Roosevelt Station Transit Oriented Development Open House January 12

Sound Transit and the Roosevelt Neighborhood Association invite community members to an open house to discuss future development at the Roosevelt light rail station construction site. The open house will take place January 12, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Roosevelt High School commons, 1410 NE 66th Street.

roosevelt-station
Roosevelt Light Rail Station to be located at the corner of NE 65th Street and 12th Avenue NE. Drawing courtesy of City of Seattle.

As the Roosevelt Station takes shape, the area used for construction adjacent to the future station will become available for transit oriented development (TOD). TOD usually involves a mix of housing and commercial uses that support the transit facility. Combining housing and commercial activity, clustered around and adjacent to the transit station, will make it easier for people to get around via transit, support local businesses, and contribute to neighborhood growth, making Roosevelt a better place to live, work, and spend time.

Sound Transit and the Roosevelt Neighborhood Association are eager to hear from community members. This meeting is an opportunity to comment on the type of housing, community amenities, and urban design features to be included in the future development of the site. To submit questions or comments to Sound Transit: RooseveltTOD@soundtransit.org or 206-398-5300.

RBCA requests new U-Village garage be designed with community, pedestrians in mind

uvillagegarage
Summary of plan for a new garage on the northwest edge of University Village, facing NE 25th Street.

Two Ravenna-Bryant Community Association board members attended the December 19 Seattle Design Review Board meeting to provide comments about University Village’s plan to build 100,000 square feet of commercial space and 915 parking spaces in a new garage. Comments were also shared with the Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections through the following letter.

December 19, 2016

Dear Mr. Dorcy,

The letter provides feedback on University Village’s western garage and retail expansion project on behalf of the Ravenna-Bryant Community Association (RBCA).  Our primary concern is the size and scale of proposed western parking garage along 25th Avenue, and its potential impacts on street character and transportation. We are concerned about the impact of an approximately 350’ long garage along 25th with no retail frontage or any activation of any type along the street. The garage is also proposed to be seven (7) stories tall, which will shadow the street in the mornings, but with enough façade treatments (similar to the south garage), the visual impacts can hopefully be mitigated to some extent. We are also concerned that the elimination of the private drive (“47th Street”) will have traffic impacts that need to be mitigated and that the garage will further contribute to the light pollution. Our comments are summarized below, by category.

25th Avenue Streetscape

The western garage is the third large scale-parking garage proposed to be constructed on the property. The prior two have earned mixed reviews that are worth noting for context.

  • The northern garage turns its back (a 70-foot tall, 400-foot long CMU wall) to the neighborhood to the north, with only a modicum of attempt to screen the facility. There is no access through the garage for pedestrians arriving from 27th avenue to the north, so pedestrians must detour around this visually unappealing barrier to the mall.
  • The southern garage is visually appealing from the mall and the façade treatment when viewed from Montlake Boulevard from the south is fairly attractive for a giant parking garage. However, once again, there is little consideration for pedestrians arriving from the south (and from bus routes along Montlake). There should be a pedestrian entrance from the south the connects to the parking garage lobby, but instead there is only a small path around the structure to the west and no connecting pedestrian facilities connecting to the mall around the east side.

For this third garage, we hope that University Village will do more to provide physical connections to engage the neighborhood, but, at present, we believe that the structure will add a third barrier to the surrounding neighborhood. We appreciate that there is at least a pedestrian walkway planned through the building at the ground floor (across several lanes of ingress/egress traffic, however), but the overall plan once again focuses all the creative design inward and almost none outward. We hope that the Design Review Board will guide the design towards neighborhood engagement and creating a more vibrant 25th Avenue corridor.  While this portion of 25th is not designated as a “Pedestrian” zone, we believe is seems reasonable for a major retail center adjacent to the state’s flagship university, and within biking distance of light rail, and located in a city purporting to seek carbon neutrality, to do more to encourage walking and biking. We believe that a thoughtful ground level design could create at least some retail and a generous pedestrian connection through the structure.

Site Access

The Preferred Option eliminates the private street access know as 47th Street, which is replaced with an entrance to the parking garage. In concept, this takes cars directly from the arterial to the parking. This simplifies the internal circulation and could, theoretically reduce traffic internal to U-Village. However, drivers seeking to drop off or pick up shoppers, or access the QFC lot for easier access to the both QFC and U Village, will have only 49th Street as an option. This may create both a left hand turning queue from the north and a right-hand turn queue from the south. This will: 1) aggravate the dangerous situation that already exists with the adjacent curb cuts (49th and the Office Max access drive) and 2) combine with the planned monolithic western garage in further discouraging pedestrians from using 25th and taking some cars off the road. We would like for the project to study ways to improve the safety of turning movements to and from 25th to mitigate impact to pedestrians in support City goals for pedestrian safety. Second, we request that transportation mitigation funds from this expansion project be used to support pedestrian and bike access from adjacent neighborhoods that should be well within a walkshed for a major retail center but are not well utilized due to poor connections:

