Put First Things First for a Livable U District

U district

Suspend Seattle’s Up-zoning Plans for the U District: Let’s tackle Urgent Livability and Affordability Concerns first!

Livable U District

Livable U District is an ad hoc coalition of Seattle’s University District renters, homeowners, small businesses, organizations and their supporters committed to preserving both the livability and affordability of this community.

Livable U District Position Statement 

First Tackle Urgent Livability and Affordability Concerns

The City must put first things first for a livable U District and tackle urgent problems here now - matters already identified and prioritized over years of community planning processes involving hundreds who work and live in our community. 

Impacts of Development

Our first concern is to identify and promote steps that must be taken now by the city to alleviate the impacts of development already occurring in the University District under the existing zoning code. 

We Need Real Action to Solve Problems and Challenges Here and Now

Right now, we are facing enormous challenges that threaten both the affordability and livability of the University District - unmanageable traffic congestion, a lack of parking, lack of open space, loss of tree canopy, loss of existing affordable housing and historic buildings, public safety issues and a growing homeless population lacking services and shelter. Rezoning first will increase problems; layering greater density over existing problems only makes them greater and harder to solve.

The U District already has been up-zoned to accommodate light rail. That was the explicit purpose of the 2005 UCUCA Plan. Before increasing heights again three and four fold, let’s see if light rail can address existing near intolerable levels of congestion caused by these past zoning changes. Let’s first see if we can find solutions to the problems we’re already facing before we precipitate more and deepen the ones we have.  

We call on the Mayor and the Seattle City Council to immediately suspend current on-going plans to up-zone the University District until the following measures are adopted:

1. Develop and adopt legislation that requires developers to pay impact fees to ensure that developers pay their fair share of the costs of growth on our transportation network, utilities, parks and public schools;

2. Develop and adopt a comprehensive traffic and parking mitigation plan drawing from the expertise of residents to mitigate enormous levels of congestion already affecting the University District

3. Develop an effective anti-displacement strategy for the U District which includes adoption of legislation that helps preserve it’s small business character, that requires developers to replace 1 for 1 at comparable price any existing low cost housing they remove and includes a right of first notice law requiring owners who put their low income apartments up for sale to first consider offers from nonprofits interested in preserving them

4. Develop and adopt a comprehensive plan to increase, improve and maintain parks and open space in the neighborhood accompanied by a real commitment of city funds to make this plan a reality

5. Develop and adopt a comprehensive historic preservation plan with real teeth needed to preserve dozens of identified historic structures now at risk of being lost to redevelopment

6. Adopt strong regulations protecting our declining older growth tree canopy in our community and city-wide.

7. Provide effective social services to address the ever-growing homeless population in the University District.

U District Growth for 2024 Already at 135.5%* of the Target

Many, if not all of these problems, are directly traceable to the rapid growth occurring under the existing zoning code. The district’s infrastructure can’t handle the current significant increases to density. The University District already has reached record levels of growth under the current code. Since 2005, we’ve reached 135.5 percent* of our 2024 twenty-year growth target. And there is existing capacity under the current land use code to accommodate twice the residential growth we need to accommodate through 2035.

*Revised 11/13/16 (Urban Center/Village Growth Report 3Q_Oct2016; Urban Center/Village Residential Growth Report 10_15)

Suspend Up-zones         

Until these problems are adequately addressed, we call on the City of Seattle to set aside any further consideration of high-rise up-zone plans. Such dramatic changes in land use for the University District will greatly increase growth and escalate existing problems and make it more difficult to solve them.

First Things First for a Livable U District

Livable U District formed to respond to the City of Seattle’s plans to dramatically up-zone the neighborhood for high-rise offices and denser multifamily, mixed-use and commercial development that will fundamentally alter the U District’s unique character and escalate the problems we already have.

Let’s work together to adopt and develop the measures listed above aimed at preserving and improving both the livability and affordability of the University District, and that truly reflect the needs and wishes of existing residents and small businesses.

We call on the City of Seattle to put first things first by fixing what’s wrong now, before creating worsened problems with greater density and higher zoning.

The Livable U District Coalition of Groups and individuals endorsing and committed to these goals.

For a printable version click here

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Livable U District is no longer gathering endorsements for our Position Statement. However, we encourage you to stay active and alert.

We encourage you to support other neighborhoods being upzoned across Seattle. Join Livable U District's associate organization Seattle Fair Growth to be kept in the loop.

Seattle Fair Growth is a member of Seattle Coalition for Affordability, Livability and Equity, a coalition of groups appealing the Citywide MHA Final EIS so that the State Environmental Impact Study Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) analysis is an honest assessment of the alternatives, impacts and possible mitigation for displacement and loss of existing affordable housing, transportation, tree canopy and school capacity, etc.

The U District Upzone is now a reality - zoned for 240' and 360' towers with hundreds of U District residents to be displaced. Coming soon as part of the Mandatory Housing Affordability upzoning changes to residential zones allowing greater density, lot coverage and height.

LUD helped save 130 affordable units north of NE 50th and increase the affordable unit requirement to 9% (we asked for at least 10% - many cities have double that). Now, we hope you'll take part in the MHA Open Houses and Public Hearings through June 2018.

