The FCA is no stranger to zoning issues. Numerous elected officials spoke at the FCA General Membership Meeting in 1995 about Washington states Growth Management Act requiring cities to develop Comprehensive Plans addressing density. At that time four urban villages were proposed for West Seattle; Admiral, Westwood, Morgan Junction and the Alaska Junction and these communities were expected to draft plans for increasing housing stock particularly low income housing. Fauntleroy was not declared an urban village and was not targeted to receive city money for neighborhood planning although it was acknowledged Fauntleroy would be impacted by traffic and transportation decisions. Fauntleroy did not develop neighborhood housing plans although for example, the Alaska Junction did develop a plan.
In September 2014, the Mayor’s Office and the City Council gathered leaders to develop a Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda (HALA) for increasing the affordability and availability of housing in Seattle. A report with 65 recommendations was eventually published one of which was Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA), a program that would provide more flexible zoning for development in exchange for developers either paying a fee or designating certain units for low income housing.
In July of 2015, the Seattle Times reported that HALA could include broad changes in single family zoning unleashing a firestorm of criticism and mobilizing neighborhood groups. In the final version, the most significant zoning changes were to be made in neighborhoods designated as Urban Villages wherein single family lots would be subdivided into two lots (residential small lots), apartment buildings could go as high as 80 feet and the presence of rapid transit would negate the requirement for off street parking. Even neighborhoods not declared an Urban Village would see other zoning changes around increased height, parking and fees and as such, in upper and lower Fauntleroy, the multifamily/commercial space along 45th between SW Henderson and SW Brace Point and adjacent buildings on Wildwood Ave. SW would be subject to the new rules as well as buildings on 35th SW between SW Henderson and SW 97th Street.
The City Council rezoned University, Downtown, South Lake Union and Chinatown as subject to MHA by July of 2017. The draft Environmental Impact Study (EIS) was also issued summer of 2017 and FCA submitted a letter to the City on August 7, 2017 objecting to the provisions that seemed incompatible with neighborhood character and put pressure on parking. Read the letter here. The final EIS was Publishedon November 9, 2017
The Seattle Coalition for Affordability, Livability, and Equity (SCALE) organized most of Seattles neighborhoods and appealed MHA citing among other arguments, the Environmental Impact Study was inadequate, treated the neighborhoods as homogenous as opposed to addressing their unique challenges and neighborhoods already had their Growth Plans stemming from the Growth Management Act. FCA donated $1,500 to the coalition. The Hearing Examiner ruled against SCALE in November of 2018 and by March of 2019, the City had implemented all of the Urban Villages including the ones in West Seattle as well as the peripheral zoning changes.
With respect to lower Fauntleroy, all of the commercial, apartment, condominium and multi-plex buildings on 45th SW and adjacent Wildwood SW were rezoned limiting height to 4 stories for commercial zoning and less for the lowrise buildings. For upper Fauntleroy along 35th SW, between SW Henderson and SW 97th , height is limited to 55 feet for certain commercial zoning. All of these parcels are subject to payment of fees or designation of certain space for low income housing. The City is no longer maintaining the maps used to explain MHA zoning. However, zoning maps may be found here where one may drill down to for parcel information as well as view zoning classifications by color.
Seattle Coalition for Affordability, Livability and Equity (“SCALE”) finished its appeal of the MHA EIS in front of the City’s Hearing Examiner on September 10, 2018 after 18 days of testimony. SCALE’s attorneys, Bricklin and Newman, in addition to six volunteer attorneys from SCALE presented SCALE’s appeal representing the 29 community and neighborhood objections to the MHA EIS. The Hearing Examiner will make his ruling on the appeal by mid November 2018.
Fauntleroy Community Association sent a letter to the mayor in August 2017, challenging the MHA EIS, joined SCALE in February, made two contributions to the SCALE appeal and had an FCA representative at most SCALE meetings. FCA believes that it is in the best interests of the Fauntleroy Community to continue to work with SCALE on the appeal and fundraising efforts to satisfy any outstanding expenses related to the appeal.Read More...
June 5 is a Public Hearing for District 1. This meeting is at Chief Sealth High School, 2600 SW Thistle, beginning at 6. The hearing begins at 6:00 p.m. and will continue until all in-person comments have been received. Members of groups, organizations, or coalitions with similar interests are encouraged to combine their presentations. Group presentations with four or more people will be limited to up to five (5) minutes. Individual comments will be limited to up to two (2) minutes.
May 9 from 6 - 8 is the Final Open House for the Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA) District 1 is at Louisa Boren K - 8, 5950 Delridge Avenue SW. District 1 includes Fauntleroy and the urban villages: Admiral, Morgan Junction, South Park, West Seattle Junction, Westwood-Highland Park. This is the last chance to ask questions about the proposed upzones from representatives from multiple city departments directly working on the MHA Proposal. The City has sent out emails that the following City departments planning to attend are: Office of Community Planning and Development (OPCD), Office of Housing (OH), Department of Neighborhoods (DON), Seattle Parks, Seattle City Light (SCL), Seattle Public Utilities with Rainwise (SPU), Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections with RRIO and code compliance (SDCI), Office of Sustainability and the Environment (OSE), Office of Economic Development (OED), King County Metro Transit (METRO), and Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT).