Tonight is the annual meeting of the Wallingford Community Council! The late breaking agenda from the always excellent Erika:

Wallingford CCWe hope you can join us for the WCC Annual Meeting in Room 202 of the Good Shepherd Center at 7 p.m. Wed 5/27

Come hear about the accomplishments of your community council and plans for the upcoming year. Help shape our programs on the Wallingford Waterway Walk (including opening WW20); cleanup of derelict buses & campers on Northlake Way; Land Use proposals; and other issues of interest. We’ll also elect new officers at the end of the meeting. See you there! Agenda:

  • 2014/15 WCC Overview
  • WW22 Spring Cleanup
  • WW20 WCC Permit Status
  • Waterway Project Update
  • Committee Updates (Land Use, Transportation, Quality of Life)
  • Board Member Elections

Also, the Wallingford Farmer’s Market at Meridian Playground reopens for the season! From 3:30 to 7:00 PM every Wednesday, on our calendar and hopefully yours. The essentials from their fine new Web site:

New this year at the farmer’s market: Locally Leavened Breads joins the mix. A whole array of sourdough bread made from wild yeast and Washington-milled grains.

Please park along Meridian Avenue N. No parking available in the Good Shepherd Center parking lot or along Sunnyside Avenue N.

Sounds like the farmer’s market is increasingly becoming a good place to grab dinner and eat it right there on site. I’ve been chatting with the Meaningful Movies about maybe screening movies right after the farmer’s market outdoors, wouldn’t it be cool to grab some food and then watch a movie? We’ll see!

Wallingford Farmers Market

There are 2 new developments that have popped up on our DPD map in the last month and a half since I last checked on April 8th.

First up, 1416 N 46TH ST, submitted on April 9, 2015: Land Use Application for Streamlined Design Review to allow a 3-story, 5 unit residential structure. Parking for 5 vehicles to be provided. Existing structure to be demolished.

Here’s a rendering, with the sun’s angle cleverly chosen to avoid casting a shadow on next door bungalows:

1416 46th

Second, a development at the corner of Woodland Park Ave N and Bridge Way N, 3860 BRIDGE WAY N, submitted April 13th. Design review early design guidance application proposes a 5-story structure containing 18 residential units and 5 live-work units. No parking is proposed. Existing structure to be demolished:

3860 Bridge Way N

The structure features no parking and borders a proposed regional greenway on Woodland Park Ave N. You’d think that greenway would be developed, but the Move Seattle Levy leaves it undeveloped as developing it would require adding arterial crossings and doing new pavement work.

Finally, the CVS development on 45th stalled because more foundation work was required than expected, but it’s still on track.

 

Varsity Movie Theater Re-Opens

What is a movie theater in 2015? In fact, it is many things. The business of operating a movie theater is in a state of flux. Movie theaters are trying to reinvent themselves. Are they bars? Restaurants? Charitable organizations? Places for mommy meet ups? Corporate meet ups? Music venues? Portals to a performance thousands of miles away?

In case you don’t know where The Varsity Theater is, it is in the University District at 4329 University Way. It was previously owned by Landmark Theaters, but is now owned by Faraway Entertainment which also owns the Admiral Theater in West Seattle. Landmark has been shedding cinemas for a few years now. They have sold The Neptune, The Uptown and The Harvard Exit. The The Uptown in Queen Anne was also closed but it was not owned by Landmark. It is now operated by SIFF. Landmark currently owns The Guild 45 in Wallingford. Should we be worried?

I visited The Varsity Theater for an open house they scheduled to show off their refurbishment after changing ownership. The place appears to be a whole lot cleaner than I remember. The seats look comfortable. Their web site states: “We have completed the conversion from 35mm film to all digital cinema with digital surround sound.” They are still capable of showing 35mm and 16mm films in case you were wondering.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, The Varsity and The Guild 45 both have crying rooms if you’re a new parent and you still want to go to the movies. It’s a great resource that few know about. For old times sake, I asked if I could see the Crying Room at The Varsity. It looked just as spiffy as the rest of the cinema. If interested, you should call either cinema for more information.

I hadn’t realized that The Varsity has free parking after 6:00 pm and on weekends. See their web site for details.

