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Tag: Clark

Seattle Police Monitor Merrick Bobb presents first semi-annual report

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 5/7/2013
Councilmember Bruce A. Harrell
Council President Sally J. Clark
Seattle Police Monitor Merrick Bobb presents first semi-annual report
Seattle – Councilmember Bruce Harrell, chair of the Council’s Public Safe…

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Seattle City Council passes South Lake Union rezone

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 5/6/2013
Council President Sally J. Clark
Councilmember Sally Bagshaw
Councilmember Tim Burgess
Councilmember Richard Conlin
Councilmember Jean Godden
Councilmember Bruce Harrell
Councilmember Mike O’…

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City Council Town Hall Meeting on Climate Action Tomorrow

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 5/6/2013
Council President Sally J. Clark
Councilmember Sally Bagshaw
Councilmember Tim Burgess
Councilmember Richard Conlin
Councilmember Jean Godden
Councilmember Bruce Harrell
Councilmember Nick Li…

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City Council to host second meeting on micro-housing developments

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 5/1/2013
Councilmember Tom Rasmussen
Council President Sally J. Clark
Councilmember Nick Licata
Councilmember Richard Conlin
City Council to host second meeting on micro-housing developments
Public invited to…

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City Councilmembers to vote on gun safety public health funding

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 4/30/2013
City Councilmembers to vote on gun safety public health funding
Seattle – The City Council’s Government Performance and Finance Committee will consider tomorrow morning an amendment to budget legislation to fund …

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City Council Strengthens Affordable Housing Program in South Lake Union

City of Seattle
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 4/22/2013

Council President Sally J. Clark
Councilmember Sally Bagshaw
Councilmember Tim Burgess
Councilmember Richard Conlin
Councilmember Jean Godden
Councilmember Bruce Harrell
Councilmember Nick Licata
Councilmember Mike O’Brien
Councilmember Tom Rasmussen

City Council Strengthens Affordable Housing Program
in South Lake Union

Consensus built around the need for more affordable workforce housing in the neighborhood

Seattle The Seattle City Council South Lake Union Committee voted unanimously on an amendment to produce more workforce affordable housing in the South Lake Union (SLU) neighborhood by strengthening the incentive zoning program. The agreement is a compromise between two existing amendments offered by Councilmembers, which were introduced in last week’s SLU Committee meeting. Consensus was built around the need to strengthen the incentive zoning program without discouraging development.

“Today’s decision is an important, modest step toward securing more affordable workforce housing in South Lake Union, so that people at all income levels who work in the neighborhood have a chance to live there,” said Councilmember Mike O’Brien. “This is a community of opportunity where the city is investing over $500 million in public infrastructure, and I think it only fair that the benefits of this redevelopment are shared more broadly.”

The legislation to strengthen incentive zoning includes a 43% increase in the residential pay-in-lieu price (from $15.15 to $21.68), effectively immediately, and a 33% increase in the commercial price that will be phased in over eighteen months (to $29.71). These prices are paid on a percent of square-foot basis in exchange for additional height and building capacity. Collectively, these provisions will produce an estimated 733 units of workforce housing in and near the neighborhood. The original legislation would have created an estimated 406 units.

“After collaborating with local businesses and affordable housing advocates, we crafted a sensible solution that goes far beyond the Mayor’s status quo proposal and brings affordable workforce housing to the City’s hottest real estate market,” said Councilmember Tim Burgess. “Now many more nurses, school teachers, construction workers and other working families can call this booming neighborhood home.”

“The Council’s adjustments in this legislation and the overall commitment to seeing workforce-priced units actually built in these developments will  help more working people find homes in South Lake Union near jobs and transit,” said Council President Sally J. Clark. “That’s good for employees and good for employers.”
              
“The new Affordable Housing Amendment reflects a collaborative and inclusive decision-making process with developers and affordable housing advocates. The Council applied the Race and Social Justice Initiative lens to ensure we were having an honest debate on equity. Council honored its promise of delivering on-site affordable workforce units in this neighborhood,” said Councilmember Bruce Harrell.

“These amendments strengthen one of our tools to generate more workforce housing in South Lake Union,” said Councilmember Richard Conlin, chair of the Special Committee on South Lake Union. “I look forward to working with stakeholders and housing experts to both refine our incentive zoning program and also increase the supply of affordable housing city-wide.”