  • No sidewalks along streets like 50th and interrupted sidewalks along Blakely
  • Marginal pedestrian connections along Union Bay Place
  • No pedestrian connection to cross new main through access point at 49th.
  • Poor bike connection between the Burke Gilman trail and University Village from approximately Pend Oreille Road
  • No bike connection from the Burke Gilman east of the mall to along approximately 47th Street

We appreciate the Design Review Board’s Consideration. The RBCA Board would be happy to meet and discuss this matter further with the City of Seattle and the applicant, as possible.

Thank you very much for your consideration.

Sincerely,

Chris Fiori

Chair, Land Use Committee

Ravenna-Bryant Community Association

What did RBCA do in 2016? What’s in store for 2017?

A year ago, the RBCA board of directors adopted a vision statement: Ravenna-Bryant is a welcoming, thriving, safe, diverse, and connected neighborhood. This statement of shared values now guides the work we do. When the RBCA board considers actions, we ask ourselves if what is being considered will contribute to our vision. Our neighborhood is growing, with many changes coming in the next few years. It’s important that no matter how each of us feels about these changes, we look for the common ground of our shared vision.

2016 Accomplishments

Annual meeting: In the spring, RBCA hosts an annual membership meeting. (Anyone who lives or works in the Ravenna and Bryant neighborhoods is a member.)  In May, RBCA’s annual meeting focused on the Mayor’s Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda, known as HALA. Other organizations, including the Seattle Department of Transportation, the University of Washington, and Seattle Parks and Recreation, were on hand to provide information and answer questions. The main presentation was about HALA’s Mandatory Housing Affordability policy and most of the concerns expressed by our neighbors were about maintaining and establishing affordable housing in Ravenna-Bryant.

Support for housing levy: Listening to what we heard from community members who participated in the annual meeting, the RBCA board voted to endorse the renewal and expansion of the Seattle Housing Levy. RBCA was the first neighborhood association in Seattle to publicly support the levy.

Mobility survey: During most community meetings about changes to our neighborhood and surrounding neighborhoods, conversations often include issues about parking, motor vehicle traffic, and pedestrian and biker safety. To develop a plan for addressing the most pressing mobility-related issues in Ravenna-Bryant, the RBCA board conducted an online survey to supplement comments collected during meetings and informal conversations with neighbors.

Results were used to develop a Mobility Safety Action Plan. While many mobility safety issues impact all of us, with limited resources RBCA chose those which are of most concern to people. Pedestrian safety, especially along NE 65th Street, was the most commonly identified problem. Speeding motor vehicles on all of our arterial roads was a common complaint expressed by neighbors who drive, bike, and walk.

fix65th
#Fix65th walk & rally, June 2016.

#Fix65th: In partnership with the Roosevelt Neighborhood Association (RNA) and NE Seattle Greenways, RBCA formed the #Fix65th Coalition and organized a walk and rally in June to raise awareness about unsafe conditions for pedestrians, bikers, and motorists on NE 65th Street. The following month, RBCA and RNA launched an advocacy campaign with a letter to the Seattle Department of Transportation requesting that they study design solutions to make the road safer.

Throughout the rest of the year, the #Fix65th coalition advocated for funding for a study through Twitter, testimony before the City Council’s Transportation Committee, and meetings with District 4 Councilmember Rob Johnson. In December, CM Johnson announced that our message was heard and funding for a study of NE 65th Street is included in the 2017 city budget!

Re-activated Emergency Preparedness Committee: After several years on hiatus, a new RBCA board member re-activated the RBCA’s committee focusing on emergency preparedness. The committee is sending out “A Task A Month” emails to community members through the RBCA email list encouraging everyone to be ready for a natural disaster.

RBCA sidewalk photo 2
RBCA continues to advocate for sidewalks on NE 50th Street.

Advocacy for NE 50th Street sidewalks: Considering the street provides a connection between Ravenna-Bryant and University Village, no sidewalks along NE 50th Street south of the cemetery makes it dangerous for pedestrians. A long-standing RBCA project, advocacy efforts paid off when U-Village asked SDOT to earmark mitigation dollars (associated with building the new space for Restoration Hardware) to go toward sidewalks on NE 50th Street. However, SDOT estimated that the funds would only cover half of the costs for putting in a sidewalk between 30th and 35th Avenues NE.

To secure funding for the other half, RBCA submitted a Neighborhood Street Fund proposal in 2016. Since it was ranked among the top five NE Seattle proposals, SDOT completed a brief study of the project, including an estimated cost. SDOT also completed a brief study of a project proposed by NE 85th Street neighbors, which RBCA also supported.  In the end, another project was chosen for funding in NE Seattle.

