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Microhousing Resolution

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Capitol Hill Community Council Resolution on Microhousing

Whereas, in 1993, the City and the Neighborhoods jointly created a Design Review Process and Design Guidelines to ensure that new construction fit into the existing neighborhood context;

Whereas, the Neighborhoods agreed to increased growth with the understanding that neighborhood context would be protected, and that Neighborhoods would be able to meaningfully participate in the planning and development of their Neighborhoods;

Whereas, many years ago, the State of Washington and the City of Seattle enacted environmental protection laws and regulations that required the review of new construction for a range of environmental impacts;

Whereas, the City has repeatedly granted exemptions and raised thresholds for the application of Design and SEPA Review, such that an increasing number of buildings are being constructed with undefined environmental impacts, and in a style which clearly violates the existing neighborhood context;

Whereas, the City has set growth targets under the Growth Management Act, which are to be used to guide future development;

Whereas, the Capitol Hill Neighborhood has seen new construction that will result in the neighborhood exceeding the previously established growth and density targets: As of July 2012, Capitol Hill has met 92% of its growth target for 2004-2024, and when additional 380 permitted units are built, it will meet 130% of its growth target for the same period;

Whereas, a new type of construction referred to as apodments or microhousing, concentrated in the Capitol Hill Neighborhood, has proceeded under ordinary construction permitting procedures, exempt from Design Review, SEPA Review and Design Guidelines, and resulting in an increased density not previously established in Seattle's Land Use Code;

Whereas, the pace and nature of development of apodments in the Capitol Hill Neighborhood, as well as other neighborhoods around the City, deeply concerns the neighborhood, for the reasons stated above;

Whereas, the development of apodments has been enabled by a DPD interpretation, Director's Rule 7-83, of the meaning of the phrase "dwelling unit", and under which eight separate living units have been classified as a single “dwelling unit”, thereby lowering the unit count for the proposed building;

Be it resolved by the Capitol Hill Community Council:

We ask that the Seattle City Council, using its authority to establish interim measures under the Washington State Constitution Article 11, Section 11 and the Growth Management Act, Chapter 36.70A, to declare that an emergency exists, and to declare a moratorium on the approval and construction of any more apodments or microhousing in the Capitol Hill Neighborhood, or anywhere else in the City, until such time as the City Council can further clarify the meaning of "dwelling unit", and stop its application to the development of apodments, a type of construction it was never meant to address, to make the development of apodments subject to Design and SEPA Reviews, and to pass an ordinance to ensure that all multifamily buildings that contain the same or similar unit count are subject to the same set of development standards and design guidelines.


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