Another trendy diversification of movie theaters is to show arts or sports events, and so too will The Varsity.  On July 15th and July 22nd they will be showing live operas via satellite from The Metropolitan Opera in New York.

Can movie theaters be all of these different things? It will be interesting to see where the business lands in the next ten years. Meanwhile Meaningful Movies in Wallingford is bringing in a hundred people every Friday night, so maybe it is our definition of what a movie theater is that will change.

Here’s the District 4 wonkathon wrap up question! We might repeat the process for District 6 next (North of 50th), if anyone has deep thoughts on the questions or the format here please offer them up in the comments. In particular, are there specific questions regarding Tangletown you’d like to see asked?

The Question: Finally, an open ended question. In the end, priorities often matter more than policies. What are your top one or two priorities for Wallingford? How will life be different in our neighborhood if you are elected?

Abel PachecoAbel Pacheco’s Answer: Neighborhoods must be empowered. Doing so will not discourage progress, but will allow more effective, cooperative and innovative solutions to our problem. Community involvement is important because it literally “hits us where we live.” Leaving out people impacted by City Hall decisions doesn’t promote efficiency or creative progress.

One of my top priorities is to see that Wallingford has a meaningful and up-to-date neighborhood plan after broad-based community involvement. Wallingford is also where I live, and the only candidate that calls Wallingford home, so I too have a vested interest in ensuring Wallingford’s concerns are heard. I would like to see the city act on the South Wallingford amendment, considering any changes that may be necessary given the long period of inaction on part of the city.

Traffic and transit would also be a top priority. Development with or without parking must be decided on the basis of facts and practicality, not just philosophy. No doubt Wallingford residents supported taxing themselves to save or improve Metro within the city. However, Metro recently decided to make changes to routes in Wallingford with minimal input from the community. Once again, the opportunity for public involvement is critical for acceptance of not only current plans but those which may be proposed in the future.

Michael MadduxMichael Maddux’s Answer: My priorities as a city council member, beyond revenue reform, include identifying and funding meaningful investments in east-west connectivity through Wallingford, connecting Ballard, Fremont, Wallingford, and U-District. In addition, I would work with the Wallingford Chamber and Community Council to come up with what the next neighborhood plan looks like, how we are going to absorb and welcome incoming residents to the area, while preserving the affordability for small businesses along and around 45th (as well as the commercial cores of all neighborhoods). Folks can learn more about where I stand, and my policy proposals, at www.michaelmaddux.com

Rob JohnsonRob Johnson’s Answer: Better Parking Management!  I’ve knocked on just about every door in Wallingford and the number 1 issue I heard about was how difficult parking is in Wallingford.  To help reduce the squeeze on parking in the neighborhood I’d like to work with developers to provide transit passes, bike share memberships, and other incentives to encourage more car-light or car-free residents to move to Wallingford.  I think the city should do a more thorough analysis of the availability and use of public and private parking in the neighborhood to make sure we’re not building more parking than we need and to better utilize the available parking that currently exists. The squeeze is only going to get tighter as light rail opens so we need to be working on solutions now that can be in place over the next few years as we get close to light rail opening.  I’m also a parent of kids that will be in Seattle Public Schools and I’ll advocate for the city be more intentional about using our city resources to support the public school system through intentional programming with our parks and libraries to providing more safe walking and biking routes to schools.

Tony ProvineTony Provine’s Answer: My top priorities for Wallingford are a smarter transportation system and a planning process requiring developers to work with the community to prevent the displacement of long-time residents.  Enforcement of current neighborhood design guidelines and support for updating them is critical for small businesses, long-time residents and other stakeholders to be engaged.  Wallingford residents deserve smart growth that includes community-driven discussions about density and careful studies addressing the impact new developments have in displacing elderly, renters, and other underserved populations.

Wallingford needs better access to the light rail station in the University District. Smart transportation solutions are needed to provide relief for residents and workers from the congestion on 45th and 50th streets.  Wallingford residents deserve to feel safe and to have more community based police officers.

