Advocacy Update – May 2019
This month in state and local advocacy: the Washington Legislature adjourns, increasing B&O tax on architectural services; updates to Seattle housing legislation regarding ADUs, anti-displacement, and the Fort Lawton Redevelopment plan; plus events in conjunction with HDC's Affordable Housing Week.
State Legislative Session
The Legislature adjourned minutes before midnight on April 28, marking the first time in 10 years that a legislature has ended a budget-writing session on time. The state budgets were pushed through in the final 24 hours, including an increase in the B&O tax on architectural services to 1.8 percent. This increase was applied to professions that require a college degree, along with higher tax increases on tech companies and banks, with the revenue dedicated to expanding college financial aid and providing more slots for higher-demand degree programs. AIA Washington Council’s final report on the session can be found here.
Seattle Housing Legislation
ADUs: AIA Seattle supports the city’s goal (originally one of the 65 HALA recommendations) to encourage more backyard cottages by removing regulatory barriers and making it easier for property owners to create accessory dwelling units (ADUs). Seattle’s Hearing Examiner ruled this week on an appeal of the final environmental impact statement related to the proposed changes, allowing the city’s ADU legislation to proceed. Councilmember Mike O’Brien is expected to introduce his ADU proposal (the current draft is here) on May 29, followed by public input on June 11 and votes on June 18. The proposal will allow an AADU and a DADU on the same lot, would no longer require off-street parking for accessory units and would no longer require owners of properties with accessory units to live on site. AIA encourages members to contact their councilmembers on the proposal; you can do so via email or in person at the June 11 public hearing. If you are interested in connecting with others who are testifying on June 11 in support, please contact Kirsten Smith. MOAR–More Options for Accessory Residences–is also holding a messaging meeting on May 28 for those interested in testifying.
Anti-Displacement: In March, Councilmember Lisa Herbold introduced anti-displacement legislation that would authorize the Department of Construction and Inspections to require mitigation for the loss of affordable housing when permitting commercial development projects that: add more than four units; are not exempt from SEPA requirements; and are located within the Bitter Lake, Othello, South Park, Rainier Beach, and Westwood/Highland Park urban villages. The legislation relies on the city’s power under the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) to require mitigation of impacts to the environment. AIA Seattle’s Housing Task Force is tracking this legislation and has concerns about potential unintended consequences that might reduce housing units or merely replace existing housing. In addition, there are concerns about the reliance on SEPA, which can be weaponized to halt development. If you have comments on this legislation that you’d like the Task Force to consider, please contact Kirsten Smith.
Fort Lawton Public Hearing: The City Council will hold a public hearing on the Fort Lawton Redevelopment plan to turn the former military site into 237 affordable homes for low-income seniors and formerly homeless individuals alongside supportive services, workforce housing and affordable homeownership opportunities. Public testimony will be accepted (arrive early). Seattle City Council Chambers, May 21, 5:30 pm. You may also provide comments to Councilmembers via email.
JOIN: Young Professionals: Get Engaged
The YMCA’s Get Engaged program places young adults ages 18-29 on City of Seattle public boards and commissions. Get Engaged commissioners serve a one-year term starting in September each year. The application for the 2019-20 cohort is due May 20.
AIA Seattle Task Force Meetings
AIA Seattle members are invited to attend these policy-focused meetings, which occur monthly:
Transportation Task Force Monthly Meeting. June 11, 5:30pm – 6:30pm @ the Center.
Housing Task Force Monthly Meeting. June 13, 12pm – 1:15pm @ the Center.
Affordable Housing Week, presented by the Housing Development Consortium (HDC). May 13-17.
AIA Seattle 2019 Housing Design Forum: Housing Transformations: Density Done Right. May 20, 8am – 4:30pm @ Seattle Art Museum; 7 LU/HSW. Registration closes Thursday, May 16.
“Trickle Down Town” Film Screening & Discussion, presented by COHO. May 22, 5:30pm @ Olson Kundig.
City Leaders Breakfast Series: Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda, June 12, 8am – 9am @ the Center. Seattle City Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda will join us for a discussion on What’s Next for Housing in Seattle: a look at the post-MHA agenda to address housing affordability in the city.
Seattle ADU Tour. AIA Seattle’s Housing Task Force presents a built ADU tour highlighting Member DADU/AADU projects. The tour will take place on Saturday, June 15, 11am – 4pm, and is self-guided. Register here to receive tour locations and additional information.
For more information on these or any other topics, or to join a task force, please contact: