After years of complex transactions, land-use decisions, construction projects, and moving money around, the city of Seattle is on the verge of disposing of the “Mercer Megablock,” a 96,000 square foot parcel of land in the heart of South Lake Union. So naturally, a set of activists are agitating to have the city rethink the plan.
Council member Mike O’Brien’s proposal to increase the number of mother-in-law apartments and “backyard cottages” has been on hold for over two years, since the Hearing Examiner ruled in late 2016 that a full Environmental Impact Statement was required. The final EIS was published last week, and once the inevitable appeals are dealt with that hurdle will have been crossed. But later this week, O’Brien’s office will hold a special meeting to discuss a Racial Equity Toolkit evaluation of the proposal that looked on how it will affect underserved communities at risk of displacement.
Short and sweet today.
Last week, King County finally re-issued its RFP for a Transit-Oriented Development project in Northgate, next to the new light rail station. It fails to live up to its most significant promises.
In June, Rentberry filed for a preliminary injunction to block the City of Seattle’s prohibition on rent-bidding platforms. But last month, the company and the city agreed to set that motion aside and proceed directly to cross-motions for summary judgment. Rentberry’s new motion was filed last Friday.
This afternoon, Council President Bruce Harrell announced the newest Council committee: the Select Committee on Homelessness and Housing Affordability.
Five City Council members sent a letter to three of their counterparts on the King County Council, asking them to spend more lodging tax revenues on affordable housing.
On Monday, the Select Committee on Citywide Mandatory Housing met to discuss the status of the Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA) plan and to respond to public concerns. The Office of Housing (OH) spent much of its time addressing two common concerns: the public’s preference for “performance” over “payment,” and where OH should be able to spend money raised through payments.
Two weeks ago, I reported that King County Metro had pulled the plug on an RFP for a transit-oriented development (TOD) project in Northgate, infuriating Council member Juarez.
Today the Seattle Times reports that in a letter to Juarez, her colleague Council member Mosqueda, and Mayor Durkan, the county has committed to issuing a new RFP by July 31st. It also says that the County land to be used for affordable housing must be provided to the nonprofit developer at no cost, and that the amount of required affordable housing units will be increased from what was in the original RFP.
UPDATED: This afternoon Juarez released a statement on King County’s decision:
“With two hospitals, a college and major a shopping center, Northgate is widely recognized as being important to the City as a whole. Today’s decision by the King County Executive further underscores that North Seattle can – and should – be a shining example for other neighborhoods and institutions who are watching to see how Northgate transit-oriented development will unfold and enhance the region,” said Debora Juarez, District 5 – North Seattle. “Furthermore NGTOD will serve as a model for development which can be replicated elsewhere around Seattle to include transit-oriented childcare and other aspects of city living that are vital to our region, including District 5.”
Last month, Rentberry sued the City of Seattle over the Council’s moratorium on rent-bidding platforms. Today, it filed a motion for a preliminary injunction blocking the city from implementing the moratorium.