I am passionate about representing our 4th District and will promote active community participation in decision making to make our city more inclusive. Our residents need to be paid fairly and to have equal access to information and opportunities.  I’ve always been an accessible, dedicated and effective neighborhood leader and I will continue to be as City Councilmember for Wallingford and all our neighborhoods.  Please visit www.tonyprovine.com to learn more about my platform.

Jean GoddenJean Godden’s Answer: I agree, it is time for the Wallingford Neighborhood Plan to be updated. I will work with community leaders and with the Department of Neighborhoods to ensure that Wallingford is at the top of the list for updating its neighborhood plan.  I believe the people of Wallingford are the most effective group to address Wallingford’s priorities, but we do need to ensure those people have proper training to advocate for their community.

I will make sure that Wallingford’s parks, Meridian and Gasworks in particular, benefit from the increased resources available through the recently passed Seattle Parks District. Gasworks is due for renovation of its pavilion and covered areas, adding ADA and playground improvements.

I will listen to the neighbors and address transportation needs in the community, ensuring that there are safe routes to Wallingford area schools and safe pedestrian and bicycle routes throughout the business community.

Which candidate do you think best answered the question?

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If you read the blog then I’m sure you saw this candidate question coming. Also, to keep the train rolling on these questions I’m skipping a separate calendar post this week, check out our calendar page for what’s going on in Wallingford over the next week.

The Question: 45th street over I-5 is one of the most congested, dangerous roadways in the city for pedestrians and cyclists, yet the Move Seattle Levy does nothing to help connect Wallingford pedestrians or cyclists to light rail in the U-District. This is the top ask by Seattle Greenways for district 4 and has been widely covered on Wallyhood. To fix the levy Wallingford needs money to be allocated for structural improvements on or near the 45th Street overpass by the 2021 opening of light rail.

Further, the Move Seattle Levy was devised and feedback was collected without levy planners ever setting foot once in Wallingford. SDOT has not incorporated any feedback into their plans that Wallingford did provide, and has released contradictory statements about what their plans even are. While the goals of the levy and integrated transportation planning may be excellent, the levy plans for Wallingford are completely mismatched to our community needs, with cycle tracks going where they aren’t wanted and critical connections needed to complete a safe and integrated transportation network going unfunded.

As our District 4 representative, will you vote against the Move Seattle Levy as it stands today? What changes to the levy do you need to see, if any, before you will support it?

Michael MadduxMichael Maddux’s Answer: I am generally concerned with the reliance on property tax levies, especially with the upcoming proposals from the County, as well as expected expansion proposals for the Library Levy, Families and Education Levy, and Housing Levy. These are all great things that we need, but, beyond the issue of levy capacity being bumped up against, also raise concerns about who is being priced out due to increases. While low-income seniors and disabled persons have access to programs to lower their property taxes, this does not apply to renters’ “pass through” by way of rents paid, or moderate income individuals and families. I cannot stress enough the importance of pursuing revenue reform in Seattle to move away from over-reliance on real property taxes, sales taxes, and flat fees – all regressive forms of revenue.

On the Move Seattle proposal, while I appreciate the funding to study what we can do to improve east-west connectivity pending future investments in light rail (Ballard Spur!!!), I do believe there is a need for a pedestrian/bicycle connection between Wallingford and the U-District. Having ridden across the 45th Street Overpass, I know I would personally feel safer with something protected, which, based on overall mobility needs, would likely mean a separate overpass akin to what is proposed in Northgate.

Rob JohnsonRob Johnson’s Answer: In my day job, I advocate for more and better public transit throughout Washington State, so I’m very excited about the opening of the new light rail station in 2021.  As we prepare for the opening of that new system we need to make sure that Wallingford has such great east/west transit connections that you can go to a stop without needing to look at a schedule and get quickly and easily to anywhere you’d like to go. I’ve been advocating for new funding in Move Seattle for better transit and safer bike and pedestrian infrastructure across the city, which is one of the reasons why I’ve been endorsed by both the Cascade Bike Club and ATU 587 (our bus/light rail drivers union). At a minimum we need to expand the sidewalk infrastructure at 45th to make it easier for people walking or biking to cross I-5.  A separate 47th street crossing would be an expensive option, and thus not likely to get included in this year’s measure, but the city should at minimum study the cost of a crossing so we can start getting it into our future transportation plans.

