Hearing on SDC’s appeal of UDistrict Upzone May 4th

press release                                press release                                       press release

“Over 1500 low cost housing units & small businesses threatened”  “City’s DPD refuses to even study these impacts”

This coming Wednesday 10AM the Growth Management Hearings Board will be hearing the Seattle Displacement Coalition’s appeal of the UDistrict Upzone – a plan to cover the district with 240-320′ towers and that threatens over 1500 units of existing low income housing and dozens of small businesses  – This Wed 10:00pm May 4th before the State Growth Managements Hearing Board, 40th floor of Seattle Municipal Building 700 5th Ave. 
for more information, contact this email or ph: 2066320668         John Fox
(our apologies if you received more than one – we’re working on eliminating these duplications  – or if you’d like off this list please email us back here)

The Coalition’s appeal, filed last Dec charges the City with failing to undertake a separate “displacement risk” analysis as required under the State SEPA statute 43.21c.420 4(f) http://apps.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=43.21c  prior to any final consideration or approval of any “nonproject action” which includes an upzone such as the one planned for the UDistrict.

We have filed briefs and our counterbrief to the Board and Wed 10pm the board will hear arguments from us and the City.  The City’s Department of Planning and Development (now DCI or Community Development and Planning) has hired outside counsel to represent their side.  Despite the fact that so much existing housing and small businesses are threatened, DPD has completely ignored their legal obligation and denied our requests even for meetings with them to discuss this matter.

The statute is clear and states that any city “over 500,000” meaning only Seattle that “adopts subarea planning” or other “optional elements” of comprehensive planning must compile a separate displacement risk analysis identifying impacts of a planned upzone or other “nonproject action” on low income housing and small businesses.  A draft risk analysis must be made available with at least one public hearing on the report before it’s finalized.  The city or rather in this case the Department of Community Planning and Development (Dave LeClerque staff dave.laclergue@seattle.gov  ph:206-733-9668 ) has totally thumbed their nose at their responsibility here. 

They’re arguing that aren’t really doing “subarea planning” when they clearly are (the City’s comp plan and pedestrian master plan among other policy doc’s clearly state’s there is subarea planning occurring in the city and for the UDistrict.  And while there is no specific definition for the term in the statute, it’s commonly understood that “neighborhood planning” and planning around rail stops are kinds of subarea plans.  And they’re arguing that since they’re only “amending” the Comp Plan they’re not really “adopting” anything… a ridiculous attempt to draw a semantic difference in the terminology.

Over 1500 low income units and dozens of small businesses are threatened – and the city won’t even acknowledge it.  We have a map, obtained from the City’s planners and consultants showing that under their own analysis many of the properties in the district are likely to be redeveloped in the event of an upzone.  We went and looked at each of these sites and counted over 500 low cost and affordable rentals placed and dozens of small businesses especially along “The Ave” also threatened.  Contact us for a copy of this map… and we’ll soon post it on our website.

For more information, contact 2066320668.

About John V. Fox

Director, Seattle Displacement Coalition
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