Update: Hearing on appeal of HALA upzones by 29 neighborhood and housing groups will begin June 25th

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Wallingford residents last year greeting former Mayor Murray on one of his neighborhood walks:  what residents think of HALA upzone plan

Grassroots coalition filing the appeal asks public for contributions and volunteers while the City Council’s Land Use Chair Rob Johnson continues to hold hearings and review the HALA upzone plan as if there is no appeal

“The City has not adequately assessed the negative impacts of its planned upzones, nor studied reasonable alternatives to upzoning to create affordable housing, nor has the city accompanied its plan with measures to prevent displacement of longtime residents and small businesses, loss of tree canopy, loss of open space, and the loss of historic buildings that inevitably will result”.

So says the Seattle Coalition for Affordability, Livability and Equity (SCALE), an organization of 29 community and housing groups representing every corner of the city.  This quote explains why together they have filed a legal appeal of the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) with the Hearing Examiner.   The appeal originally was scheduled to be heard more than two months ago, but because of the time and complexity of the case – and motions for summary judgement and other pre-hearing machinations by both sides, the case now is scheduled to start June 25th and is likely to last for several days and possibly ‘extended’ into July.  

A successful appeal would force the City to take their planned upzones back to the drawing boards for a more detailed, accurate, and thorough assessment of how these upzones affect our city.   And, it is hoped such a ‘remand’ would force consideration and adoption of effective mitigation measures such as a stronger tree protection ordinance, developer impact fees, small business protections, and a requirement that developers replace 1 for 1 any low cost housing they destroy.  “Without such measures,” said one of the appellants, “to simply move ahead with these upzones is tantamount to destroying both the affordability and livability of our city.” 

A SCALE representative says that so far, it has been successful in securing contributions to sustain their appeal due to generous support of many Seattle citizens. But, given the complexity of the effort and enormous number of issues raised by 29 appealing organizations, much work remains to be done and that costs money.  While there also has been an extraordinary volunteer effort that has helped significantly to allay expenses, the group says more fundraising and volunteer help are needed.

Attorneys representing SCALE are Claudia Newman and David Bricklin considered to be among a handful of the state’s best land use attorneys working on behalf of neighborhoods and environmental advocates.

SCALE asks you for contributions to their cause:

According to one SCALE participant, “If you have already donated, please consider digging a little bit deeper if you can.  Or if you have not yet donated to the effort please consider doing so.  Truly the future of our great city hangs in the balance”.   Those interested in donating can do so by linking to this site  to contribute on line.  Or they can send a check (made out to “Seattle Fair Growth” and “For FEIS appeal” ) and mailed to:

Seattle Fair Growth Appeal
2442 NW Market Street, Box 487
Seattle, WA 98107 

About John V. Fox

Director, Seattle Displacement Coalition
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