HPAC’s Comments Submitted on Mandatory Housing Affordability Draft EIS


To: Councilmember Lisa Herbold
Office of Planning and Community Development via website
From: Highland Park Action Committee
RE: MHA DEIS Public Comment Submitted on August 1, 2017

Description of the Proposed Action and Alternatives

HPAC Answer

The Seattle 2035 Comprehensive Plan did not update the Westwood/Highland Park Neighborhood Plan. This one size fits all approach to urban village Up zoning will not work in areas further from reliable transit such as Westwood/Highland Park and with the lack attention paid to infrastructure regarding streets, sidewalks etc and for the last 30+ years. To increase in housing without mandating family friendly units 2-3+ bedroom units in urban villages will increase displacement. The proposed percentage of affordable units and/or impact fees is not enough to justify building up in the Westwood/Highland Park area in any of the forms of MHA.

Housing and Socioeconomics

HPAC Answer

Most concerning is displacement. In Highland Park we do have several mid- rise affordable apartments, but we are also seeing an increase in pricey town homes replacing modest single family homes. We are significantly concerned that those older mid-rise buildings are going to be replaced with expensive, small/micro units and not family friendly sized units, along with the proposed percentage of affordable units or impact fees are not enough to justify building up this area.

Land Use

No specific comment


No specific comment


HPAC Answer

Without a parallel plan to increase public transit in the next 3-10 years, adding additional housing in Westwood/Highland Park will only overburden our very limited bus access, the 131 bus being the main bus to downtown for Highland Park and it is already a squeeze to get on. With no immediate plans to increase bus service and bring light rail to the area, it is irresponsible to increase density in this area.

Historic Resources

HPAC Answer

The City of Seattle has had a long history of neglecting to increase infrastructure and resources in Highland Park and the surrounding neighborhoods in the Delridge area, from poor performing schools to ever increasing traffic, lack of sidewalks, a food desert, and poor bus service. These issues have been raised for years, some for over 70 years, with little progress. Without an immediate plan and the resources to increase infrastructure and the resources for our under-performing schools in the area it is irresponsible for the City of Seattle to upzone areas & increase density with high displacement and low opportunities such as Westwood/Highland Park.

Highland Park is a mixed race/mixed income community that has faced historic redlining, has a lower median income as compared to Seattle overall (22% lower than Seattle overall), with 81% of students at Highland Park Elementary on Free or Reduced lunch (May 2016), higher percentage of single parent families (13% as compared to 8% in Seattle overall), and higher percentage of those who speak little to no English (10% vs. 5% for Seattle overall) and 28% of our neighbors are immigrants as compared to 18% for Seattle over all.

We still feel the effects of that redlining today, with street infrastructure improvements being requested and not addressed; under-performing schools; gang violence; vacant homes and business; cuts to transit; little to no community based services; and located within a food desert to name some of structural conditions neighbors are living under. With no immediate plans to increase infrastructure and resources to the area, it is irresponsible to increase density in this area.

Biological Resources

No specific comment

Open Space & Recreation

HPAC Answer

Highland Park and the surrounding neighborhoods in the Delridge area fought to keep Myers Way parcel from being sold for development in order to develop further parks and green space. While the City has agreed to keep the parcel it has yet to be turned over to Parks to begin the development process, with no timeline in place to increase open green space, it is irresponsible to increase density in this area.

Public Services & Utilities

No specific comment

Air Quality & Green House Gas Emissions

HPAC Answer

Westwood/Highland Park sits above South Park is already is dealing with significant air pollution. Adding density is adding more people with cars, because of the lack of transit options off the peninsular, which will exacerbate that even further.

The public comment period ON MHA ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT FOR HALA is extended until Aug 7, 2017


What is MHA?

From City of Seattle’s website “Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA) is a new policy to ensure that growth brings affordability. MHA will require new development to include affordable homes or contribute to a City fund for affordable housing. To put MHA into effect, Seattle needs to make zoning changes that add development capacity and expand housing choices.”

What is an EIS?

“An environmental impact statement (EIS) is prepared when the lead agency has determined a proposal is likely to result in significant adverse environmental impacts (see section on how to Assess Significance). The EIS process is a tool for identifying and analyzing probable adverse environmental impacts, reasonable alternatives, and possible mitigation.”

HPAC Request:

Published by HPAC

Neighbors Building Community: Advocating for Highland Park, Riverview and South Delridge. An all volunteer group made up of neighbors, local business, and community organizations advocating for neighborhood infrastructure, community resources, and livability.

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