University Village design review comments: University Village released expansion plans which include a large parking garage on 25th Avenue NE. RBCA board members attended the December design review board meeting and asked that the building include outward-facing (toward 25th Avenue) retail to create a more pedestrian-friendly and engaging environment. With the University of Washington planning more student housing north of U-Village and developing the parking lots south of U-Village, and with light rail a mile from the mall, people walking through the area will increase in the near future. This will especially be true as motor vehicle traffic on Montlake becomes increasingly congested.

RBCA board membership: In 2016, we added 3 neighbors to the RBCA board. Our board membership is now at 14, just shy of the 15 spots available.

2017 Workplan

The RBCA board is looking forward to another year filled with activities to make our vision a reality.

More opportunities to become prepared for an emergency: The Emergency Preparedness Committee is currently planning to host community meetings the third Tuesday of January, February, and March about preparing a block, many blocks, and our region for a natural disaster. On April 18, the RBCA annual meeting will focus on emergency preparedness.

Continued implementation of the Mobility Safety Action Plan: RBCA will continue to partner with RNA and NE Seattle Greenways to educate community members about safety improvements and advocate for road design changes proven to reduce collisions that hurt drivers, bikers, and walkers. We will continue to advocate for sidewalks where there are none.

Improved RBCA operations: Two task forces were formed in December to review and update bylaws and to develop a formal community outreach plan. Both task forces have an overarching goal of increasing contributions of people who bring diverse points of view to discussions and actions.

Continued forum for land use changes: As land use policies change in Seattle, RBCA will continue to monitor and educate neighbors about the ones affecting Ravenna-Bryant. We will continue to provide public comment about projects that impact our community.

A note about changes to the Department of Neighborhoods outreach activities: This past year was a somewhat tumultuous one for some neighborhood-based groups. The Mayor issued an executive order changing financial and staffing support that used to only support district councils, including the NE District Council.  While RBCA is a member of the NE District Council, we are not losing funding (we did not receive any) and we will continue to reach out to and work with City staff, when needed, as we always have.

An open invitation to all Ravenna-Bryant community members: RBCA activities reflect individual board member’s interests. For example, in 2016 the Emergency Preparedness Committee came out of hiatus because a new board member is interested in the topic. Another board member is passionate about making NE 65th Street a safer place for everyone and, therefore, we partnered with other organizations to form the #Fix65th Coalition. RBCA is always looking for people who are passionate about making a positive impact. If you want to work toward the realization of the RBCA vision, please consider participating in an upcoming board meeting and working with others who want to, as well! We meet the first Tuesday of every month except August, 6:30 p.m., at the Ravenna-Eckstein Community Center. Please join us!

Roosevelt land use academy meeting December 10

lua3

The Roosevelt Neighborhood Association (RNA) is hosting, and RBCA is co-facilitating, a community-driven workshop to discuss the City of Seattle’s Housing Affordability & Livability Agenda (HALA).  The Meeting will be held at 10:00 a.m. at the Calvary Christian Church at 6801 Roosevelt Way.  The meeting will primarily on proposed land use changes within and around the Roosevelt Urban Village, which includes a portion of the Ravenna-Bryant neighborhood east of 15th Avenue NE. In addition, the meeting will address other aspects of HALA that address housing affordability in both neighborhoods.  

Goals for the meeting are to:

·       Bring members of the Roosevelt and Ravenna-Bryant neighborhoods together to develop awareness of the City of Seattle HALA Report.

·       Provide an opportunity for these neighbors to provide feedback on issues that are important in the Roosevelt and Ravenna-Bryant neighborhoods regarding HALA & potential zoning changes and solicit constructive ideas from the community.  

For more information, go to http://rooseveltseattle.org/committees/landuse/lua 

SR 520 Bridge Replacement Project meeting December 7

A message from the State Route 520 Bridge Replacement and HOV Project:

160620wwrendering_550x330
Conceptual image of a bicycle-pedestrian land bridge over SR 520. Image courtesy of Washington State Department of Transportation.

We would like to invite you to join the next West Approach Bridge North (WABN) monthly public meeting on December 7. Along with updates about current and upcoming WABN construction activities, we will also provide a presentation and opportunity to learn more about the next phase of SR 520 construction, known as the Montlake Phase. This phase is scheduled to begin in 2018 and includes the Montlake lid and land bridge.