Tony ProvineTony Provine’s Answer: The Move Seattle Levy must include a plan to build a greenway connection for bicyclists and pedestrians across I-5 at NE 47th Street.  Additional funds should be allocated for structural improvements throughout Wallingford.  In the meantime, I would seek immediate funding to improve pedestrian and bicycle access on the NE 45th Street bridge across I-5.

Throughout NE Seattle neighbors feel they are being ignored by downtown decision makers. Outreach processes have been inadequate and stakeholder’s voices are not being heard.  Long-time residents are weary of this pattern and a strong majority chose to elect city council members by district.  I am a proven neighborhood leader with a history of advocacy for my community on local and city-wide issues.  Smarter transportation and community-led processes are needed to complete a safe and integrated transportation network in our neighborhoods.  I support many aspects of the Move Seattle Levy but it is only one tool the city has to fund our neighborhood’s transportation needs.   This Levy includes many desirable projects that are not immediate needs while failing to address the more urgent needs of neighborhoods like Wallingford.  So many of our roads and highways need improvement now to increase safety and alleviate congestion.

Jean GoddenJean Godden’s Answer: Seattle’s transportation system must include a safe and accessible connection for walkers and cyclists over I-5 to the U District Link light rail station. I will work to assure that connection is in the Move Seattle plan that goes to voters this fall.

The mayor is transmitting his Move Seattle levy proposal to City Council, and we will examine it and make changes to assure it best fulfills the city’s transportation needs for the next nine years. It’s important that the plan be broadly appealing to Seattle voters, because without the funding that levy will provide, there would be drastic cuts in our transportation budget. Not only would street improvements not get built, but basic maintenance like street repaving would be drastically reduced

Abel PachecoAbel Pacheco’s Answer: Outreach on the Move Seattle Levy, development projects and other programs is critical. Instead of having to fight against an entire program because it was sprung on a neighborhood without input is ineffective, wasteful, and creates unnecessary hostility. The Move Seattle Levy did have outreach, but some communities such as Wallingford were missed.

I’ve suggested that organizations such as community councils should be given an opportunity to “opt in” or registered to be notified of public and private projects which impact their neighborhoods. People who are interested and want notice, should be allowed to register to get it.

I won’t commit to opposing the entire Move Seattle Levy because it does not provide a solution for the 45th St. problem. It is a significant oversight in the levy that not enough input was considered, it must be evaluated as a whole. Before making a commitment to support or oppose the levy as it stands today, I need to have input from other communities in the fourth district. Going forward, our district election system will likely result in the need for more give-and-take and compromise. What I can say now is that I’m committed to our community and its constituents, having worked hard to promote our values on the Wallingford Community Council, and will continue to do so. Going forward we can’t lose sight of the problem, and I am committed to keeping neighborhood transportation issues in the forefront with regard to future plans.

Which candidate do you think best answered the question?

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As a preface, here is an interactive map that the Northlake Safety and Security Team put together of the camper problem down on Northlake way. They state that in addition to the increasing numbers of vehicles, there are “numerous bags of garbage and debris” plus “12 unusually large piles of dog poop/human feces (?) in just a small section of the walking path”.

Also, I apologize for pairing homelessness with property crime in the question. I was trying to boil the questions down to 5 total and the issues both relate to city responsiveness, but the pairing is ugly and unfair and I regret it. Anyhow, moving right along…

The Question: Wallingford has several camper vans parked down on Northlake Way and homeless encampments in Gasworks and Meridian parks. This has been resulting in violence and mess to the point that the Northlake Safety and Security Team was recently formed to try to contain the problem after they found city government unhelpful. Further, police responsiveness to property crime like car prowls and mail theft and even home burglary is effectively non-existent in Wallingford.

The community has service agencies like Familyworks and Solid Ground, plus local churches that provide services. Programs like low income housing and Conservation Corps with Seattle Parks help with individual cases, but the 10 year plan to end homelessness in Seattle resulted in more homeless people than ever. It is argued the problem is exacerbated by the fact that neighborhoods like Wallingford are the best place to be homeless and receive services in our region.

