Category Archives: Mayor

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Tell Mayor Durkan & City Council to Vote No on the MHA “Grand Bargain”

Time to Email, Call, and Write Mayor Durkan and the City Council

Tell Mayor Durkan that while the vision sounds good (we all want more affordable housing, both subsidized and naturally occurring), the devil is in the details. And the details do not support passing the Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA) legislation.

Mayor Durkan and City Council need to hear from the people of Seattle before the final MHA hearing (which is February 21, during Seattle Public Schools winter break).

Please email, call, and write Mayor Durkan and our City Council members with your concerns and ask them to VOTE NO on the MHA Legislation.

Here is why:
Despite input from neighborhoods all over Seattle, the MHA legislation has remained pretty much the same since it was first proposed. The City’s propaganda paints a story that the MHA Legislation is the only way to increase affordable housing in Seattle. What the city does not tell you is that it displaces as much as it replaces, that it does not work to grow the city in a way that simultaneously grows livability and quality of life, and that the fee-in-lieu payments are ridiculously low. Also, there is no adequate “claw-back” provision to revert the zoning back to present definitions should the City be sued and the mandatory part of MHA be found to be unlawful (leaving the up-zones in effect, increasing rents and property taxes, without any affordable housing units!). 

Please email and call Mayor Durkan:jenny.durkan@seattle.gov; 206-684-4000; Mayor Jenny Durkan, PO Box 94749, Seattle, WA 98124-4749.

Please email and call City Council: lisa.herbold@seattle.gov, bruce.harrell@seattle.gov, kshama.sawant@seattle.gov, rob.johnson@seattle.gov, debora.juarez@seattle.gov, mike.obrien@seattle.gov, sally.bagshaw@seattle.gov, teresa.mosqueda@seattle.gov, lorena.gonzalez@seattle.gov; 206-684-2489; Seattle City Council, PO Box 34025, Seattle, WA 98124-4025.


Save the Date: Please plan to attend the only Public Hearing for the MHA legislation on Thursday February 21, 5:30 PM at Seattle City Hall in Council Chambers. Come early to sign up to testify.

If you can, attend the final consideration of the MHA legislation before the Select Committee on Monday February 25, 2:30 PM and before the Full Council on Monday March 18, 2:00 PM at Seattle City Hall in Council Chambers. Come early to sign up to testify.


Impacts here in Wallingford:

MHA FEIS Preferred Alternative Map for Wallingford Urban Village
  • If MHA passes, properties in the Wallingford Urban Village change from Single-Family to Lowrise-1, Lowrise-2, and even Lowrise-3 zoning (See maps below).
  • If MHA passes, 700 single-family homes will be up-zoned to multi-family zones.
  • If MHA passes, massive developments will be allowed next to houses. Many of the up-zones change building heights from three stories up to five stories!
  • If MHA passes, set-backs and step-backs to preserve yards, trees, and sunlight remain inadequate and may be greatly reduced by up-zoning.
  • If MHA passes, no affordable housing units will be required to be built on-site, and the fee-in-lieu payments provide a further discount to developers.
  • If MHA passes, it will decrease housing diversity and will drive families out of the urban villages. There are no requirements to build true family-sized three-bedroom housing.
  • If MHA passes, it will drive out local small businesses as there are no requirements for affordable leases in new buildings.
  • If MHA passes, property taxes increase for all up-zoned properties as adjacent properties are developed.
  • If MHA passes, rents will increase as new market-rate units are built.
  • If MHA passes, no on-site parking will be required in multi-unit buildings.
  • If MHA passes, the true displacement of low- and middle-income residents, and small businesses will go unknown as there is no requirement to track existing affordable housing and leases.
  • Whether or not MHA passes, the City (alone among Washington cities) will not have any Impact Fees to fund schools, parks, roads, and public safety!
MHA Zoning Changes for Wallingford Urban Village, Map 17
MHA Zoning Changes for Wallingford Urban Village, Map 16

MHA Zoning Changes for Wallingford Urban Village, Map 18


Why all the fuss? New to the HALA Grand Bargain MHA proposal? 

Winter Weather Resources at the City of Seattle

With winter weather continuing for the next few days, these City of Seattle information resources may be useful:

Fixing the MHA Grand Bargain, Saturday January 12

The Seattle Coalition for Affordability, Livability, & Equity (SCALE) is hosting the following event. Please forward this invitation to friends and family who live in less active neighborhoods and who would be greatly impacted by MHA:

Please attend “Fixing the MHA Grand Bargain”

Dear Concerned Neighbor,

The Seattle City Council has an aggressive schedule to adopt the Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA) legislation by the middle of March. They will discuss amendments to the MHA and to the Comprehensive Plan in January. The single Public Hearing will be held on Thursday February 21.

