The Comprehensive Plan includes an Urban Village Strategy that promotes growth in areas that have places for people to work, live, shop, and access services in close proximity to one another. According to the plan, “Locating more residents, jobs, stores and services in close proximity can reduce the reliance on cars for shopping and other daily trips and decrease the amount of fossil fuels burned and the amount of greenhouse gases emitted. Increasing residential and employment densities in key locations makes transit and other public services convenient for more people and therefore makes these services more efficient.”
Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda
As part of the Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda (HALA), in 2016 the Mayor unveiled the Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA) proposal that requires that new multifamily residential development contribute to affordable housing, either with affordable homes in the building or payments to help construct them throughout the city. The MHA framework was adopted a year ago for residential development and, to implement that framework, proposals for rezoning parts of neighborhoods throughout the city are currently being considered. Much, but not all, of the rezones are being proposed in urban villages and urban centers.
In December, the Roosevelt Neighborhood Association (RNA) and the Department of Neighborhoods hosted public meetings that provided information and solicited public input about the proposed rezone of the Roosevelt Urban Village, including a proposed expansion of the Urban Village boundary east of 15th Avenue NE into the Ravenna neighborhood.
Environmental Impact Statement
Last month, a draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) about possible MHA changes was released. The EIS includes updated proposals for zoning changes, including proposals for expanding the Roosevelt Urban Village into the Ravenna neighborhood. For each neighborhood, three proposals are made:
- Alternative 1 – no changes to zoning;
- Alternative 2 – implementing MHA based on original planning concepts included in the Comprehensive Plan and the MHA framework.
- Alternative 3 – implementing MHA and specifically considering displacement risks and access to opportunities in each neighborhood.
Growth & Equity Analysis
Seattle has a long history of being a segregated city. Thanks in large part to redlining activities by financial, insurance, and other companies, as well as neighborhood covenants, many neighborhoods, including Ravenna-Bryant, excluded African Americans and other people of color from living in them. To decrease segregation throughout the city, the EIS includes an equity analysis to help inform decisions about land use policy changes.
As part of the EIS, the City assessed in which neighborhoods marginalized residents can attain resources, opportunities, and outcomes that improve quality of life and enable them to reach their full potential. Displacement was one outcome of growth that was assessed. Most of Ravenna-Bryant was identified as being at low risk of displacement.
The EIS also included an assessment of access to opportunity within neighborhoods. Access to opportunity includes measures related to education, transit, economic opportunity, civic infrastructure, and public health. Ravenna-Bryant has a great deal of opportunity accessible to those who live and work here.
Maps outlining proposed zoning changes in Alternatives 2 and 3 were released with the EIS. Below are the maps for proposed Roosevelt Urban Village changes including changes in the Ravenna neighborhood.
Alternative 2 in Ravenna
This alternative proposes expanding the Roosevelt Urban Village east to 16th Avenue NE north of NE 63rd Street and south of NE 68th Street. Land that is currently zoned Singe Family (SF) would be rezoned to Residential Small Lot (RSL) and Neighborhood Commercial 2-40 (NC2-40) zones would become NC2-55 zones, increasing allowable building heights by 15 feet.
Alternative 3 in Ravenna
Since Ravenna is considered a neighborhood with low displacement risk and with high access to opportunity, Alternative 3 proposes additional housing capacity changes. Zoning changes on 16th Avenue NE would extend north to 70th Avenue NE and south to NE 62nd Street. A variety of zoning designations are proposed including Lowrise 1, Lowrise, 2, Lowrise 3, and additional NC2-55. Zoning along 17th Avenue NE would change south of NE 68th Street from SF to RSL. Zoning designations along NE 65th Street between the Roosevelt neighborhood and the Ravenna business district would change from SF to Lowrise 1.
The City extended the public comment period to August 7th for the MHA draft EIS. Below are more helpful links to information provided by the City regarding this new policy:
- Draft EIS Summary Chapter This summarizes the findings for each topic in the EIS, such as Housing, Land Use, Aesthetics, and Transportation, among others. At 37 pages, it’s a good way to read an overview of the analysis and discussion of impacts contained in the full Draft EIS.
- June 29 Public Hearing boards A public hearing was held on June 29 at City Hall where the public could make comment on the Draft EIS. These boards explain what is in the Draft EIS and some of its key findings.
How to Comment
Use an online form.
By email: MHA.EIS@seattle.gov.
By US mail:
Office of Planning and Community Development
Attn: MHA EIS
PO Box 34019
Seattle, WA 98124-4019