Meeting details:

  • Date: Wednesday, December 7
  • Time: 5:30-6:30 p.m.
  • Location: Graham Visitors Center, 2300 Arboretum Drive E

Upcoming events about local land use changes

U-District Livability Open House

Hosted by Councilmember Rob Johnson’s office

Saturday, November 19, 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

University Heights Center, 5031 University Way NE

May different City departments and agencies will be in attendance to share information about projects in the neighborhood and details about upcoming land use changes.

 

Roosevelt Neighborhood Association Land Use Academy

Saturday, December 10, 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

6801 Roosevelt Way NE, lower floor gym

Purpose:

  • Bring members of the Roosevelt neighborhood together to develop awareness of the City of Seattle HALA report.
  • Provide an opportunity for these neighbors to provide feedback on issues that are important in the Roosevelt Neighborhood.
  • Collect and respond to questions from community members.

For more information and to register, contact the RNA land use chair at landuse@rooseveltseattle.org.

RBCA board meeting Tuesday, November 1

RBCA board meetings are open to everyone. The next meeting will take place Tuesday, November 1, starting at 6:30 p.m. at the Ravenna-Eckstein Community Center.

AGENDA

Welcome & Introductions

Board Reports

  • Secretary’s Report: Minutes
  • Treasurer’s Report
  • Land Use Committee Report
  • Transportation Committee Report
  • Emergency Preparedness Committee Report

E-vote re: homeless encampment ordinance letter

E-vote re: Green Lake-Roosevelt urban village workshop notice

Green Lake-Roosevelt urban village workshop de-briefing

University of Washington Seattle Campus Master Plan

Project at former Perkins School site

Reports from Associated Community Groups

  • Children’s Hospital Standing Advisory Committee
  • Northeast District Council
  • North Precinct Advisory Council
  • City University Community Advisory Committee
  • Ravenna-Eckstein Advisory Council

Announcements

Upcoming SDOT & UW open houses provide neighbors with chance to learn about upcoming projects

Seattle Department of Transportation Open House

Project: 2018 NE Seattle Paving Project & Banner Way NE/NE 75th Street Safety Project

Monday, October 17, 5:30-7:30 p.m.

Roosevelt High School cafeteria

sdot-paving-2018
Seattle Department of Transportation’s 2018 paving and safety projects in NE Seattle. Map courtesy of SDOT.

University of Washington Seattle Campus Master Plan Open House

Project: The draft 2018 Seattle Campus Master Plan and draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)

Wednesday, October 26, 6:30-9:00 p.m.

UW Tower Auditorium

A 45-day comment period ends November 21. If you’d like to comment, please send comments to cmpinfo@uw.edu or jblakesl@uw.edu. Comments may also be mailed to: Julie Blakeslee, Environmental and Land Use Planner, Capital Planning & Development, Box 352205, Seattle, WA 98195-2205.

uw-east-campus-plan
University of Washington draft Seattle Campus Master Plan’s vision for east campus. East campus includes parking lots north of Husky Stadium and student housing north of University Village. Image courtesy of UW Seattle Master Plan website.

In approving the master plan, our city council has a quasi-judicial role such that they are not to talk about the plan or the EIS. If they do enter into a conversation with the public, they may be required to recuse themselves from the proceedings. It is strongly advised you do not go to the city council with questions or comments but comment using the information provided above. Be specific in your comments citing the page, document, and section to which your comments pertain.

Renew the Seattle Housing Levy August 2

BrettlerFamilyPlaceLarger
Brettler Family Place at Sand Point was built in part with Seattle Housing Levy funds. The current levy expires at the end of the year.

August 2 is the primary election and at the end of your ballot is Proposition 1, which will renew and expand the expiring Seattle Housing Levy. The RBCA board of directors endorsed this important affordable housing measure and we encourage you to vote YES when you mail in your ballot by August 2!

Seattle’s Housing Levy has a 35-year track record of success. It helped to produce and preserve of over 12,500 affordable rental homes for hospital workers, pre-school teachers, people working in retail and restaurants, and seniors and other people on fixed incomes, as well as supportive housing for people who are homeless. This new levy will produce or preserve at least 2,150 units of affordable housing. These homes are maintained affordable for at least 50 years after production ensuring our neighborhoods are affordable to all people who make our communities strong.

Since 2002, Seattle’s Housing Levy has also provided emergency rental assistance to 6,500 families, with additional services to help these families regain stability and avoid homelessness. It’s critical that we prevent homelessness before it starts and this new levy will provide emergency rental assistance for thousands more households.

The Mayor, all nine Seattle City Council members, and affordable housing advocates agree: expanding the levy is the right thing to do. That means hundreds of additional affordable homes for low-income seniors, people with disabilities, lower-wage workers and families with children.

Click here for a fact sheet outlining all the investment programs this Levy will support.

This new levy will cost the owner of a typical $480,000 home only $5 more per month.