This will change our city forever! The Seattle Coalition for Affordability, Livability, & Equity (SCALE) remains concerned that MHA does not truly address affordability, destroys the livability of our homes, and provides no equity for non-wealthy residents. Unfortunately, the Appeal of the MHA Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) was not successful, except for requiring the City to more fully examine the impact on historic properties.

Now is the time to push City Council, especially your Councilmember, to make the MHA Grand Bargain the Right Bargain. SCALE is hosting an educational forum, “Fixing the MHA Grand Bargain” on Saturday January 12 from 10:00 AM to 12:00 Noon at the Central Area Senior Center, 500 30th Ave S.

The agenda will cover:

  • The urgency for action now!
  • The MHA legislation schedule.
  • The results of the MHA EIS Appeal.
  • What was learned from evidence presented at the Appeal.
  • Amendments being proposed to correct deficiencies in the MHA legislation (for both citywide and neighborhood specific issues).
  • The action plan to get amendments into City Council for discussion and adoption.

An optional background session covering “What is MHA?” will be held at 9:00 AM before the main meeting.

There is no need to RSVP. Coffee and light snacks will be provided. The closest bus routes are 14 and 27. Questions? Contact SCALE at info@scaleseattle.org.

Use your power to save our beloved neighborhoods and City. Please get involved and attend the forum!


The Ruling of the Hearing Examiner does not address the wisdom of the MHA legislation. Please see the editorial “A wake-up call for Seattle neighborhoods”, The Seattle Times editorial “Mayor must work with neighborhoods on Seattle’s growth and affordability plans”, and David Horsey’s cartoon “Shattering Seattle’s great neighborhoods”.

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Important Land Use Issues

1. Request an extension: MHA DEIS

The Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) evaluates the Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA) program impacts in Urban Villages, and in multi-family and commercial areas throughout Seattle. It presents three alternatives.  The first alternative is to not do the MHA Upzone program.  The second appears to be an expanded variation of what was presented at the end of the HALA Focus Groups and in the Urban Village Workshops.  The third alternative presented is brand new, and is not based on discussions with the HALA Focus Groups or the Urban Village Design Workshops.

Please request to extend the MHA DEIS comment period! Released on June 8, 2017, the DEIS is 462 pages long and the appendices are 364 pages long. This is over 800 pages to review within only 32 days.

Please send your request to: MHA.EIS@seattle.gov, as well as to the City Council by phone, 206-684-8888, and/or by email: Lisa Herbold, Bruce Harrell, Kshama Sawant, Rob Johnson, Debora Juarez, Mike O’Brien, Sally Bagshaw, Tim Burgess, Lorena González.

Please submit your request to Mayor Murray:
http://www.seattle.gov/mayor/get-involved/contact-the-mayor

These documents may be viewed or downloaded from the City’s MHA Environmental Impact Statement website, or from copies in the EIS folder on the Wallingford Community Council (WCC) website. These are large documents! The main document is 50 MB, and the appendices are 95 MB.

2. Public Hearing: MHA DEIS

Attend the Public Hearing on the DEIS on Thursday June 29, 5:30 PM at Seattle City Hall. Open House at 5:30 PM; Public Hearing starts at 6:30 PM.

  • Request an extension to the MHA DEIS comment period.
  • Ask for clarifications on MHA issues.
  • Share your concerns on MHA impacts.

3. Submit comments: Design Review Process “Improvements”

Please comment on the proposed Design Review Process “Improvements” by Monday July 10, 5:00 PM.

Ask the Land Use Planner and all Council members to:

  • Leave the Design Review Process as is.
  • Direct city employees and the Design Review Boards to enforce existing design guidelines.

Growth without Oversight: Without the check and balance of inclusive design review, growth can destroy neighborhoods. With it, the character and quality of the neighborhood is strengthened when adding housing and commercial spaces.

Click here for WCC call-to-action and contact information for comments.

Wallingford Community Council "Kite Hill" logo

Design Review Program “Improvements”, Comments due Monday July 10

Growth Without Oversight:

Seattle Design Review “Improvements” Released
Your Input Matters!

Do you believe in responsible growth that is positive for your community’s quality of life as well as benefitting developers and investors?

Then make your voice heard with the City Council! The City’s proposal to amend the design review process takes away your influence concerning what gets built in your neighborhood.

The City and Neighborhood Design Guidelines combine with the two public Design Review Review meetings format to make growth fit within the context of your neighborhood. Without the check and balance of inclusive design review, growth can destroy neighborhoods. With it, the character and quality of the neighborhood is strengthened when adding housing and commercial spaces.

