This afternoon, the City Council voted out of committee a controversial bill making several changes to the SEPA appeal process, after making a handful of mostly minor amendments.
Last week I reported that the City of Seattle’s Hearing Examiner had reopened the hearing on the city’s SEPA Determination of Nonsignificance, the first step in establishing Transportation Impact Fees in Seattle. Hearing Examiner Ryan Vancil asked the parties to come back in so he could pose some additional questions to them that he felt weren’t thoroughly briefed in their filings to-date.
That meeting was this afternoon; it lasted only twenty minutes, enough time for Vancil to lay out his four questions and for the parties to agree on a schedule for additional briefs.
This afternoon, the Office of the Hearing Examiner released its ruling on an appeal of the adequacy of the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the City Council’s proposed legislation relaxing rules on the construction of ADUs (aka “mother in law apartments” and “backyard cottages”) in single-family residential zones in Seattle.
This morning, the Governance, Equity and Technology Committee wrapped up its work on confirming the reappointment of Ryan Vancil as Hearing Examiner, and sent it on to the full Council for final confirmation next Monday. While that outcome was hardly in doubt, there was still an interesting conversation between the Council members and Vancil that covered several topics related to the Hearing Examiner’s office.
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.
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.
The Hearing Examiner’s Office has been adjudicating nine separate challenges by neighborhood organizations to the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the city’s city-wide MHA upzones. After a hearing on May 31 to discuss several motions for summary judgment, last Friday the Hearing Examiner issued rulings — and it largely went in favor of the city. The appeals are far from resolved, and won’t be until early fall, but several issues were taken off the table as potential flaws in the FEIS.
If Council member Mike O’Brien has his way, the land use code will be amended to allow opponents of the proposed King County Youth Service Center to appeal issuance of a Master Use Permit for the facility.