development of at least FOUR units per lot on all lots zoned for residential use,
b) The development of SIX units per lot on all lots zoned predominantly for residential use within ½ mile walking distance of a “Major transit stop or community amenity” and,
c) The development of SIX units per lot on all lots zoned predominantly for residential use, if at least two units are affordable housing.

Note b above: “major transit stop” definition has expanded to include, “community amenity” of about 200 public schools in Seattle and 300 parks within one half mile
Note b above: Amendments to reduce the 1/2 mile to 1/4 mile have failed in latest substitute bill and to the request to omit parks and schools denied
Note c above: “major transit stop” definition includes light rail, rapid ride, bus stops with regular service qualifications

d) To qualify for the additional units … the applicant must commit to renting two of the six units at rents affordable to low-income households (60% AMI renters and 80% AMI buyers) for a term of 50 years.

Note: this option of providing two units of affordable housing is only available if the building location is outside the ½ mile and the developer wants to increase production from four units to six units, AND, as almost all of Seattle is “within ½ mile walking distance of a, “Major transit stop or community amenity,” this incentive to add affordable housing units is negated by the above 1.b.  Essentially, this bill provides no incentive to build affordable housing units within Seattle and gives away negotiation power that could be used to ask for it.

Edmonds News, Reader View, Feb. 5, 2023, says it succinctly:
There is no upside to these bills. Failure to build affordable housing, override of local zoning ordinances, negative impact of development on our environmental resources (watersheds, critical areas, tree canopy) and on our aging infrastructure, and inevitable future property tax increases, are all serious downsides.


Background reading links for HB1110/SB5190: 

1) Seattle Times Jan. 27, 2023 “Serve the people, not the developers”
https://www.seattletimes.com/opinion/editorials/serve-the-people-not-developers-amend-middle-housing-bill/
“HB 1110 includes no authentic proscription to create affordable housing. Instead, it creates market-rate housing.”

2) Seattle Fair Growth Missing Middle Fact Sheet
 https://www.seattlefairgrowth.org/missing-middle-fact-sheet.html

3) District 4 Council Alex Pedersen News in Land Use section” Reasons to Reject HB1110/SB5190”
https://mailchi.mp/seattle.gov/so-much-to-accomplish-in-2023?e=af260c3273#land-use

4) Edmonds News Feb. 17th, 2023
https://myedmondsnews.com/2023/02/reader-view-who-will-benefit-from-house-and-senate-housing-bills-follow-the-money

Not only are the so-called “Missing Middle” House bills examples of using language to mislead, but both “Missing Middle” bills HB1110/SB5190 are statewide mandates to override and pre-empt Seattle’s local zoning laws.

Briefly, we need to reflect on Seattle’s sweeping blanket up zone legislation passed in 2019 which included MHA (Mandatory Housing Affordability) that eliminated all single-family zoned lots within 27 Urban Villages. All single-family lots inside these 27 Urban Villages were converted to higher density multi-family low rise zones.  Also, Seattle increased development capacity with massive upzones in Neighborhood Commercial zones and hubs such as downtown, Ballard, and the U District.

Additionally, the 2019 ADU/DADU attached and detached backyard cottage legislation up zoned every single-family lot citywide outside of the urban villages to allow 3 units per lot, citywide. That has evolved into unit lot subdivisions, generating the development of townhouses, being sold for a median listing price of $769K1.  Currently, developers can maximize profits by tearing down one house and selling or leasing 3 units at market rates in single family zones citywide.

Both of these sweeping changes to zoning are having the effect of decreasing the amount of naturally occurring affordable housing throughout Seattle faster than any affordable housing is being generated.  At least with the Seattle urban village MHA up zones, there is a development fee collected which transfers to non-profits to build affordable housing at a range of income levels. 


Some key reasons to reject or oppose HB1110/SB5190

  • Seattle residents should be in control of land use zoning decisions for Seattle
  • Seattle has sufficient capacity for growth, and the 2019 MHA and ADU/DADU upzones increased this capacity even further
  • More than 80% of the 250,000 needed units of housing in WA are low-income, subsidized housing, and that will not be addressed by upzoning; subsidies and incentives are needed.
  • Upzoning drives displacement, as it encourages tear downs of naturally occurring affordable housing within neighborhoods, as well as economic segregation by replacing what was once affordable to a broader swath of income levels with new market rate housing units.
  • HB1110 /5190 is going to produce market rate housing with zero affordability requirements within a ½ mile from parks, schools and transit (so no affordability requirements for most of Seattle)
  • Infrastructure language is inadequate for level of density mandated
  • Upzones in Seattle have caused property assessments to rise, dramatically increasing property taxes over the past few years
  • Environmental concerns such as such as tree canopies, setbacks, watersheds and run-off, critical areas prone to flooding, erosion, and landslides, and green space inclusion are being ignored at the expense of the quality of life for residents of all incomes

—Reference: 

  1. Redfin.com, on March 5, 2023 states, “There are currently 453 townhouses for sale in Seattle at a median listing price of $769K.”  https://www.redfin.com/city/16163/WA/Seattle/townhouses

Tonight, 7:00 PM Election of Officers, 7:30 PM Annual Meeting

Wednesday May 26

7:00 PM Officer Elections

Members of the Wallingford Community Council only, check your inbox for an email message with the correct information on how to register to vote. Due to changes in the Zoom meeting configuration, the previous registration link sent was incorrect.

7:30 PM Annual Meeting – All are welcome

This is a separate Zoom meeting from the Officer Elections meeting. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the Annual Meeting.

Program:

  • Welcome by current President Jenny Ring-Perez.
  • Guest Speaker: Remarks by Representative Frank Chopp.
  • Question and Answer session with Representative Chopp.
  • Adjourn