The first issue I will be presenting information on is microhousing, a new form of Seattle housing that has taken off like a wildfire in the last year. Think small….very small. The largest numbers of these closets for urban “living” have sprouted on Capitol Hill and in the University District. I will be using this blog to discuss various aspects of the City of Seattle Department of Planning and Development’s permitting of these new developments, and to explore the confusions, contradictions, misrepresentations and mischaracterizations that have swirled around these developments. Having researched microhousing for almost 3 months, I hope to provide information which has been missing from a debate that has generated more heat than light.
In February 2013, the Department of Planning and Development said that 7 microhousing projects had been built and occupied, and that 32 were in the pipeline. Over the five-year period from 2007 to 2011, 12 microhousing project permits were granted. In a single year, 2012, the number of permitted projects jumped to 19. As of April 2013, I have 45 projects on my list of microhousing projects. Of these 17 projects, or approximately 37% are on Capitol Hill or just a few blocks south of East Madison Street. For comparison, there are 12 in the University District, 3 in Eastlake, 3 in West Seattle, and 5 in the Central District. They are beginning to fan out through the North Central neighborhoods as well.
Armed with this information, you should attend the upcoming public meeting to be held by City Council on April 18, 2013. You can find more information on that meeting here: http://www.seattle.gov/council/calendar/#/?i=2 The fact that this meeting is being held at all is a demonstration of the potential of committed and informed engagement with our elected officials. City Council was not originally inclined to have such a discussion.
The posts that follow will focus on and provide detailed information on select aspects of the microhousing phenomenon.