Housing

Revel Smith, a spokesperson for the homeless encampment Nickelsville, released an update about its dealing's with the Port of Seattle, which has asked the tent city to leave its property at Terminal 107 Park in West Seattle.

It's been on Port property at 4700 West Marginal Way S.W. for about two weeks after the state transportation department asked it to leave a previous location on property it owns in South Park.

Here is the letter from Smith:

"On July 31, a random 14 Nickelsville residents, as well as Veterans For Peace Chapter 92, were served eviction papers. A written response is due by Tuesday, August 11. On Thursday, August 13th, each person named and served appear, as individuals, before King County Superior Court Judge, Paris K. Kallas.

The Port’s new strategy targets Nickelsville’s residents individually, not as one encampment. Many residents are working or disabled and saving-up credit check fees and deposits. Even Mayor Nickels’ homeless sweeps don’t directly impact people’s rental history for obtaining future housing.

08/10/2009
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Photo credit: 
Photo courtesy Nickelsville

Nickelsville at its previous location in South Park.

Pending home sales show a sustained and continuous uptrend, rising for four consecutive months with very favorable housing affordability and a first-time buyer tax credit boosting activity, according to the National Association of Realtors.

The association said the market seems to have turned to the buyers' advantage, and the federal government's $8,000 tax credit for first-time buyers who buy through November is an inducement. Experts say the housing recovery must start with such first-time buyers, who don't need to sell one home to buy a new one, and typically there’s the ripple effect up.

And that's what may be happening in the Seattle area, according to the latest report from the Northwest Multiple Listing Service. Buyers and sellers reached deals on 711 houses in Seattle and 2,246 countywide in May, up around 24 percent and 27 percent, respectively, from a year earlier, the report said.

Those pending sales totals were up from increases of around 15 percent in the city and county from a year earlier in April.

07/31/2009

The Seattle City Council will hold a public hearing on backyard cottages at 5:30 pm on Sept. 15 in Council Chambers at City Hall.

Public comments are welcome and encouraged, according to the Seattle Department of Planning and Development.

Mayor Greg Nickels has proposed legislation that would allow more homeowners the option to build backyard cottages, or "mother-in-law" units.

The city describes a backyard cottage as a small dwelling unit that is on the same lot as, but physically separate from, a single-family house.

Under the proposal, homeowners would be allowed to build backyard cottages under certain conditions. The owner must live on the premises and there would be an annual limit of 50 new such developments.

The lot must be at least 4,000 square feet in area, with minimum width and depth requirements. The principal house and backyard cottage combined must not exceed the current 35 percent lot coverage limit for single family zones.

Cottages can be no more than 800 square feet in area with a height limit of 15 to 23 foot height depending on lot width. Parking is required.

07/28/2009
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Photo credit: 
Courtesy Seattle Department of Planning and Development

Backyard cottages, like this one in Columbia City, are allowed in southeast Seattle and could be permitted in the rest of the city as early as this fall. A public hearing is scheduled for Sept. 15.

The Seattle City Council will hold a public hearing on backyard cottages at 5:30 pm on Sept. 15 in Council Chambers at City Hall.

Public comments are welcome and encouraged, according to the Seattle Department of Planning and Development.

Mayor Greg Nickels has proposed legislation that would allow more homeowners the option to build backyard cottages, or "mother-in-law" units.

The city describes a backyard cottage as a small dwelling unit that is on the same lot as, but physically separate from, a single-family house.
Under the proposal, homeowners would be allowed to build backyard cottages under certain conditions. The owner must live on the premises and there would be an annual limit of 50 new such developments.

The lot must be at least 4,000 square feet in area, with minimum width and depth requirements. The principal house and backyard cottage combined must not exceed the current 35 percent lot coverage limit for single family zones.

Cottages can be no more than 800 square feet in area with a height limit of 15 to 23 foot height depending on lot width. Parking is required.

07/28/2009
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Photo credit: 
Seattle Department of Planning and Development

Backyard cottages, like this one in Columbia City, are allowed in southeast Seattle and could be permitted in the rest of the city as early as this fall. A public hearing is scheduled for Sept. 15.

Low-income senior apartments, Meridian Manor, hosted Mayor Greg Nickels as he announced funding that would preserve and rehabilitate 179 low-income senior housing and construction of 70 units of affordable housing for working individuals and families.

A total of $8.1 million would go to those projects, Nickels said Wednesday, July 22.

“We’re using the (housing) levy to leverage some additional dollars, federal stimulus and state dollars,” Nickels said. “We do that all the time, and typically through our levies we’ve been able to leverage three to four dollars for every dollar of housing levying we invest.”

