Ms. Cynthia Parker, April 24, 2001
Director, Office of Housing,
618 - Second Avenue, 8th floor
Seattle, WA 98104
Dear Ms. Parker,
I write as chair of the Miller Park Neighborhood Association to request that your office make efforts to have the Madison-Miller Urban Village (a subarea of the Central Area plan) declared a target area for the Property Tax Exemption Program for Multifamily Housing. Pierre Rowen of your Office described the program to us at our April meeting: the idea met with universal approval!
As I understand it, the program is designed both to stimulate development and to facilitate affordable housing. Our neighborhood is already experiencing much growth in the L3 area north of Madison (many condominium and townhouse developments) and is starting to see redevelopment of the NC area on Madison Street, between 18th and 25th. Most of the developments have been (high) market rate properties, robbing our area of some of its cherished diversity. We would therefore like to employ the program to enable us to retain housing that is affordable to many of those who work in our community.
Our neighborhood is already well served for those in the 0 - 50% median income range, thanks to the wonderful efforts of the Capitol Hill Housing Improvement Program (CHHIP). It would appear that a program targeted at supplying housing affordable to those earning 60% to 80% of median income would be attractive to renters and that requiring only 10 - 20% of the units to be affordable might make it attractive to developers. I freely admit no expertise in this matter, but happily volunteer to work with the Office of Housing and interested developers to arrive at a program that will offer benefits to all. Several developments are in the early to mid-planning stage, so I request that you move as rapidly as possible, to make the program available to them while they are still able to accommodate it.
Many of the developments in our area have been condominiums, which are not presently covered by the Property Tax Exemption Program. To maximize the possibilities for the generation of affordable housing, I urge you to work with the State to correct this oversight as soon as possible.
Thank you for all your hard work in providing housing for our City. I look forward to working further with you and you staff to maintain the diversity of our neighborhood.
PS: Both developers and your staff seem puzzled by the program's requirement to apply to your office before applying for a Master Use Permit. Please examine this requirement and modify it, if possible, to allow use of this excellent program in our rapidly-developing neighborhood.