Solving the problem requires the sort of sustained effort that Seattle government has not demonstrated an ability to undertake, from providing supports to everyone while also deterring abuse of property and laws. What are you planning to do so that city government becomes able to address these problems in a sustained effort?

Tony ProvineTony Provine’s Answer: As a caring and compassionate community, we should provide shelter and programs that connect homeless people with effective services, like job training.  Our region’s 10 year plan is well-intentioned but an ineffective attempt to solve the problem of homelessness. Other cities have been more successful.  Salt Lake City created a system of supportive housing where unsheltered people wanted to dwell and provided generous on-site counseling for challenges such as drug abuse and unemployment. The SLC results were stunning. In 2004, SLC estimated that each chronically homeless person cost taxpayers $61,000 a year, compared with $16,000 for supportive housing.

As a neighborhood leader I have heard the urgent need for more police officers.  Seattle’s police force is understaffed by hundreds; SPD is at 1970’s levels. It is essential that the City of Seattle establish its own police academy to increase staffing quickly. Wallingford would benefit from neighborhood policing with visible foot patrols that deter criminal activity.

We also need to expand the promising pilot program, Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD), throughout north Seattle Instead of arrests and jail time, LEAD takes a public health, harm-reduction approach where drug offenders receive treatment and housing to transition out of criminal behavior.

Jean GoddenJean Godden’s Answer: First of all, you have correctly explained the situation as I see it: Seattle is an attractive city with a moderate climate. It holds out the promise of jobs and it has a wealth of social services compared to other destinations. For this reason, we draw increasing numbers of newcomers, some of whom have found work; others, alas, have become the new homeless.

Because of a vastly increased need for transitional housing, we recently approved three additional encampments. These encampments will need experienced management and cannot be sited in single-family neighborhoods. Yes, we do need more transitional housing, but not under the nearest underpass nor alongside interstate ramps. Another step is that we need to encourage other communities in the region to assume responsibility and provide for some of the homeless population. If these other communities want help with regional transportation, housing, trails and more, we should expect them to help with the problem.

Despite our efforts to help move the homeless into a more stable existence with a secure roof over their heads, we may always have populations in need. Given the present dearth of services at state and federal levels, the city must work to secure more mental health services. One last note, I have noted the increase in private security forces due to the increasing exasperation with property crimes. I am convinced, in talking with our new police chef Kathleen O’Toole, that she is aware of the issue. Seattle needs more police per capita. We have the smallest ratio of any large city. Increasing the force will be a large undertaking, but it is one that stalled during the recession and we must now address.

Abel PachecoAbel Pacheco’s Answer: We need to remember that being poor and homeless is not a crime, and shouldn’t betreated as one. On the other hand, those who refuse help and disregard the health, safety and environment of our communities and are not truly homeless should be required to obey the law. Regarding the issue down on Northlake way, it is my understanding that many of the large vehicles are there months at a time and interact with the neighborhood and authority in not only a hostile but dangerous manner. When the vehicles are moved, they often leave mounds of trash, garbage and even feces in their wake. Alternatives to parking on the waterfront should be available, and if refused, the law should be equitably enforced.

Homelessness is and will be a continuing problem as it is said the poor will always be with us. Fortunately Seattle has a wide variety of nonprofit organizations willing to tackle the problem. These organizations should be given greater flexibility to experiment with different models in dealing with homelessness. One example is to allow “housing first” programs. City grant requirements should be reviewed to allow accountability, flexibility, and innovation.

Michael MadduxMichael Maddux’s Answer: Clearly our city needs to invest in more shelter beds, transitional housing, workforce retraining, and day centers with attached services. I believe it is time for Seattle to be bold on revenue, and will work with willing council members to review what options we can and should push for – including a local income tax – to stabilize our revenue stream, decrease regressive taxes and fees, and ideally have the funds in place to provide improved human service infrastructure. In the interim, I do believe we need to identify a short-term measure to address Northlake (and other parts of the city with similar situations). To that end, I will work with service providers, fellow council members, and neighborhood groups, in order to identify options, such as a car-camper encampment, so that people who are living in their vehicles have somewhere safe to be.

