Notes from today’s city-wide MHA committee meeting

On Monday, the City Council started walking through proposed amendments to zoning in the city-wide MHA ordinance, starting with those in Council districts 4, 6 and 7.  This morning, they covered the other four districts. As with Monday’s session, it was mostly a stress-free discussion that rarely bogged down in details. There were a few interesting moments, however, that exposed some recurring themes — and caused a couple of the Council members to show their cards.

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Catching up on the backyard cottages legislation

Back in October, the city issued its final environmental impact statement (FEIS) on proposed legislation loosening rules on building “backyard cottages” in single-family zones in Seattle, as well as a Racial Equity Toolkit evaluation of the impact of the legislation on racial disparities in the city.  To no one’s surprise, an appeal has been filed against the FEIS — but the city is fighting back.

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Hearing Examiner issues decision on MHA EIS appeal, largely rules for the city

Last Wednesday, the Hearing Examiner for the City of Seattle released his ruling on the appeal of the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the city’s Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA) plan to upzone neighborhoods in exchange for required contributions to affordable housing.  The ruling finds that the FEIS is adequate on nearly all grounds, except for its analysis of historic sites.

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The reports are in on proposed new rules on backyard cottages

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. Let’s look at what the final …

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