“It all goes back to why so many people come to Seattle — they come because we are a city of inclusive neighborhoods, not just a copy of someplace else. A strengthened incentive zoning program reaffirms our commitment to inclusive and affordable neighborhoods,” said Councilmember Jean Godden.

“These amendments, while not a bold leap, are reasonable steps in the right direction. This is only a modest beginning for making housing in Seattle more affordable for average folks,” said Councilmember Nick Licata. “We cannot continue to see workers forced to move ever further from the city and drive long distances to work here. The solution is clearly to require developers to provide substantially more affordable housing.”

The Council last updated the incentive zoning program in 2008, establishing the goal of producing 5% of affordable workforce residential units in the neighborhood of the development. The Council will also consider similar fee adjustments to the downtown incentive housing program to take effect in 2014.

“Even with this step, we need to go further by engaging in the process laid out in Resolution 31444 to review and update of Seattle’s incentive zoning and other affordable housing programs, so we can begin to bridge the gap between our affordable housing needs and the amount we are currently producing,” said Councilmember Mike O’Brien.

City Council plans to vote on the full South Lake Union rezone proposal at the May 6 Full Council meeting at 2:00pm in Council Chambers.

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City Council Introduces Climate Action Plan on Earth Day

City of Seattle
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 4/22/2013

Councilmember Mike O’Brien
Council President Sally Clark
Councilmember Richard Conlin

City Council Introduces Climate Action Plan on Earth Day
Plan provides pathway to carbon neutrality by 2050

SeattleSeattle City Council introduced Seattle’s Climate Action Plan today, outlining the City’s path to meeting its goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2050. The Plan focuses on three sectors where the City of Seattle can have the greatest influence in reducing carbon emissions: transportation and land use, building energy and solid waste. The Plan also includes a section on how the City should prepare for the impacts of climate disruption we currently experience, as well a section on actions individuals can take to reduce emissions through purchasing decisions.

“Taking climate action is not about austerity. It is about creating great places to live, work and play today and for future generations,” said Councilmember Mike O’Brien, Chair of the Energy and Environment Committee. “This Climate Action Plan provides a vision for a city that is vibrant, economically prosperous and socially just.” 

“The strong actions in this plan are evidence of the high value that the Seattle community places on sustainability,” said Jill Simmons, Director of the Office of Sustainability and Environment. “Throughout the planning process, we heard from individuals and organizations who encouraged us to be bold and think long-term.”

Seattle’s Office of Sustainability and Environment has been developing the Climate Action Plan since 2011, engaging grassroots sustainability groups, environmental leaders and business and community members from across the city. The City also formed Technical Advisory Groups in each sector addressed in the Plan and convened a Green Ribbon Commission to recommend specific climate actions.

“With its natural beauty, strong economy and commitment to equity, Seattle is an amazing place to live. The Climate Action Plan lays out clear path to ensuring Seattle remains a great place to live and raise a family, while also doing its part to combat climate change,” said Doris Koo, Co-Chair of the Seattle Green Ribbon Commission. 
“Even before the first Earth Day in 1970, Seattleites have taken pride in our city’s commitment to protecting the environment through innovative thinking, hard work and zeal,” said Seattle City Council President Sally J. Clark. “I’m proud we can introduce our Climate Action Plan on Earth Day, 2013, as yet another milestone in our city’s dedication to making a difference for the planet.”

The Climate Action Plan includes specific short- and long-term actions the City needs to meet its ambitious goal of carbon neutrality by 2050. For example, the transportation sector accounts for 40% of Seattle’s greenhouse gas emissions, but the biggest challenge Seattle faces to reducing emissions in this sector is funding. The plan calls for new funding sources like extending the Bridging the Gap levy and securing local authority for a motor vehicle excise tax (MVET) to help improve bus service and reliability, invest in improvements that make it easier and safer to walk or bike and take steps to build out the region’s light rail system. The plan also calls for supporting the adoption of low carbon vehicles and fuels.

In the building energy section, the Plan calls for accelerating Seattle’s work to make energy use more visible to consumers by switching to smart meters, providing better energy performance information to building owners and users and generally helping people better understand and manage their energy consumption. Additionally, the Plan calls for getting the right mix of policies and incentives to spur retrofitting in Seattle’s housing stock and commercial buildings.

