Learn more about the Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda (HALA) and its impact on Queen Anne on Monday
If you have questions or comments about the City of Seattle’s Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda (HALA), mark this Monday on your calendar. The Queen Anne Community Council is hosting a Land Use Review Committee meeting on Monday, May 16th at 7pm, with the sole focus on HALA.
The meeting is open to the public, gathering city hall planners, SDOT, residents and community leaders from Queen Anne, Fremont, Wallingford, Ballard, and Magnolia. The meeting will be hosted at the Queen Anne Community Center, 1901 1st Ave W.
The Queen Anne Community Council’s statement on HALA is as follows:
“HALA is being promoted by city leaders as a lovely way to open the door to affordable housing in single-family neighborhoods. But really, it’s a tool to cater to developers’ interests to over develop and choke our quality of life. Taller height buildings with no parking are a problem already. Zero-lot line backyard micro houses and over-the-garage apartments are more likely to become Air B&B rentals than low income mother-in-law units. We need to stop this foolishness now and speak loudly that HALA guidelines to change the planning code in Seattle is not welcome.”
If you have concerns or questions about HALA and how it may or may not impact you and the neighborhood, plan on attending Monday’s meeting.
OP-ED: Councilmembers’ statement on ST3 Light Rail options
Below is an op-ed from Seattle City Councilmember Sally Bagshaw and King County Councilmember Jeanne Kohl-Welles, where they advocate for the “West is Best” option for light rail through Interbay. This proposal is for a light rail running 4 blocks parallel to 15th Ave West, crossing the ship canal via a tunnel.
There are other options, and it’s up to you to decide on what you prefer. The Councilmembers are seeking input and feedback, which you can provide via an ST3 survey or by contacting the Seattle City Council (click on Councilmembers to access their individual pages, where email addresses are provided) and King County Council.
Here’s the map of the ST3 section referenced in the Op-Ed below.
Light Rail to Serve Our Northwest Seattle Communities
Joint Op-Ed by Sally Bagshaw and Jeanne Kohl-Welles
Northwest Seattle voters will soon have an exciting opportunity to consider a ballot measure asking whether we will support a light rail line connecting Downtown to Ballard, with stops at South Lake Union, Seattle Center, and Interbay. The most recent openings of the Capitol Hill and University District light rail stations have brought Seattle into the 21st century of transit, and the coming wave of transit investments contained in Sound Transit’s next package, known as ST3, will revolutionize how we live and get around our region. This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity we must not take lightly.
The ST3 package, as it stands, proposes a second downtown tunnel, stretching from Royal Brougham Way to Elliott Avenue before the tracks move to street-level along 15th Avenue West, posing challenges to a critical freight, transit, and commuter arterial. As any of us who have attempted to commute on 15th from 4 to 7pm can attest, the traffic conditions are already untenable. We can only imagine conditions if two lanes are fully dedicated for rail. But what if the light rail route didn’t need its own lane on 15th Ave West? What if we could place it farther west, saving everyone who uses the corridor from ever-increasing gridlock?
Currently, the ST3 proposal suggests the line be at-grade, but that’s what this package is at the moment – a proposal. The Sound Transit Board of Directors, consisting of elected leaders from around the region, are currently accepting feedback before they make changes and ultimately send a final for voters to consider at the ballot this November.
The communities in our Northwest Seattle districts are deeply invested in shaping this plan, and have begun to speak with a united voice about how this plan can best serve our neighborhoods. The Northwest Seattle Coalition for Sound Transit 3 formed not months ago, and is composed of community leaders and more than a dozen organizations from Ballard, Interbay, Magnolia, Queen Anne, and Uptown. This group is gaining traction to advocate for the fastest and most reliable alignment.
The Coalition is advocating for an alignment we like to call the “West is Best” option. This proposal would run light rail parallel to 15th Avenue West (the equivalent of four blocks to the west) and cross the ship canal via a tunnel. This plan will ensure speed and reliability, preserve the existing lanes on 15th, and create an underground station in Ballard that would be the best option for future northern and eastern expansion.
Why should we make this kind of investment in the Downtown-Ballard line? The expected ridership in the Downtown-Ballard corridor is projected to be roughly 140,000, the highest of any sub-area in the entire Sound Transit region. It is critical this corridor is done quickly and done right. The Downtown-Ballard line will be a regional corridor—that is a fact. Our communities deserve infrastructure investments to meet the demands of regional ridership.
We have voiced our support for the “West is Best” option, and the coalition of voices continues to grow. Before the Sound Transit Board closes the public outreach period this Friday, let’s ensure they’ve heard our voices. Go to soundtransit3.com, fill out the survey, attend a community meeting, or send an email with your thoughts.
