Do you want to see something sad? According to a slide prepared for a meeting of largely anti-HALA (Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda) people, the HALA.consider.it site was largely dominated (as of last month) by voices opposing changes that will allow more affordable housing.
Do you want to see something awesome? After an apparent ‘urbanist’ call to action, the site has largely been dominated by voices supporting changes that will allow for more affordable housing options in Seattle.
Are you a single parent or a family with two working parents that can’t make it to daytime meetings dominated by retirees and those who can afford to take time off to sign up, wait, and comment on land use decisions that affect everyone but still want to comment?
Are you new to Seattle and want to ensure that those that come here for a job after you have a shot at housing without displacing existing residents?
Are you a homeowner who believes that we should allow those who want to live here more housing opportunities across the board, and in all parts of the city?
Maps of proposed zoning changes for Mandatory Housing Affordability in Urban Villages are available on the site–I recommend downloading the maps instead of waiting for them to load or trying the online interactive map version. Yes, the site is heinous and buggy, and you have to pledge not to mock absurd comments (awww), but it’s easy to set up an account. You can (and should) comment on neighborhoods across the city, not just where you live, which is useful because though we’ve rented in Fremont since we moved here, what happens in other neighborhoods affects us, and could affect where we have to move if and when that day comes.
Perhaps we’d like to move to Madison Miller, where anti-housing activists recently held a meeting devoted to preventing affordable housing rezones and preserving single-family zoning from being rezoned to allow more housing options.
Did you sign up and provide “feedback on key principles” but skipped out on commenting on the draft rezone maps because they weren’t finished? Well, what better time than now to get out your thoughts on expanding that boundary of the urban villages to help shape what a welcoming city should look like.
The City has said that June 30th is the “drop dead” date for comments, so comment now, comment later, comment while riding on an escalator. Your voice matters, is having an effect, and the anti-housing activists that have historically dominated City land use decisions are noticing and attempting to tilt it back in the ‘no affordable housing rezone’ category. And please stay tuned to The Urbanist to follow HALA’s progress.
Mike is the founder of Larch Lab, an architecture and urbanism think and do tank focusing on prefabricated, decarbonized, climate-adaptive, low-energy urban buildings; sustainable mobility; livable ecodistricts. He is also a dad, writer, and researcher with a passion for passivhaus buildings, baugruppen, social housing, livable cities, and car-free streets. After living in Freiburg, Mike spent 15 years raising his family - nearly car-free, in Fremont. After a brief sojourn to study mass timber buildings in Bayern, he has returned to jumpstart a baugruppe movement and help build a more sustainable, equitable, and livable Seattle. Ohne autos.