Urban Politics #44: Reminder This Friday – Summer Bash


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By City Councilmember Nick Licata.

Urban Politics (UP) blends my insights and information on current public policy developments and personal experiences with the intent of helping citizens shape Seattle’s future.

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CONTENTS:

  • Reminder This Friday – Summer Bash
  • Public Hearing On Tax Abatement
  • Public Hearing On 60 Day Rental Notice
  • Public Hearing On Pacmed – The Amazon.Com Deal
  • Public Hearing On Pike Market Hildt Agreement
  • Conference On Puget Sound’s Future

Reminder This Friday – Summer Bash

This Friday, August 28th, from 5:30 to 8:30 at PRAG House, 747 16th Ave. East (corner of 16th East and East Aloha) there is a benefit for Nick’s City Council Office Fund – for getting more things done!

$25 donation appreciated, but your presence is what really counts! Kids welcome, Food, No-Host Bar, Free Henna Tattoos and Poetry – of course!

Call the office at 684-8803 for more information or if you would like to help out!

Public Hearing On Tax Abatement

A Public Hearing on Tax Abatements for the development of multi-family housing will be held this Wednesday, August 26th, at 11:00 AM in the City Council Chambers before Peter Steinbrueck’s Housing, Human Services and Civil Rights Committee.

Preceding the hearing, City staff will explain the proposed ordinance to the Committee.

The ordinance would provide a ten-year property tax exemption for housing development located in certain neighborhoods. Although a final draft as of Friday was not available, the following neighborhoods were to be targeted: Pioneer Square, International District, Denny Triangle, South Park, Columbia City, Central Area (23rd & Jackson), MLK @ Holly, and Rainier @ I-90. Originally South Capitol Hill and 21st @ Madison were included, but they may be removed.

Users of the tax abatement program in the first three neighborhoods would have to provide 25% of their units to households with 80% of the metropolitan area’s median income. In the other neighborhoods, there is no requirement that the new units be affordable to a particular level of household income.

City staff has noted that planning groups in all of the targeted neighborhoods have requested tax abatement as a stimulus for building new housing. These neighborhoods have traditionally not seen new market rate housing and its addition would help the vitality of their neighborhood business districts.

Proponents also argue that tax abatement programs have successfully provided additional housing units for moderate-income families in other cities. Steinbrueck sees the program as being an effective tool for providing housing for people who are in the second quartile in income distribution. These are generally working class families and individuals not eligible for subsidized housing but who find the cost of market priced housing a burden.

Critics of a tax abatement program argue that it could lead to the conversion of existing lower priced units to higher priced ones and therefor displace low income and fixed income renters. In addition, the ordinance as currently written does not require any evidence that the program is stimulating new construction in targeted neighborhoods above the level that might have occurred without these tax breaks.

Although a property tax exemption strategy (tax abatement), was discussed at the Mayor’s Housing Conference in March, it was ranked last (44%) by the participants (275 questionnaires returned) as a strategy to support in creating a new Housing Action Agenda. However, reuses and rehabs of run-down buildings was ranked second (91%) and preserve low income housing was ranked 4th (87%) by the participants.

The ordinance is still being shaped by the city in response to staff, citizen and Council Members’ concerns. Apparently earlier drafts provided tax abatements to developments currently underway. The most recent draft now excludes them.

Public Hearing On 60 Day Rental Notice

Peter Steinbrueck’s Housing Committee will hold a second public hearing on August 26 at 4:30 in the City Council Chambers on legislation proposed by Peter and me, to provide for a 60 days written notice to renters receiving rent increases that total more than 10% of the previous rent over the past 12 months.

Public Hearing On Pacmed – The Amazon.Com Deal

This Wednesday, August 26, 1998, at 4:00 PM, the Pacific Hospital Preservation and Development Authority (PHPDA)/PacMed Clinics, else known simply as PacMed, will hold a hearing in its Beacon Hill Campus building (1200 12th Avenue South) in the “G” Level, Café to allow its Governing Council to take public testimony on its plan to lease out its Beacon Hill tower building to the Wright Runstad & Company (WRC). They in turn plan on leasing out the space to a commercial office tenant, the Amazon.Com Company.

The meeting will begin with a presentation by the PacMed executive staff on their recommendation that a lease with WRC be approved. Questions by Governing Council members will follow and then the public may speak.

Send comments via email to: janineb@pacmed.org. The Governing Council must receive email comments by 12:00 noon on Wednesday, August 26, 1998.

Public Hearing On Pike Market Hildt Agreement

This Thursday, August 27th, my Culture, Arts and Parks Committee will hold a Public Hearing at 5:30 PM in the City Council Chambers on the Hildt Agreement.

The hearing will be proceeded by three short presentations. City Staff will first provide historical background to the creation of this mutual agreement between the City and the Pike Market PDA. Following it will be a presentation from the PDA Council or their staff explaining why their proposed changes are needed to the Hildt Agreement. A final presentation is allocated to a spokesperson representing those PDA members who oppose the amendments. Then the individuals may have up to 3 minutes to address the Council to speak for, against or on some variation of the proposed changes.

There is no City alternative proposal to be presented at the hearing. However, afterwards I will survey the Council Members to see which of the following actions they support: 1) approve the proposed amendments, 2 ask the PDA Council to renew the Hildt Agreement without the amendments or 3) refer back to the PDA Council some variation of the proposed amendment changes, 4) not act on the proposed changes and pass a resolution that recognizes that the PDA was chartered to manage the market and administer the daystall rules and regulations, and strongly emphasize the need to ensure that farmers (selling both flowers and produce), as well as arts and crafts venders have a permanent and secure place in the market.

Assuming that the first option is not selected by the City Council, the ball passes back to the PDA Council’s court. The PDA has notified the City that their proposed changes will not take affect until March 31st of 1999.

Conference On Puget Sound’s Future

On September 17 and 18, 1998, The Institute for Washington’s Future, will host a conference: “What Future for the Puget Sound?” at the University of Puget Sound’s Tacoma campus. The conference is free and open to the public.

Keynote speaker is Myron Orfield, whose recent book “Metropolitics: A Regional Agenda for Community and Stability” has spurred a Renaissance of research and advocacy on behalf of metropolitan solutions to the problems of suburban sprawl and urban poverty. He proposes to forge a coalition for regional governance that unites central cities with other communities, including aging “inner-ring” suburbs with high social needs, and rural communities with modest tax capacities.

For more details visit www.ups.edu/professionalorgs/metro/home.htm, or call Thomas Weko, Conference Organizer, at (253) 756-3505.

Keep in touch…

 

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