Ballots were mailed yesterday. When you vote, remember to go to the end of the ballot and vote YES for Proposition 1, Seattle’s Housing Levy! Be sure to mail in or drop off your ballot by August 2 so Seattle can take a major step forward in addressing our housing affordability crisis by providing affordable homes for thousands of our fellow Seattleites!

This summer, learn about plans for guiding growth in our city

RavennaBlvdSewer
We’ve come a long way in the last century! This photo shows the Ravenna Blvd sewer construction in 1909. Be a part of public conversations about how our city grows in the future. (Photo thanks to History Link.)

During RBCA’s annual meeting in May, many Ravenna-Bryant neighbors said that they would like to see more affordable housing options in our community as the City starts implementing plans for increasing housing availability throughout Seattle. With rents rising and houses being sold for over asking prices, Ravenna-Bryant needs housing that is affordable for all.

On July 14 at noon, people can “lunch & learn” at City Hall about Seattle’s Equitable Development Implementation Plan. This joint meeting with the Land Use & Zoning Committee and Civil Rights, Utilities, Economic Development & Arts Committee will include a discussion of solutions to create access to opportunity in communities most impacted by the threat of displacement. The Equitable Development Implementation Plan also includes policies that would ensure increased affordable housing and housing assistance in high opportunity neighborhoods, like Ravenna-Bryant.

The Plan is part of Seattle’s Comprehensive Plan update which includes many land use and related policy proposals to guide our city’s growth through 2035. There are many chances for citizens to learn more and to weigh in on proposals. Visit Seattle 2035 to find out when and where they are. Don’t have time to attend meetings? Weigh in online!

RBCA board meets Tuesday

The RBCA board of directors meets Tuesday, July 5, 6:30 p.m., at the Ravenna-Eckstein Community Center playground. (The community center building will be closed. In case of rain, we will meet at Harissa.) The board does not meet in August.

Board meetings are open to the public. Everyone is welcome!

AGENDA

6:30                  Welcome & Introductions

6:35                   Board Reports

  • Secretary’s Report: Minutes
  • Treasurer’s Report
  • Land Use Committee Report
  • Transportation Committee
    • In Motion event
    • #Fix65th Safety Walk
    • Mobility Assessment

7:05                    Sameer Ranade, candidate State Rep for 43rd District

7:10                    Learning more about proposed land use changes

  • Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA)
  • ADU/DADU
  • Updates
  • Policies for discussion during future board meetings

7:45                    Ravenna-Eckstein Community Center Funding

8:05                    Emergency Preparedness

8:15                    Reports from Associated Community Groups

  • Children’s Hospital Community Advisory Committee
  • City University Community Advisory Committee
  • North Precinct Advisory Council
  • Northeast District Council
  • Ravenna-Eckstein Advisory Council

8:25                    Announcements

June 21 public hearing on mandatory housing affordability program

Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA), part of the Mayor’s Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda (HALA), was discussed during the May RBCA annual meeting and during this week’s RBCA board meeting. On Tuesday, June 21 at 9:30 a.m., the City Council will hold a public hearing about MHA for residential development.

Under the MHA-R program, new multi-family residential development would be required to provide affordable units (performance) or make an in-lieu payment.  The MHA-R program will be implemented as increases in residential development capacity are approved.  Among other things, the proposed ordinance would: 

·           Establish the Council’s intent as to implementation of the MHA-R program;

·           Establish the applicability of and exemptions from the program;

·           Establish requirements for units provided through performance; and

·           Establish procedures for seeking modifications to program requirements. 

Written Comments may be sent to:  Councilmember Rob Johnson, Legislative Department, 600 Fourth Avenue, Floor 2, P.O. Box 34025, Seattle, WA  98124-4025 or by email to rob.johnson@seattle.gov.   Written comments should be received by Monday, June 20 at 12 p.m. 

Electronic copies of the proposed ordinance are available through the Planning, Land Use and Zoning Committee’s webpage, http://www.seattle.gov/council/committees/planning-land-use-and-zoning.

June 27 public hearing about Seattle Comprehensive Plan Update

The Seattle City Council is considering amendments to the Seattle Comprehensive Plan and the City’s Land Use Code to implement the Mayor’s Recommended Comprehensive Plan, known as Seattle 2035. The proposed amendments are available at 2035.seattle.gov or seattle.legistar.com (search for Council Bill 118683). The Comprehensive Plan guides land use throughout Seattle.