Imagine a 15-minute commute from Ballard to Downtown at 5:30pm on a weekday. While less time in traffic may mean less time to listen to public radio, we think it’s worth it.
Survey on Restricted Parking Zones open through end of March
If you live in or near a Restricted Parking Zone, or use these areas to park around Queen Anne or anywhere else in Seattle, you can take an SDOT survey now through March 31st to provide input on these zones.
Questions range from convenience to frustrations to impacts of the RPZ zones, as well as who should have permits and how many (e.g. how many parking permits per household).
Rezoning could bump planned Uptown 6 story building up to 8 stories
Back in June, we posted on three new planned multi-story projects planned for Uptown/Lower Queen Anne. Today, a Land Use Bulletin was released for the proposed 6-story building at 513 1st Ave N. An application has been submitted to rezone the lot to allow an 8-story building.
In June, the application was for a 6-story, 92 unit apartment building with parking for 45 vehicles. With the latest application, the number of apartments goes up to 105, and the parking goes down to 33 vehicles. Two more floors, thirteen more apartments, twelve less parking spaces.
The Uptown Urban Framework includes height increases for much of Lower Queen Anne/Uptown – see the map below. The Uptown Alliance meetings have covered the plan in many past meetings – if you are interested or concerned about the height zoning changes, look for the next Uptown Alliance meeting (info will be posted here) or contact the City of Seattle Senior Planner or Urban Designer, both listed on the main Uptown Urban Framework website.
Expedia to ‘test and learn’ prior to big move in 2019
When we first posted on Expedia’s move to the former Amgen site on the waterfront, many readers had concerns about increased traffic along Mercer St and around Lower Queen Anne. Earlier today, Puget Sound Business Journal broke the news that Expedia will be moving some of its staff into the Martin Selig Real Estate’s building at 645 Elliott Ave W to pilot its upcoming move to our neighborhood.
Expedia plans to move its current 3,000 employees to the new campus in 2019, and ultimately it will house 4,500 employees. The temporary space at 645 Elliott Ave W can house up to 300 employees, and will serve as a test case for the upcoming move. Expedia employees will move in this summer.
‘It’s the company’s first leased space in Seattle and part of what it’s calling its “test and learn” strategy to prepare for the move.
“We’re a test and learn culture at our very core,” Expedia spokeswoman Sarah Gavin said in a statement. She added Expedia runs thousands of tests across its product, engineering and marketing teams every year, and will apply the same test and learn philosophy to the relocation to understand how employees will experience the new headquarters.’
Earlier coverage of Expedia’s move discussed ways to mitigate the traffic impacts on the neighborhood, and this test case will help Expedia determine how to do so. With this temporary move, Expedia is shaping up to be a good neighbor.
SPL building nominated for Landmark Status in advance of sale
The 1920s brick building directly across the street from the Queen Anne library branch has been nominated for Landmark Status. The Seattle Public Library owns the former Pacific Telephone & Telegraph Building and it’s planning to sell the building. As part of the sale preparation, it has submitted a landmark nomination to the Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board.
Built in 1921 and 1929 (two phases), the building at 1529 4th Ave W sits on a 12,000 square foot lot. After a third story was added in the 1930s, bringing the total square footage to just over 23, 000 square feet. SPL acquired the building in the 1970s, converting it to a warehouse.
Per the nomination:
“If a property is designated as a city landmark, it comes under the jurisdiction of the LPB [Landmark Preservation Board] for design reviews and approval of proposed changes to specific historic features. Typical designated features include a building’s exterior and site, and significant public interior spaces. However, a property owner may still develop the property.”
The nomination includes a detailed history of the building, courtesy of the Queen Anne Historical Society. It’s an interesting write-up that is required reading for any history buffs – it covers the history of the building and the early days of telephone and telegraph industry on Queen Anne. Plus, it has several historic photos of the building, including this one from 1936:
If you have comments for the nomination, you can attend a public meeting:
Seattle’s Landmarks Preservation Board meeting
Wednesday, March 16 at 3:30pm
Seattle Municipal Tower, 700 5th Avenue, 40th Floor (Room 4060)
If you can’t make the meeting, you can submit written comments. Comments must be received by the Landmarks Preservation Board at the following address by March 15 at 3:00pm:
Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board
Seattle Department of Neighborhoods
PO Box 94649
Seattle, WA 98124-4649
There’s no indication yet of what type of development could happen at the site, but if the building is approved for Landmark Status, the exterior would likely remain intact – or at least have a chance at remaining as-is (with some earthquake retrofitting), as any design reviews would include approval from the Landmark Preservation Board.