Growth Management Hearings Board Denies SCALE Appeal of MHA
The Seattle Coalition for Affordability, Livability and Equity (SCALE) lost its appeal of Seattle’s Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA) Citywide Upzone policy, the Growth Management Hearings Board announced today. SCALE is a coalition of 27 neighborhood groups.
SCALE based its appeal on the City of Seattle’s lack of compliance with the Growth Management Act and its own Comprehensive Plan. MHA is the largest single zoning change in Seattle’s history, affecting residential zoning in all 26 Urban Village neighborhoods plus all multifamily and commercial zoning throughout the city. Issues included displacement of existing residents, preservation of trees, historic resources, and worsening utilities and services.
SCALE’s case was primarily based on information and requirements in Seattle City documents:
Police and fire response times are getting longer, hurting public safety. Most of the City’s sewers are at or near capacity and overflows into local waterways are a significant problem.
Citywide, unplanned development is causing a loss of tree canopy. City documents acknowledge that parks and parks acreage is inadequate now and will create significant adverse impacts with future increased growth.
Historic resource surveys are required in neighborhoods prior to redevelopment, but many neighborhoods don’t have those surveys, threatening a loss of historic resources.
Seattle has lost affordable housing because the City has failed to “identify affordable housing at risk of demolition and work to mitigate the displacement of residents ahead of planned upzones,” as required by the Comprehensive Plan.
SCALE is concerned that the City’s policies create unplanned growth and gives a blank check to developers without requiring their accountability to the city’s quality of life.
“We believe the best way is to restore planning neighborhood by neighborhood” SCALE President David Ward said. “With community involvement from the outset, we had very few planning delays in the past.”
“This loss is disappointing!” Ward said. “We knew it was an uphill battle. There are 30 days to decide if we will appeal to Superior Court. We have no deep pockets, only a vision of a more livable and inclusive city.”