The Mayor’s Recommended Plan proposes to significantly rewrite the Seattle Comprehensive Plan. Some of the changes proposed are:

  • Include a growth strategy to distribute the City’s share of growth allocated by the King County Growth Management Planning Council, which is 70,000 new housing units and 115,000 new jobs by 2035 by allocating growth estimates to urban villages throughout the City. The recommended growth strategy calls for continued growth in urban centers and urban villages with particular emphasis on centers and the villages with very good transit service.
  • Emphasize Race and Social Equity as a core value of the Comprehensive Plan, implementing Resolution 31577.
  • Change the way urban centers and urban villages are depicted on the Future Land Use Map, identify a potential future urban village at N. 130th Street at Interstate 5 and allow for potential future expansions of urban villages near frequent transit.
  • Identify appropriate scales and densities within different types expected in each category of urban center and village.
  • Add a section about transportation safety.
  • Add policies supporting fair housing and seeking to overcome historic patterns of segregation.
  • Create a new Parks and Open Space Element. Remove numeric goals for open space amenities. Recognize the importance of public open spaces that are not City-owned parks.
  • Simplify the Neighborhood Planning element, removing policies that specify how neighborhood plans should be prepared. No changes are proposed to any neighborhood plan.
FLUM April 2016
Mayor’s Future Land Use Map, April 2016

Additional information regarding the scope of changes and a comparison of the existing and proposed Comprehensive Plan is available in the “Directors Report” available at 2035.seattle.gov.

Public Hearing

The City Council’s Planning, Land Use and Zoning (PLUZ) Committee will hold a public hearing to take comments on the Mayor’s Recommended Plan on June 27, 2016 at 6:00 p.m. The hearing will be held in the Seattle City Council Chambers at City Hall: 600 Fourth Avenue, 2nd Floor, Seattle, WA 98104.

For those who wish to testify, sign-up sheets will be available outside of Council Chambers starting at 5:30 p.m. Childcare will be provided.

Written Comments

Written comments on the proposal will be accepted through 5:00 p.m. on June 27. Please send comments to Amy Gore in Councilmember Rob Johnson’s office via e-mail at: amy.gore@seattle.gov.

Will HALA increase access to opportunities for more community members?

During their May 3 meeting, the City Council’s Planning, Land Use, and Zoning Committee was briefed about Equity in the Seattle 2035 Comprehensive Plan and the Equitable Development Implementation Plan. Policies contained in the Mayor’s Housing Affordability & Livability Agenda (HALA) are part of the City’s plan for creating equity in Seattle. Learn more about HALA during RBCA’s upcoming annual meeting.

RBCA Annual Meeting

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

6:30-8:30PM

Ravenna-Eckstein Community Center

How equitable is Seattle right now? When developing the drafted Comprehensive Plan update, access to opportunity was considered in all areas of our city. Access to opportunity includes things that contribute to social, economic, and physical well-being. As is shown in the map below, the Ravenna-Bryant neighborhood is identified as a neighborhood that has average to high access to opportunity.

Equity Analysis Seattle 2035

The May 3 committee meeting presentation indicates that the City’s equity goals include increasing opportunity in neighborhoods that are currently considered areas of low opportunity and increasing housing choices in neighborhoods currently considered areas of high opportunity.

A recent article in the Seattle Times reports that living in a low income community is among the aspects of poverty that are particularly damaging and can be addressed by public policy. In addition to addressing low family income and poor education, which are also among the aspects identified, local policy can impact where people live.

The roots of current equity disparities in our city may be found when reviewing local history that included severe segregation policies. For instance, from the 1910s through the 1960s, many Seattle neighborhoods, including Ravenna-Bryant, practiced overt racial exclusion through land use covenants. To this day, communities are still working to right the wrongs of the past and create equity throughout the city. Now that we are coming to terms with past policies that created segregation and contributed to poverty, and now that we can identify the factors contributing to continued poverty, we have the opportunity to establish new policies that can reduce disparities and increase equity in our city.

Housing Levy to be on August ballot: Learn more May 17 at RBCA’s annual meeting

BrettlerFamilyPlaceLarger
Brettler Family Place at Sand Point Naval Station was built in part with Seattle Housing Levy funds. The current levy expires at the end of the year.

The Seattle City Council yesterday unanimously voted to include a $290 million Housing Levy on the August 2, 2016 Primary Election ballot. The levy proposal focuses on increasing affordable housing production and preservation, supporting homelessness prevention, and fostering home ownership for low-income residents.

The levy is part of the Mayor’s Housing Affordability & Livability Agenda (HALA) which will be the focus of RBCA’s upcoming annual meeting. Join us and learn more about the levy and other HALA policy proposals.

 

RBCA Annual Meeting

Focus: HALA

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

6:30-8:30PM

Ravenna-Eckstein Community Center

More housing & businesses along NE 65th Street?

Most Ravenna-Bryant residents are comfortable with more development along NE 65th Street, according to a 2013 survey conducted by RBCA. Will the Mayor’s Housing Affordability & Livability Agenda (HALA) set the stage for increased development on NE 65th Street? Attend the RBCA’s annual meeting and find out.