“We have already seen the impact of a changing climate. We must act now to slow down the rate of climate change, and to respond to the issues as our climate is affected,” said Councilmember Richard Conlin. “Together we can rise to this great moral challenge, take practical steps in the right direction, inspire others to emulate our example and build a positive future for Seattle.”

“Seattle residents and businesses are leaders in the fight against climate change,” said Mayor Mike McGinn. “I appreciate the hard work done by our citizen committee to craft recommendations for our updated plan and look forward to the Council’s process for adopting the strongest possible Climate Action Plan. I thank Councilmembers O’Brien and Conlin for their leadership in this effort.”

The Climate Action Plan will be discussed in two Energy and Environment Committee meetings–Tuesday, April 23 and Tuesday, May 14–and will also be the topic of a public town hall on Tuesday, May 7 from 6:00pm to 8:00pm at University Heights Center.

The Climate Action Plan can be viewed online at: http://www.seattle.gov/environment/climate_plan.htm

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City Council to host Town Hall Meeting on Climate Action

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 4/22/2013

Council President Sally J. Clark
Councilmember Sally Bagshaw
Councilmember Tim Burgess
Councilmember Richard Conlin
Councilmember Jean Godden
Councilmember Bruce Harrell
Councilmember Nick Licata
Cou…

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Councilmembers to consider Publicly Financed Campaigns for Seattle

City of Seattle
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 4/18/2013

Councilmember Tim Burgess
Council President Sally J. Clark
Councilmember Nick Licata
Councilmember Mike O’Brien
Councilmember Tom Rasmussen

Councilmembers to consider Publicly Financed Campaigns for Seattle
Possible ballot measure coming to voters in November

Seattle Seattle City Councilmembers announced today a timeline to consider a proposal to publicly finance elections for local campaigns in the city of Seattle. The plan outlines a series of five meetings in April, May and June, leading to a decision about whether to ask voters to approve such a program in November 2013.

At the request of four councilmembers, the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission recently submitted a recommendation for the Council to consider a public campaign finance program. The Council will review the details of the Commission’s proposed program structure starting Monday, April 29.

“It’s the right time to explore new ways to engage Seattle in the electoral process,” said Councilmember Tim Burgess, chair of the Special Committee on Public Campaign Finance. “Seattle has long been at the forefront in upholding fair elections, but we should learn from other cities about what can be achieved through a public campaign finance system.”

Public campaign financing, sometimes called “voter-owned” elections, allows a candidate to qualify for public funds to run an electoral campaign if he or she is able to demonstrate a broad base of community support. Candidate participation would be optional, and participants would agree to set standards that could include limits on private fundraising, a limit on using personal funds or limits on third-party funding assistance. Similar programs currently operate in many cities, including San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York.

“I’m looking forward to creating a program that helps a diverse cross-section of Seattle residents to run for local office,” said Council President Sally J. Clark.  “Plenty of smart, qualified people would love to run, but the price tag has run so high in recent cycles that otherwise great leaders sit out. Money shouldn’t determine who runs and serves.”

“Voter-owned elections get more people involved and keep campaigns focused on people, issues and ideas, something I think that strengthens our democracy and that we all value,” said Councilmember Mike O’Brien. “Seattle was the first municipality to put a system in place in 1979, and I think it is time to ask the voters to reinstate it.”

“The influence of money on elections has grown nationally and locally; with publicly financed campaigns, we can at least minimize its influence on local elections, said Councilmember Nick Licata. “The voters should have an opportunity to decide if Seattle joins other cities with public financing.”

In 1992, Washington voters adopted Initiative 134, which eliminated Seattle’s former voter-owned electionssystem. The Washington State Legislature passed a law in 2008 reestablishing the power for municipalities to create public financing programs, subject to voter approval.

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City Council to discuss micro-housing developments Thursday

City of Seattle
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 4/16/2013

Councilmember Tom Rasmussen
Council President Sally J. Clark
Councilmember Nick Licata
Councilmember Richard Conlin

City Council to discuss micro-housing developments Thursday 
Public invited to share feedback with Councilmembers and City staff

SEATTLE — Seattle City Councilmembers Tom Rasmussen, Nick Licata, Sally J. Clark and Richard Conlin today reminded Seattleites about a public meeting on micro-housing developments on April 18, in response to questions and concerns raised in several Seattle neighborhoods.

