Q: “What about the need to support the city’s increasing homeless and affordable housing challenges? Isn’t this just your basic ‘NIMBY’ response?”
A: DPCA fully supports the City’s efforts to reduce homelessness and create affordable housing for our citizens. Many of our council members provide time and money to assist with the effort to reduce homeless-ness, to establish substantive housing options, and to eliminate the causes of homeless-ness. However, DPCA does not support ANY housing developments, market price or low-income/homeless, on the Fort Lawton Army Reserve property. The promises of tomorrow that are clearly spelled out in both the park’s Master Plan and in the City’s own Comprehensive Plan and Growth Strategy Policies call for most housing expansion and social services to be located in the multitude of Urban Villages, Hubs, and other designated growth areas.
Ease and access are two of the most important factors for the long-term success of socioeconomic transition. Even disregarding the environmental impact 235 units of housing would have on the park, there are many important attributes missing from this remote part of Seattle that do not allow it to provide the proper support to the low-income and homeless community. This includes the lack of adequate and reliable public transportation in or out of the area; proximity to affordable shopping establishments, support and healthcare services, affordable childcare options; and a strong local job market. The city is reviewing multiple sites for housing, many of which are much more suitable options for the needs of the groups they are trying to service. We owe it to these communities and our existing neighborhoods to consider locations wisely and develop the location(s) that can best sustain long-term success. Not just select a location because it is available and/or “free”.
Q: “Magnolia needs to do its part in helping solve the housing crisis. Why should this neighborhood be exempt?”
A: Magnolia is currently home to multiple supportive housing projects as well as proposed future housing developments, including:
There other areas up for review that would be reinvigorated with new development and closer to transportation, jobs and service options; North Bay / Pier 91 / Smith Cove for example.
Q: “What about the school option? With the rapid increase in population Seattle is in desperate need of more public schools.”
A: DPCA has not fully researched the benefits or challenges of this option, but we have spoken with Seattle Public Schools (SPS) and they were very clear that IF the City and SPS should accept a school as an option it will be in addition to the low-income/homeless housing development, not in replacement of. And, the number of housing units proposed would not change or decrease. To make room for a school, a portion of the proposed green space or Parks and Rec maintenance area would be removed. We are opposed to any housing development on this site, and if the school option includes the current housing plan (creating an even larger footprint) we don’t believe this is the optimal site for a school.
Q: “There are already over 500 acres of natural park. Why do we need any more?”
A: The existing park is spectacular, and we are very fortunate to be able to experience this amount of natural space just five miles from the city center. We feel Fort Lawton is a natural extension of the existing park, and developing it into hundreds of housing units is endangering that environment, the urban park experience, and the goals of the original master plan for the park. We are advocating to utilize this connected space to expand on the features of the park and preserve as much of the existing structures and natural environment as we can. Protecting the future of this urban habitat by managing and monitoring the use is of the utmost importance.
Q: “It says the homeless housing will be for seniors and veterans. Can they pick and choose who is allowed shelter?”
A: Legally Housing cannot segregate based on those criteria. Though, in a conversation with a member of Seattle Housing Authority they did say they would attempt to “target” seniors and veterans when possible. They did not expand on how this targeting would be executed. DPCA is unclear as to the age requirement to be considered a senior.
Q: “Is drug screening done prior to housing allocation for homeless? What are the requirements?”
A: No, drug screening is neither required nor instituted when making placements. There is no foreseeable change for this policy in the future or for the Fort Lawton site.
Q: “What about Habitat for Humanity, do they have homeowner requirements?”
A: Yes, each future homeowner is required to put in a specific number of sweat equity hours before being provided with a home. They are also required to follow the HH homeowner’s association rules and regulations once they are living in their unit.