The Junction Neighborhood Organization is one of many neighborhood organizations in the city that is beginning to take an active part in the conversations around development and land use. In May, any day now in fact, we are expecting the city to release its Environmental Impact Statement on how the proposed upzones are projected to affect the quality of life in our neighborhoods. Following this release, there is going to be a comment period.
WEST SEATTLE JUNO
Land Use Committee
HALA NEWS – March 2017
We know it’s not easy to keep track of everything related to the proposed expansion and upzoning of our urban village. That’s why we’ve summarized the most important things below and called things you can do things to make a difference. Thank you for raising your voice on behalf of the neighborhood we all call home!
Procedural Status of City Proposed HALA/MHA Upzones
The City is preparing an Environmental Impact Statement (“EIS”) that will set forth its findings on how the proposed upzones will impact the quality of life in our neighborhood. It is scheduled to be released in May. After this release there will be a 30-45 day comment period in which people can challenge the City’s findings. If the EIS is approved, the proposed rezones will be submitted to City Council for approval.
What You Can Do. It will be critical to object during the comment period if you disagree with the EIS. Once the EIS is released, the JuNO Land Use Committee will hold workshops to help you understand how to comment most effectively. Stay tuned!
City “Door Knocking” Campaign
You may have received a door tag relating to the HALA proposed rezones. This is in direct response to our community’s complaints regarding the City’s lack of outreach. However, be wary of information provided by the individuals distributing the fliers. When asked, a City representative assured one resident that the rezones would not happen for a year, there was plenty of time raise concerns and/or issues and the City’s plans are not set in stone. This is at odds with the information our Committee has received from the HALA team (see below).
What You Can Do. Read this newsletter and if a canvasser comes to your door ask the questions that are important to you – and take notes!
JuNO Land Use Committee Meeting with Jesseca Brand of HALA
On March 9, 2017, members of the Committee met with Jesseca Brand of the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods and a member of the Mayor’s HALA team. Ms. Brand advised that, at this time, Mayor Murray has directed the HALA team that, regardless of neighborhood input and/or the findings set forth in the EIS Statement, the HALA team must recommend to City Council that all single family areas with the Junction Urban Village (and in all Urban Villages throughout the city) be upzoned.
What You Can Do. Let Mayor Murray know the City must keep the promises set forth in the Seattle 2035 Comprehensive Plan: that it engage in bottom-up, collaborative neighborhood planning not top-down decision making by the Mayor.
Letter Submitted by JuNO Land Use Committee to City
On March 8, 2017, the Committee submitted a letter to Samuel Assefa, Director of the Office of Planning and Community Development and head of the HALA team. The letter advised that (1) the proposed rezoning is at odds with the West Seattle Junction Neighborhood Plan, the City’s Comprehensive Plan, and the Seattle Municipal Code; (2) the City’s engagement with the West Seattle Junction neighborhood has shown that the neighborhood does not support the HALA rezones in their current form; (3) West Seattle has already absorbed and is projected to continue to absorb significant density without the proposed HALA rezones; and (4) any rezoning should be carefully coordinated with the coming of light rail, which will itself require significant upzones, coordination that has taken place in other neighborhoods. The letter was also submitted to all City Council members and the Mayor; you can view it at JuNO LUC Letter Submitted 3.8.17.
What You Can Do. The City’s stated policy in the Comprehensive Plan is that it will collaborate with a neighborhood in the event the City is proposing a course of action that conflicts with the Neighborhood Plan in order to resolve the inconsistency. While Director Assefa promised a response within a few days to the issues we raised, nothing has been provided to date. When we receive one, we’ll let you know more about what you can do next.
Potential Legal Action
The Committee has met with potential attorneys to explore alternatives in the event that an acceptable solution cannot be reached with City.
What You Can Do. In the event that legal action is required and/or desired, the Committee will provide information about how you can assist with building a neighborhood legal defense fund.
Public Records Requests
The Committee has made a number of Public Records Requests to understand, among other things, whether and how the City is taking into account the Junction neighborhood feedback.
What You Can Do. As the Committee receives information, we may come to you with specific requests for action.
Stay Informed & Take Action!
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Planning Director Samual Assefa ([email protected])
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JuNO Land Use Committee