On property crime, a separate issue, I do believe we need to be proactive in funding and recruiting more officers, activate community policing within all communities, and ensure our officers have the support they need to adequately patrol neighborhoods and respond to calls – including property crime calls – in a timely fashion. As your next council member, I will accompany officers during each shift for each beat – whether as a ride-along, bike-along, or walk-along – and take the opportunity to learn from our frontline officers what their needs are, while ensuring my district office is a place for residents to bring information about neighborhood and block crime spikes, and know that their concerns are being heard by myself, my staff, and our precinct commanders.


Rob JohnsonRob Johnson’s Answer: 
In Seattle unsheltered homelessness has increased by 30% over the past 5 years, which has been exacerbated by the national and state reduction in mental health and social service funding. Clearly it’s time for a renewed effort to tackle the problem. I’ll push to see us work to expand the successful LEAD program into neighborhoods to reduce crime, I’ll advocate for hiring more officers to improve response times, I’ll push for more community policing efforts so officers can work more closely with communities on chronic public safety issues, and I’ll advocate for the budget to include more support for Solid Ground and other service providers to be able to stay open later, provide more services, and assist more people. I have a strong track record of collaboration with local officials throughout the region on complex policy issues and would engage early to combat homelessness. For example, I fought for the adoption of a low-income fare for Metro bus and Sound Transit light rail riders, both of which were implemented in 2015. Nearly 25% of King County residents are now eligible to ride transit at 50% less than the normal fare, a huge increase in mobility and access for working families.

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District 4 Wonkathon: Low Income Supports

As a preface, the podcast Planet Money from NPR is a great listen, and they do a good job of covering the gap between rich and poor and the difference between handouts and redistribution.

Rich vs Poor

A mash up of two of the better graphs on income inequality, from Planet Money and the Washington Post

The Question: Seattle has a myriad of programs for people that are low income that must be opted into through a complex set of lotteries and qualifying paperwork. People in low income brackets are deterred from rising across income cut off lines for fear of losing their benefits, while others who qualify but are not able or willing to advocate for themselves are not receiving benefits.

This has led to a push for simplified systems like rent control and a rising minimum wage that benefit everyone who qualifies. Another idea has been to assess developer impact fees and use those funds to subsidize rents. Another option is to have utilities be free up to half the median per capita use rate, then be charged at double the rate above that line, putting in place a revenue neutral, progressive carbon tax.

Do you support rent controls? How about development fees for rent subsidization? How about making utilities free up to half the median per capita use rate? What other systemic changes to address low income needs do you support?

Rob JohnsonRob Johnson’s Answer: I’d like to see us significantly increase the funds in 2016’s housing levy. I’d like to see us explore more housing on public lands. I’d like to see us work more closely with Sound Transit on surplus properties to build more transit oriented development that could be targeted for affordable housing. I’d like to see us increase our height limits around Sound Transit light rail stations, particularly in the University District, Roosevelt, and Northgate. I’d like to see us go to Olympia and get the authority (if we don’t believe we have it already) to implement a form of land value taxation to (ideally) flatten out some of our construction booms and busts to fund affordable housing. I’m a supporter of increased tent city encampments provided that they are placed near frequent transit service and that we have the social service workers available to get residents access to the services they need. And most importantly, I don’t want us to build a multi-billion dollar light rail system that is extremely frequent, reliable, and affordable (especially now thanks to ORCA LIFT) that subsequently prices the working families who need that frequency, reliability, and affordability out of the city.

Tony ProvineTony Provine’s Answer: Our current affordable housing crisis disproportionately impacts older adults, immigrants, people of color and other underserved communities.  People are being displaced, rents are out of control, and incentives given to developers are not working.  We can take steps now to address this crisis and produce thousands of low-income and affordable housing units. We should require inclusionary zoning in new developments rather than just incentivizing it. Affordable housing linkage fees should be required of developers to set aside a percentage of units within a building or pay a set fee. The city should also issue $500 million in long-term bonds for a Housing Bond Program; reestablish Seattle’s Growth Related Housing Fund; establish a loan and bond guarantee program for non-profit housing projects; expand the use of housing vouchers; and build more high-quality public housing with job training and social services. Tenants deserve fair treatment and we should strengthen tenant rights and consider rent stabilization tools.