Please ask all Council members to:

  • Leave the Design Review process as is.
  • Direct city employees and the Design Review Boards to enforce existing design guidelines.

Two Important Dates:

  • Public comments will be accepted through Monday July 10, 2017.
  • SEPA appeals may be made through Thursday June 29, 2017.

Proposed changes that impact neighborhoods include:

  • Removing neighborhoods from the process by replacing language such as:
    • “Neighborhood priorities among the design guidelines” with “identify guideline priorities”.
    • “Highest priority to the neighborhood” with “highest priority to the Board”.
  • Exempting projects on properties of less than 10,000 square feet from any design review. In the past 2 years, 29% of projects were in this category. For perspective: most four story apartment buildings are on properties of less than 10,000 square feet.
  • Restricting the scope of the Design Review Process:
    • Administrative – Developments inside Urban Villages get Administrative Design Review, with no public meetings, if less than 20,000 square feet.
    • Hybrid – Developments up to 20,000 square feet (or larger inside an Urban Village) would require only the Design Review Board “Recommendation” meeting and not the “Early Design Guidance” meeting.
    • Full – Only the largest developments, over 20,000 square feet, and only outside Urban Village boundaries, would require the normal Design Review Board “Early Design Guidance” and “Recommendation” meetings.
  • Revising who is a stakeholder by changing straightforward terms such as “Developers” to more generic terms like “Project Proponents”.
  • Shifting responsibility and authority from the Design Review Board to the Director. This has the effect of making Design Review Boards less independent, and will make the Board positions less attractive to the professionals who volunteer their time.
  • Granting departures from design guidelines without public review.

Submit your comments by Monday July 10, 5:00 PM to William Mills, Land Use Planner Supervisor, at william.mills@seattle.gov or by mail to:
City of Seattle, SDCI
Attn: William Mills
PO Box 94788
Seattle, WA 98124-7088

Please send your comments to the City Council by phone, 206-684-8888, or by email:
sally.bagshaw@seattle.gov; tim.burgess@seattle.gov; mike.obrien@seattle.gov; kshama.sawant@seattle.gov; rob.johnson@seattle.gov; lorena.gonzalez@seattle.gov; lisa.herbold@seattle.gov; bruce.harrell@seattle.gov; debora.juarez@seattle.gov

Please submit your comments to Mayor Murray:
http://www.seattle.gov/mayor/get-involved/contact-the-mayor


Your input DOES MATTER!  Last year, due to comments and push-back from all over the city, the proposed changes were tabled until now.


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Candidate Forums

Here are some of the upcoming public forums for Mayoral and City Council candidates. Please use these opportunities to bring to the attention of the candidates your concerns about livable neighborhoods, affordable housing, Urban Village zoning changes, neighborhood representation, impact fees, transportation, parking, and other important issues.

Mayoral Candidates with the Seattle Neighborhood Coalition

The Seattle Neighborhood Coalition (SNC) will have two programs dedicated to extended meetings with Seattle Mayoral Candidates. Each meeting will have one hour individual sessions with 3 different candidates. The candidates will make opening and closing statements, respond to a few fixed questions from the SNC, and then respond to audience questions.

The Saturday June 10, 1:00 PM meeting is with Jessyn Farrell, Jenny Durkan, and Nikkita Oliver at Black Zone, 2301 South Jackson Street, Suite 203. Admission is $10 (which includes finger foods), but no one will be turned away for lack of funds.

The Saturday July 8, 8:30 AM meeting is with Cary Moon, Michael McGinn, and Bob Hasagawa at the Central Area Senior Center, 500 30th Ave S. Admission is $6 (or $14 for buffet breakfast), but no one will be turned away for lack of funds.

Picnic in the Park Candidate Forum

The Fremont Chamber of Commerce, the Wallingford Chamber of Commerce, the North Seattle Industrial Association, and the Seattle Propeller Club have invited the Mayoral candidates, City Council At Large candidates, City Attorney Candidates, and Port Commissioner candidates to the Picnic in the Park Candidate Forum at the picnic area in Gas Works Park, 2101 N Northlake Way on Wednesday June 21, 12:00 – 1:30 PM. Admission is $20 for members & $25 for non-members. Register to pay ahead or pay at the door.

Position 8 Candidate Forum

Our Revolution Ballard, in cooperation with the 36th District Democrats and Trinity United Methodist Church, is hosting a forum for the candidates running for Seattle City Council Position 8. So far, six candidates have agreed to join us for the forum: Hisam Goueli, Jon Grant, Mac McGregor, Teresa Mosqueda, Sheley Secrest, and Charlene Strong. At Trinity United Methodist Church, 6512 23rd Ave NW on Tuesday June 27, 6:00 – 8:00 PM.