RBCA Annual Meeting

Topic: HALA

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

6:30-8:30 p.m.

Ravenna-Eckstein Community Center

More about that survey . . .

Of the 610 residents who took the survey,  most agreed that traffic congestion is their biggest concern.  People also agreed that the community needs better pedestrian and bike safety features; to work with developers to ensure neighborhood-friendly development; and ensure parking spaces are included with property development.  Many people who reported being comfortable with more development stated that they want to discourage automobile usage while people who reported not being comfortable with more development were more likely to be concerned with the loss of parking.

The biggest concerns among the 64% of Ravenna-Bryant residents who indicated that they are comfortable with more development were:

  1. Traffic/congestion*
  2. Pedestrian and bike safety
  3. Driving should not be encouraged.
  • Need to cater to modes of transportation other than cars
  • Limit parking so people will choose other modes of getting around.
  • Need for bike lanes/walking amenities/better streetscape
  1. Need for better transit
  2. Ugly, cheap apartments/development/businesses/townhomes
  3. Parking should be included with development, parking on side streets
  4. Buildings shouldn’t be too tall
  5. Businesses need to cater to neighborhood residents
  6. Property value
  7. Density/crowding
  8. Noise
  9. Crime/vandalism
  10. More retail needed, reduce vacant businesses, keep retail west of 25th and east of 20th
  11. Transit/bike/pedestrian safety around light rail station
  12. Bike lanes inappropriately placed
  13. Losing “hole in the wall” charm of some buildings
  14. Increased rent
  15. Decreased livability
  16. Prevent removal of trees

The biggest concerns among the 29% who said they are not comfortable with more development along NE 65th Street were:

  1. Traffic/congestion
  2. Increased crime
  3. Adding to already over-crowded schools
  4. Loss of parking
  5. Pedestrian and bike safety
  • especially with increased congestion
  • especially for students in neighborhood schools
  1. Lack of appropriate planning
  • “City does not listen to neighbors or neighborhood.”
  • “I don’t want Ravenna Bryant to become condo-ville like Ballard.”
  • Lack of green space
  1. Increased density
  2. Bike lanes should not be developed on NE 65th Street
  3. Noise
  4. Need for increased police, fire, bus and other services
  5. Property values
  6. Eliminating single family houses
  7. Increased rental costs
  8. Undesirable businesses

*Italicized answers indicate issues of common concern  among those in favor of more development and those not in favor of more development.

May 17 RBCA Annual Meeting to focus on HALA

Yesterday, Mayor Ed Murray unveiled his proposal to enact a residential Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA-R) program which will require that new multifamily residential development in Seattle contribute to affordable housing, either with affordable homes in the building or payments to help construct them throughout the city.

MHA map
Map of Mayor’s proposed Affordable Housing Program Areas included in his Housing Affordability & Livability Agenda (HALA)

This map shows the areas in north Seattle to which the program could apply, including the area around University Village and NE 55th Street. (See our previous post about NE 55th Street for information about how it is zoned.)

Additional information about MHA-R is included in a Director’s Report and the full text of the proposed ordinance.

HALA contains many policy proposals, including MHA-R. Community members are invited to learn more about HALA and other land use issues affecting Ravenna-Bryant during our upcoming annual meeting. City staff will be on hand to discuss HALA policies and answer your questions.

 

RBCA Annual Meeting

Topic: The Mayor’s Affordability & Livability Agenda (HALA)

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Ravenna-Eckstein Community Center

As rents climb, can Ravenna-Bryant be diverse & welcoming?

d1d07395-8df8-7101-8b99-a91558799b14
An older apartment building on NE 55th Street. This stretch of NE 55th Street is currently zoned Neighborhood Commercial and can include buildings up to 4 stories.

Rents in the area south of NE 65th Street in Ravenna-Bryant increased 10-14% between 2014-2015 according to a recent Seattle Times article. Rents in the neighboring University District rose by more than 16% in the same time period.

The article notes that communities like the U-District and parts of Ravenna-Bryant are desirable because of their density which tends to mean that there are amenities like restaurants and easily accessible transit. With the UW light rail station opening last month, and with the Roosevelt light rail station opening in 5 years, the area will become even more desirable.

As Ravenna-Bryant becomes a more desirable place to live,

Ravenna Present (Bryant Heights)
Rendering of new apartments being built on NE 65th Street.

rents will continue to increase, pricing many people out of our community. The RBCA board recently adopted a vision statement that puts in words what we want our community to be like in 10-20 years. “Welcoming” and “diverse” are two adjectives the RBCA board chose to include in our vision statement. If rents continue to increase as they have in the past few years, Ravenna-Bryant may not be very economically diverse nor welcoming to all.

