After a light edit, this afternoon this City Council approved a one-year moratorium on redevelopment of mobile-home parks within the city limits.
The ordinance, introduced last week by Council member Kshama Sawant, was intended to save the 85 residents of the Halcyon mobile-home park in north Seattle from the threat of losing their homes. Halcyon is currently up for sale, though rumors of an imminent sale to developer Blue Fern seem to have been exaggerated. The consensus view of the City Council is that the two remaining mobile-home parks in Seattle are providing important affordable housing for vulnerable populations and need to be preserved.
The bill was amended today to direct that Council member Rob Johnson’s Planning, Land Use and Zoning Committee will be responsible for following up with legislation at some point over the next twelve months, and to request the Office of Planning and Community Development to deliver a report in April to the PLUZ committee with recommendations on the various legislative approaches to protecting the mobile-home parks. Among those options will almost certainly be creating a new zoning designation in the land use code for mobile home parks that would effectively restrict other uses of the property.
As I reported last week, Halcyon is owned by a 40-year-old estate trust that was established in 1979 upon the death of Hester McLaws. The trust is overseen by U.S. Bank, and is known to provide annual distributions to the University of Washington to support scholarships at the School of Nursing. It is unknown if the trust contains other assets in addition to Halcyon, or if there are other distributions from it.
A spokesperson from U.S. Bank declined to answer my questions about the trust, or to comment on the moratorium passed today.