MHA – EIS Appeal - Frequently Asked Questions

Citywide Mandatory Housing Affordability Events

First up, District 4 Urban Villages:  Eastlake, Fremont, Greenlake, Roosevelt, U-District and Wallingford

District 4 Public Hearing on MHA
Monday, February 12, 2018  - 6PM
Eckstein Middle School

3003 NE 75th St, Seattle, WA 98115

To testify, sign-up sheets will be available starting at 5:30 PM.

Please make use of these Talking Points​​

Notice of District 4 PUBLIC HEARING

Mandatory Housing Affordability Environmental Impact Statement resources:

Maps of Specific Rezone Areas

Map of Areas Excluded from Rezone

Ordinance - Mandatory Housing Affordability

Fiscal Note - Mandatory Housing Affordability


Preferred Alternative Zoning Changes (November 2017)

Presentation / Overview of Mandatory Housing Affordability

District 5 & 6 Urban Villages: Aurora-Licton Springs, Ballard, Bitter Lake, Crown Hill, Fremont, Greewood-Phinney Ridge, Lake City, Northgate

District 5 + 6 Open House
Wednesday, February 28, 2018 
Whitman Middle School Gym 9201 15th Ave NW Seattle, WA 98117

Districts 5 & 6 Public Hearing
Monday, March 12, 2018, 6pm
Northgate Community Center (Gym) 
10510 5th Ave NE, Seattle, WA 98125

District 3 & 7 Urban Villages: 23rd and Union-Jackson, First Hill-Capitol Hill, Madison-Miller, North Rainier-Mt. Baker, Upper Queen Anne

District 3 + 7 Open House
Thursday, March 29, 2018
Washington Hall 153 14th Avenue Seattle, Washington 98122

Districts 3 + 7 Public Hearing

Monday, April 16, 2018, 6pm
Seattle Central College (Broadway Performance Hall) 
1625 Broadway, Seattle, WA 98122


District 2 Urban Villages: Columbia City, North Beacon Hill, North Rainier-Mt.Baker, Othello Rainier Beach

District 2 Open House
Saturday, April 28, 2018
New Holly Gathering Hall 7054 32nd Ave South, Seattle WA 98118

District 2 Public Hearing
Monday, May 7, 2018, 6pm
Franklin High School (Auditorium) 
3013 S Mt Baker Blvd, Seattle, WA 98144

District 1 Urban Villages: Admiral, Morgan Junction, South Park, West Seattle Junction, Westwood-Highland Park

District 1 Open House
Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Louisa Boren K-8 5950 Delridge Way SW Seattle, WA 98106

District 1 Public Hearing
Tuesday, June 5, 2018, 6pm
Chief Sealth International High School (Auditorium) 
2600 SW Thistle St, Seattle, WA 98126


Citywide Public Hearing
Monday, June 25, 2018 , 5:30pm
Seattle City Hall, Council Chambers 
600 4th Ave, Seattle, WA 98104

U District Upzone Archive:

UDistrict upzone a lesson for other neighborhoods: Activists in Wallingford and Central Area know what to do

Councilmember Johnson adds a residential upzone L3 to MR (M1) to upzoning the U District’s “Core”

Proposed MR (M1) UDistrict upzone Brooklyn - 11th:  Map - Proposed Rezone _Brooklyn to 11th_ from LR3 to MR (M1). Pictures - 1199 NE 52nd toward 12th NE Proposed MR upzone ; 5037 11th NE toward 52nd_Proposed MR upzone ; 5130 Brooklyn NE_ Proposed MR upzone ; Aerial view Brooklyn NE_NE 11th Proposed MR upzone;


Articles, Studies and More:

Comment Letters:

LUD Comments to PLUZ on CB118862 -U District Upzone January 19, 2017.pdf

LUD proposed Amendments for CB118862 UD upzone, January 6, 2017

Livable U District Comments to PLUZ Nov. 29, 2016

UDCC UW Campus Master Plan & EIS

EIS Scoping Comments for MHA

Small Business Owners in the University District Concerns and Comments on the Proposed City of Seattle Zoning Changes 

Livable U District comment to PLUZ committee Sept. 9, 2016 on U District Planning Process, Community Engagement

Livable U District Herbold Amendments MHA-R

Livable U District comment Grand Bargain Framework - Council not bound 

Livable U District HALA Framework 

Livable U District comment Seattle 2035

Livable U District Comments to OCPD re: U District Upzone Proposal

UDCC Comments U District Upzone Proposal

CUCAC Rezone Proposal Comment

U Park CC U District Upzone Comments

Supporting Letters: 

Contact Information:

Livable U District, c/o Seattle Displacement Coalition
5031 University Way NE
Seattle, WA 98105
(206) 632-0668.

Note on Email:We promise to keep your email confidential. You will be kept posted with periodic updates and alerts on future hearings/meetings affecting our neighborhood's future. Occasionally, we'll also send you announcements/alerts to join us at our meetings or actions we'll be taking aimed at pressing elected officials to implement measures outlined in our petition.