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By Ryan Murray

The city of Seattle’s Mandatory Housing Affordability policy has been controversial from the start, but the tenor of the debate was ratcheted up Monday as 24 groups from around the city rallied at City Hall, vowing to stop the plan.

Several groups, including Madison-Miller Park Community and Save Madison Valley, stem directly from Madison Park.

These largely neighborhood-based groups seek to use Washington’s environmental review process to stop the proposed upzone of 27 areas of Seattle, claiming the plan will make the city less affordable, not more.

Ravenna resident David Ward, president of Seattle Coalition for Affordability, Livability and Equity, derided the plan in a press release.

“It will make Seattle far more unaffordable and also make it more difficult to live here due to more traffic, not enough schools, more pollution, fewer trees and a loss of the diversity of residents we currently have,” he said.

The Mandatory Housing Affordability plan seeks to increase density in various parts of the city and intends to include a affordable housing mandate for future development. According to city documents, the plan will add “at least 6,000 new rent-restricted homes for low-income people.”

Downtown, South Lake Union and the International District already fall under the rules of the Mandatory Housing Affordability plan. The new zoning plan, which Seattle City Council will consider in 2018, would nearly quadruple the square milage of the city under the plan.

Interim Mayor Tim Burgess said the plan would take an important step in making Seattle more affordable for poorer residents.

“Today we continue our push to address Seattle’s housing affordability crisis,” he said. “With this plan, we will extend our requirement that new developments contribute to Seattle’s affordable housing supply. We’ve already implemented this requirement in the University District, downtown, and elsewhere. Now it’s time to bring this requirement to other high-opportunity neighborhoods so that we can hasten our progress in building a more inclusive and equitable city”

Developers in the swath of city under the Mandatory Housing Affordability plan would be required to create a certain percentage of subsidized-rent housing for lower income Seattle residents. They could alternatively pay a fee to the city which would then go to establishing housing elsewhere.

Under the housing requirements, “the cost of a rent-restricted two-bedroom apartment for a family of four earning $57,600 would be $1,296. For an individual making less than $40,320, a one-bedroom would cost $1,008,” according to a press release.

In the preferred environmental study plan, “urban village” parts of Ballard, Fremont, Greenwood, Northgate, Ravenna, Eastlake, Capitol Hill, Central District, Magnolia, West Seattle, South Park, Georgetown and essentially the entire Rainier corridor would have a change in their zoning. Additionally, a swath of land from McGilvra to Madison Beach currently designated as Lowrise 3 would add the “M” suffix of the affordable housing contribution.

Urban Villages are a City of Seattle designation for places where new development is largely directed.

Several blocks along East Madison Street would increase in density as “neighborhood commercial” with the M suffix. Smaller parcels of land near Madison would also add the M.

The requirements for developers take place when the city council rezones areas that allow for more development capacity.

It’s the latest in an ongoing fight between those who say Seattle needs more density and those who think too much change will damage the city’s livability.

Not everything would be impacted. Neighborhoods zoned for single-family housing remain largely unaffected, as well as historic districts.

The coalition of neighborhood groups said it will continue to fight the plan’s final environmental impact statement presentation to the city’s hearing examiner.

Syndicated from The Madison Park Times.

Sold several months ago, the dilapidated building located in the heart of Madison park’s commercial district that has been described by neighborhood residents as a “blight” has quite a few changes coming its way.

The historic building, located at 4114-4118 East Madison Street, was purchased in late July by the Losh family, owners of next-door neighbor Ewing and Clark Condominium Rentals. Constance Gillespie, the previous owner of the building, had held the property since her family purchased it in 1937. It was built in 1926.

Construction is ongoing on the rear of the building to change the structure.

“We’ve already torn down two-thirds of the back,” said Casey Losh, one of the new owners. “[Gillespie] had it in offices, with interior walls as support. We are getting the engineer to make just the exterior walls as supporting walls.” 

Losh said the building had been divided into three units. That won’t change for the time being, but with interior walls no longer load-bearing, it could change depending on the tenants.

The building was listed at $3 million, but the Losh family bid and won at just $1.39 million.

“I think that $3 million price tag scared off a lot of people,” Losh said. “We almost didn’t bid for it. But I think it reduced the people bidding. We went in an bid what we thought it was worth and were able to get it for less than half of asking.”

Losh has spent his entire life in Madison Park and said he is excited to be part of fixing up the crumbling building.

“We want to restore it to its former glory,” he said. “Constance had all the permits to fix it up, and we are using those. She’s been really good to work with.”

The limited liability company which bought the property was even named in honor of Constance and her family’s long history of owning the property. The Losh family bought it as JDLI Constance Court LLC, which has been admittedly confusing for the current tenant, but Losh believes it’s a nice nod to the previous owner.

The building currently has one tenant, Spa Jolie. The other two storefronts are currently vacant and have fallen into disrepair, entangling Gillespie with the City of Seattle’s Department of Planning and Development.

In 2014, the property was found to violate several codes for a vacant property, including insufficient protection from the elements, damaged eaves and fascia on the exterior and a decaying roof.

One of the notes from an inspector regarding the building reflected this succinctly.

“Secure the building against the weather, including but not limited to openings in the collapsed roof and walls,” it reads.

This was exacerbated in March of 2016 when an inspector found a large portion of the roof had collapsed.

Tim Blevins, a Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections structural inspector, wrote up a building code violation report.

“Approximately 1/3 of the roof has failed and the brick façade wall at NE property line is bowed due to the loss of the roof diaphragm,” Blevins noted.

The city found additional issues in February of this year, imposing penalties against Gillespie for not complying. As recently as last year, Gillespie had said she was not interested in selling.