“Several Councilmembers and I are sponsoring a two hour meeting to review what is occurring due to the strong interest and concern we are hearing in the neighborhoods,” Councilmember Tom Rasmussen stated. “A portion of the meeting will include an opportunity for the public to provide comments and recommendations on what, if any, regulations should be enacted for this unique type of housing.”

In addition to a public comment opportunity, representatives from the Department of Planning and Development (DPD), the Office of Housing (OH) and City Council staff will discuss Seattle’s recent experience with micro-housing. 

WHAT:             Micro-housing development discussion

WHEN:            Thursday, April 18, 11:30 a.m. — 1:30 p.m.
                        Members of the public are welcome to bring their lunch

WHERE:           Council Chambers, second floor
                        Seattle City Council, 600 Fourth Ave

WHO:              Seattle City Councilmembers and Council staff
                        Representatives from Seattle’s Dept. of Planning and Development
                        Representatives from Seattle’s Office of Housing

“I want to see more affordable housing built in Seattle along with our residential neighborhoods accommodating housing options that contribute to their character,” stated Councilmember Nick Licata, chair of the Council’s Housing, Human Services, Health and Culture Committee. “I think both objectives can be accomplished and I look forward to this forum providing an opportunity to hear suggestions on how to fulfill both.”

“I’ve visited some of these micro-units,” said Council President Sally J. Clark. “They provide decent, often attractive housing for a range of people who don’t need or want a lot of space. They’re also appearing in greater numbers and more rapidly than some in the surrounding neighborhood want. This forum can provide a good airing of people’s support, concerns and ideas for appropriate regulation.”

“Microhousing can be an affordable option that works well with neighborhoods,” said Councilmember Richard Conlin, chair of the Council’s Planning, Land Use and Sustainability Committee. “However, it does not fit neatly into Seattle’s land use code, and we are looking for input on code improvements that will preserve the affordability while ensuring that these developments reflect both the letter and the spirit of our land use laws.”

Background

In recent years, micro-housing has emerged as an increasingly common residential building product in Seattle. Since 2006, DPD has received permit applications for 48 projects. Once all those projects are complete, it is estimated they will yield residential capacity for more than 2,300 people. In 2012, DPD received applications for approximately 15 micro-housing projects.

Micro-housing projects are generally comprised of apartment or townhome-style dwelling units, each of which contains several (often seven or eight) smaller living quarters clustered around a shared kitchen and laundry area. Each of the smaller living spaces within the dwelling unit is leased to an individual tenant. These spaces are typically 150 to 200 square feet in size and equipped with a kitchenette (refrigerator, microwave, sink) and private bathroom. Rent levels vary by location but are often in the range of $600 to $700 per month.

Developers have found Seattle offers a strong market for micro-housing, with completed projects leasing up quickly. Tenants often include students, service industry workers, and individuals who divide their time between Seattle and a residence in another location.  Geographically, about 40 percent of the projects are located on Capitol Hill and 25 percent in the University District, with the remainder spread throughout the city.

Because micro-housing is not well-defined in City codes it also may not be adequately regulated. Some of the issues and concerns the public has raised about Seattle’s growing stock of micro-housing include:

  • Within micro-housing projects, DPD currently counts the several small living quarters that surround a common kitchen and laundry area as a single dwelling unit (e.g., one apartment with eight bedrooms and eight bathrooms). As a result, most micro-housing projects do not meet the threshold for design review. Normally the design review process also provides opportunities for neighbors to comment and offer input on proposed projects.
  • DPD’s current practice of counting multiple living quarters within a micro-housing project as a single dwelling unit also complicates efforts to measure progress toward adopted growth targets in neighborhoods where micro-housing is located. It also can affect whether a proposed micro-housing project is subject to environmental review under the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA).
  • Micro-housing may not be an appropriate building type for all multifamily residential zones. 
  • Micro-housing projects are generally designed to house 25 to 100 individuals; however, on-site parking is rarely provided. 
  • The high cost of this housing on a price per square foot basis. 

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