 

To address these issues throughout Seattle, the Mayor released a Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda, commonly known as HALA. HALA contains multiple policies with the common goal of increasing affordable housing options throughout Seattle and, at the same time, maintaining and creating a livable city.

The RBCA’s annual meeting this year will focus on HALA. The meeting is open to all community members who want to learn more about the policies contained in HALA.

RBCA Annual Meeting

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Ravenna-Eckstein Community Center

Agenda

  • Open House – Learn about HALA and get your questions answered one-on-one with city staff members.
  • RBCA Business: Electing 2016-17 board members
  • HALA Panel Presentation
  • Public Q&A

Are More ADUs and DADUs coming to RBCA?

This Tuesday, January 26th, from 5-7 p.m. at City Hall Mayor Murray and department directors will launch their conversation on the implementation of HALA (Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda).

The HALA Report, which consists of 65 recommendations made by a 28 member committee, identified ADUs (Accessory Dwelling Units) and DADUs (Detached Accessory Dwelling Units) as a way to create more housing in single-family areas in Seattle.  Last Tuesday, January 19th at the Filipino Community Center, about 100 people gathered to hear former Planning, Land Use, and Zoning Committee Chair Councilmember Mike O’Brien and Nick Welch from the Office of Planning and Community Development discuss policy changes that would encourage more homeowners to construct ADUs and DADUs.  (District 4’s Rob Johnson is the current Planning, Land Use, and Zoning Committee Chair Councilmember.)

According to Mr. Welch, the City of Seattle currently has just over 1000 permitted ADUs and 220 permitted DADUs.  There were 6 policy changes on which attendees were asked to comment and vote.  Based on public comments and the votes on the 6 poster boards, the majority of people at the Filipino Community Center last week were in favor of all of the changes below.

1)Should we remove the off street parking requirement?

2) Should we allow an ADU and a DADU on the same lot?

3)Should we remove the owner-occupancy requirement?

4) Should we modify development standards for backyard cottages?

5) Should we increase the height limit for certain lots?

6) Should we modify the rear yard coverage limit?

The next ADU/DADU meeting is Wednesday February 3rd at Wallingford Senior Center 4649 Sunnyside Avenue North from 6-7:30 p.m.  You will get to vote on which, if any, of these recommendations should be implemented.

While the HALA recommendations are being rolled out, the City is also considering expanding Urban Village boundaries for the new 2035 Comprehensive Plan.  You can also educate yourself on how the two plans overlap on the City’s website and this timeline.

 

 

City Council considering marijuana business zoning changes

On Monday, the Seattle City Council will discuss proposed changes to marijuana zoning rules in our city. Last month, the City Council Planning, Land Use, and Sustainability Committee approved the proposal. Publicola reported on the committee’s debate regarding the impact of the policy on communities of color. 

The changes, proposed by Mayor Murray, would loosen restrictions on where marijuana retail stores may be located in Seattle. While a 1,000-foot buffer around playgrounds and schools would remain in effect, buffers around other places frequented by children, such as day care centers, libraries, community centers, transit centers, and arcades, would be reduced to 500 feet, approximately 1-2 city blocks. (Marijuana industry representatives are asking for the buffer to be reduced further.) The new rule would establish an additional 1,650 acres for retail locations. The proposal would also create a minimum distance of 500 feet between retail outlets but allow two pot shops to open next to one another.

What does that mean for Ravenna-Bryant?

With the proposal, the Mayor’s Office released
two maps: one showing the current zoning rules and possible locations for retail marijuana shops and one showing the additional areas that would be allowed under the proposed legislation. The map below shows the NE Seattle areas (in yellow) that would be appropriately zoned for marijuana stores under the proposal.

pot shops 2015
Red Circle = 500’/1,000′ buffer for existing marijuana retailers; Green Cross = 500’/1,000′ buffer for existing medical marijuana retailers; Green Area = Areas where retail marijuana is not allowed under licensing restrictions; Grey Area = Areas where retail marijuana is not allowed under zoning restrictions; Yellow Area = Estimated areas where retail marijuana would be allowed.

Under current rules, no marijuana businesses can open in Ravenna-Bryant because of buffer zone and land use rules. If this new legislation is passed, land around University Village, along NE 45th Street/Sand Point Way NE, and along NE 55th Street would be appropriately zoned for marijuana businesses. 

Why buffer zones?

Initiative 502, which established a legal commercial marijuana system, included a few provisions meant to take a public health approach to reducing underage exposure to marijuana.  Myriad research studies have shown that the number of stores selling tobacco and alcohol are related to the rates of underage use of those substances in a community. Though marijuana has not been legal long enough to conduct research to determine if marijuana business density is similarly related to underage use, I-502 included the buffer zone provision based on what is known for other substances.