The building is 2,787 square feet on a 4,900 square foot lot, or .11 acres. It is zoned NC1P-30, which means a buyer could build it up to 30-feet high with the option for a rooftop greenhouse if supplying a restaurant below.

“Some people think we are crazy for not building other units on top of this one,” Losh said. “And we might some time in the future, but not for a while.”

Losh said his family is working with Spa Jolie to keep them in the space. He said renovations are scheduled to finish in late winter or early spring of 2018. More than 50 potential tenants have called about the building, Losh said, but rates for leases have not yet been set.

Syndicated from The Madison Park Times

By Sian Wu

This year McGilvra Elementary’s PTA and student community is launching a new campaign called “McGilvra Heart,” which focuses on uplifting and supporting our local community through empathy and generosity.

The first event that embodied this theme was the annual Runathon—a kid-driven fundraiser that encourages good deeds and team support, through “Kid Action, Power of Wildcats.” The superhero theme was on full display in October as our mini caped and masked superheroes ran, walked and wheeled around the playfield for the full hour. Together kids completed 6,798 laps, equivalent to more than 800 miles.

The funds go toward bridging the gap between school district funding and essential services, such as arts and music programming and math and reading specialists. Thank you to all of you who contributed to children’s fundraising efforts, as well as our sponsors Bert’s Red Apple, Denali Fitness, POGO, Darigold and in-kind services from Girlie Press and Carol Hoffman. For a full list of merchants who donated to the rewards incentive booklet for kids, go to https://mcgilvraelementarypta.wordpress.com/run-a-thon/

Despite limited space on school grounds due to construction of our new lunchroom building, this year’s Harvest Celebration was just as much a treat for kids as it is every year. The kids enjoyed a glow dance party in the gym, a spooky playground, games and activities on the field and a selfie photo booth. McGilvra’s fifth graders organized a bake sale to raise money for kids in Puerto Rico living with the devastating effects of Hurricane Maria and contaminated water. Kudos go out to the third grade parent organizing team, and all parents who contributed delicious desserts and refreshments for the event.

Thanks to funding from the Building Excellence Phase IV Capital Improvement Program through Seattle Public Schools, McGilvra’s new 5,100 square-foot lunchroom construction is well under way. The school is adjusting to the resourceful rearrangement of space to accommodate current school activity with minimal disruption. It’s been exciting to see foundation and framing work begin, and we are looking forward to seeing the beautiful new green building finished by the start of the 2018 school year.

This fall, McGilvra kids celebrated at Indigenous Peoples Day at Garden Recess. We served corn chips and salsa verde, made with our own crop of tomatillos. The group talked about common foods indigenous to the American continents, and how native peoples cultivated and harvested a wide array of fruits and vegetables prior to the arrival of European settlers. Garden Recess is held on Mondays, from 11:45 to 12:30 pm. All McGilvra families are welcome to attend, so mark it in your calendar and come check out what we do!

The McGilvra Elementary PTA has joined a cohort of Central Area School PTAs from Madrona, Leschi, Lowell and Stevens to host the School Board Debate at Madrona Elementary in late October. McGilvra PTA delegates attended the Washington state PTA Legislative Assembly on Oct. 20-21 in Tacoma, in order to vote on 11 new proposed advocacy positions and hear updates on current platform positions. In addition, the Housing for All Seattle Platform was recently endorsed by the McGilvra PTA board, in support of students experiencing homelessness and families in transition.

Tour dates of McGilvra for prospective families are now confirmed for Nov. 17 and Jan. 12, 9:30 a.m. at the school.

Be sure to like the McGilvra Elementary PTA Facebook page for updates, and our websites for more helpful information: www.mcgilvrapta.org and www.micgilvraes.seattleschools.org.

Syndicated from MadisonParkTimes.com

Cafe Flora’s annual Vegetarian Thanksgiving on Thursday, November 23rd offers a beautiful, four-course vegetarian meal for $75 for adults and $25 for children, with plenty of gluten free and vegan options.

Regular menu:

  • Spiced Apple Parsnip Soup with crispy Brussels sprouts (vegan, gluten free), Roasted Fennel and Grilled Belgian Endive, arugula, pomegranate seeds, toasted pumpkin seeds, dried cranberry, and cornbread croutons (available vegan & gluten free).
  • For the main course choose from Filo Spirals filled with wilted greens, pecans, gruyere and fontina, brushed with brown butter, served with braised kohlrabi and cabbage, smashed cauliflower, Yukon gold potatoes, green beans, with chestnut leek sauce or Roasted Acorn Squash Wedge with foraged chanterelle mushrooms, oven roasted autumn vegetables, pear tangerine sage chutney, smashed cauliflower, Yukon gold potatoes, and wild mushroom gravy (vegan, gluten free).
  • End the meal with a decadent dessert of Pumpkin Mousse with pecan graham crust, and meringue candied pepitas (vegan, gluten free) or Rustic Apple Galette with horchata cinnamon ice cream and cranberry gelee.

Full kids menu (can be made completely vegan and gluten free):

  • Carrots in a Blanket with house made BBQ dipping sauce
  • Garden Salad with romaine, pears, dried cranberries, pomegranate seeds and cornbread croutons.
  • Mini Shepherd’s Pie with peas, carrots, squash, and other winter vegetables in a creamy sauce, topped with Yukon gold mashed potatoes.
  • Pumpkin Pie with whipped cream.

Available by reservation only, with seatings from 1 to 7:30 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 23rd, 2017. To reserve, call 206.325.9100 ext. 3 and for more information, visit CafeFlora.com. Cafe Flora is located in Madison Valley at 2901 East Madison St, Seattle.