The funds will help rehabilitate three separate apartment buildings for seniors with annual incomes of less than about $18,000 a year. It will also help with construction of a new apartment building in the Rainier Valley for individuals who make about $35,000 a year and families of three earning about $45,000 a year.

Bill Rumpf, deputy director of the Office of Housing, assisted Nickels in presenting the funding awards and said that they would be committing $3 million from the Seattle Housing Levy for the purchase of Meridian Manor.

07/22/2009
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Allison Espiritu

On July 22, Mayor Greg Nickels announced at Meridian Manor, located in the Northgate neighborhood, that a total of $8.1 milion in funding will go toward senior and workforce housing.

The shelter, known as Nickelsville, has been posted a 72-hour notice to vacate by the Washington State Department of Transportation.

Residents of a south Seattle homeless nearly 4-acre encampment on state-owned property at 2nd Avenue Southwest and West Marginal Way in Seattle were hoping Gov. Chris Gregoire would let them stay.

The encampment moved onto the state-owned property June 6. According to a press release from the state, for the past six weeks, the state has worked closely with King County, the City of Seattle and both the Church Council of Greater Seattle and the Lutheran Public Policy office of Washington State to develop a long-term solution for the members of the encampment.

Paula Hammond, Washington Transportation Secretary, negotiated a two-week extension with the Church Council of Greater Seattle for the camp to leave the site by July 20, which organizers failed to abide by.

07/21/2009
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Photo credit: 
Steve Shay

"Nickelodean" Donna Beavers met her husband Bruce at a Nickelsville encampment near the university and they married six months ago. On June 20, the state department of transportation issued the encampment a notice to vacate the state owned property within 72 hours.

The Altamira Apartments, one block west of the Alaska Junction at 4100 S.W. Alaska St., are now giving hard-hat tours of its rental units.

The 157 units range from $830 per month, plus utilities-that's with a year lease discount program-for a small studio, to nearly $4,000 for a 1,500 square-foot, two story "townhouse" with a view of Puget Sound. There are some 45 different floor plans, 10 just for studios.

The units are built around a large interior courtyard.

The complex, developer Leon Capelouto's "Capco Plaza," is set to open ahead of schedule in September and will sit atop a QFC supermarket, Office Depot, and Desert Sun Tanning Salon. The QFC will start stocking food in August to open in September.

"We gave an extra five feet for sidewalks 15-feet wide along Alaska Street as part of the public benefit that went with the vacation of the alley," said Rex Allen, Leon Capelouto's project manager. "There was an alley that went through the sight. We provided a new alley and gave the extra sidewalk space, extra plantings, a public outdoor seating area, and we will provide a canopy over the bus stop."

07/18/2009
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Photo credit: 
Steve Shay

Christine Hushebeck, Altamira's community manager, and Rex Allen, Leon Capelouto's project manager, pause to enjoy the view of a luxury two-story townhouse apartment in the new complex, to begin renting in September. Less pricy studios are also offered.

This month's regularly scheduled Southwest District Council meeting has been replaced by two community presentations.

First, the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) will hold a public meeting on the topic of neighborhood traffic calming beginning at 6:30 p.m. Later, the Department of Planning and Development will discuss backyard cottages (formerly detached accessory dwelling units) at 7:30 p.m.

Date: Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Time: 6:30-7:30 p.m. - Neighborhood Traffic Calming Presentation, Seattle Department of Transportation
7:30-8:15 p.m. - Backyard Cottages Presentation, Department of Planning & Development

Location: President's Board Room
South Seattle Community College
6000 16th Ave. S.W.

This meeting is open to the public.

07/15/2009

There may be an economic downturn generally, but recently released city data contradicts the common assumption that Seattle's housing market has taken a hit. 

Since Jan of 2008, more than 6,500 housing units have been added to Seattle's housing stock with 2,800 of that total finished in the first three months of 2009. In fact, the rate of new housing development actually is up slightly from previous years.

What's even more interesting, the new numbers also directly conflict with the commonly held belief that Seattle and our neighborhoods somehow are not bearing their fair share of the region's growth. 

From 2004 to 2024, Seattle must add 47,000 housing units to its stock - a number set by the Puget Sound Regional Council (PSRC) and based on what the planners and regional leaders say should be our share of anticipated regional growth. That's about one-third of all of King County's growth expected over this period.

View the city's most recent growth report here and see how your neighborhood is doing.

07/10/2009

There may be an economic downturn generally, but recently released city data contradicts the common assumption that Seattle's housing market has taken a hit. 

Since Jan of 2008, more than 6,500 housing units have been added to Seattle's housing stock with 2,800 of that total finished in the first three months of 2009. In fact, the rate of new housing development actually is up slightly from previous years.

What's even more interesting, the new numbers also directly conflict with the commonly held belief that Seattle and our neighborhoods somehow ar