Seattle is experiencing unprecedented growth and development.  Through enactment of Developer Impact Fees, we can cover some of the costs associated with new development.  These fees directly fund schools, roads, parks, and fire services and lessen the burden on the city and taxpayers.

Jean GoddenJean Godden’s Answer: To address affordability concerns, we have to look at simplified solutions that we can implement now. We are building more affordable housing units, and we must ensure that current tenant/landlord policies are being enforced.  Other solutions include easing zoning requirements for detached accessory dwelling units and requiring longer advanced notice of rent increases. These possibilities will help ease the housing affordability crunch Seattle faces, but we need more. I will advocate for local municipality jurisdiction over implementing rent stabilization. Seattle, not the State Legislature, should make the choice about rent control. I signed onto Resolution 31551 which states the City’s intent to implement an affordable housing linkage fee program and establishes policy parameters for such a program. I believe that incentive zoning bonuses and/or linkage fees should be one part of a wider network of solutions to create more affordable housing.

Abel PachecoAbel Pacheco’s Answer: As a renter who lives in a mother-in-law apartment I’m well aware of the housing crunch in Seattle. Homeownership and renting an affordable place to live are becoming out of reach of many of the people who protect our communities, teach our kids, and make our economy function- myself included as a UW employee trying to save, pay off student loans, and make ends meet. As an adjunct professor at North and Central Seattle Community Colleges, I too hear of the struggle many of my students undergo to progress out of many of these low-income programs.

Our rapid growth is coming with a cost on the community through its impacts on infrastructure, transportation, elimination of housing in old neighborhoods, etc. Reasonable and appropriate fees which consider the costs to the public are ideas I am open to exploring. Under a comprehensive plan to address growth and our housing crisis, developers should pay its share in dealing with the consequences of growth. Having said this, our city leaders must also do a better job at preparing for our growth to minimize the number of levies we ask voters to approve year after year as these levies add to the cost of housing. These costs can add another burden to already struggling middle-class families and individuals like myself. We, Seattleites, are a generous community but we want results. I do not like the common practice of coming year after year to voters, asking for approval of another levy when city leaders have not been good stewards of public funds- it erodes public confidence in our ability to address the problem. It is important that those fees, and levies, be used to effectively address problems caused by the growth and support our low-income neighbors, and not become another revenue source for the city.

Current state law does not allow us to implement rent control, but I am willing to study the issue further if state law changes. In general, I have reservations regarding rent controls as they can easily benefit those who don’t need the help and they ignore the need to create more housing. Specific, targeted, and limited rent controls might be feasible. In the short run, we can lessen impacts of people being forced out of their homes. Given the housing crunch and the difficulty in finding a place to live, notice requirements for rent increases and termination of tendencies should be expanded. People need not only living space but breathing room in having to deal with the pressures of growth.

Michael MadduxMichael Maddux’s Answer: Focusing on the questions posed – I do believe that the city can and should demand local control over housing, including repealing or amending RCW 35.21.830. I believe this would give the people of our city more leverage in housing affordability discussions. Whether I would support actual price controls on rent would depend on a lot of factors, including what efforts were in place to build new units where appropriate, how would the city ensure that landlords have the means to invest in building and unit improvements, and what the equitable application would look like. There are other measures that could be implemented more immediately that I support without hesitation, including regulations to make all leases automatically transition to month-to-month (requiring justification for evictions), ensure that people who are economically evicted receive relocation assistance, and requiring greater notice for no-fault evictions. The Community Housing Caucus has proposed additional measures, many of which I am supportive of.

I have been researching other funding sources, and one idea that was sent my way is exploring a capital gains tax on certain property transfers to ensure that not only developers and residents are paying into taxes for infrastructure (property taxes, REET taxes, and proposals for Linkage Fees and Impact Fees on developers), but speculators who are selling properties for massive profits – properties that are very valuable thanks to investment by the city in transit infrastructure, parks, and other amenities – are also participating in funding our city’s infrastructure needs.

On utilities – Santa Fe has a program for water that sets tiered rates based on usage, and has seen significant decrease in total water usage, even as the population has grown. I would be interested in looking at options like these to not only balance out the cost, but also encourage more conservation of our natural resources.

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