Afternoon Jolt

Thursday Jolt: Capitol Hill vs. Tiny Apartments, Obama for Gay Marriage

By Afternoon Jolt October 25, 2012


Today's loser: Micro-housing. 

The Capitol Hill Community Council will vote at its meeting tonight on a resolution asking the city council to declare a moratorium on so-called micro-housing, or "aPODments"—tiny apartments, without kitchens, surrounding a central living and kitchen area. The micro-units are being embraced in other cities as a solution to insufficient affordable housing; in Seattle, however, NIMBYs from Eastlake to the University District have opposed them for supposedly bringing in too much density and (as usual) "ruining the character" of single-family neighborhoods.

Another factor that can't be lost on micro-housing's property-owning opponents: The apartments, which average around 200 square feet, primarily house low-income workers, college students, and other people who want to save on rent. 

The resolution argues that Capitol Hill has already accepted enough new residents; that the style of the new buildings "clearly violates the existing neighborhood context"; and that the buildings, which typically include about five units, "are being constructed with undefined environmental impacts."

The so-called aPODments don't require the kind of formal design review that's required for "congregate housing," in which more than eight unrelated people live together under a single roof. 

"The pace and nature of development of apodments in the Capitol Hill Neighborhood, as well as other neighborhoods around the City, deeply concerns the neighborhood," the resolution says. 

Today's winner: Marriage equality. 

President Barack Obama endorsed R-74, the marriage equality ballot measure, today, giving the proposal additional gravitas going in to the November 6 election. 

In a statement, Obama's Washington State press secretary Paul Bell said, "While the president does not weigh in on every single ballot measure in every state, the president believes in treating everyone fairly and equally, with dignity and respect.  Washington’s same-sex marriage law would treat all Washington couples equally, and that is why the President supports a vote to approve Referendum 74."

In a statement, state Sen. Ed Murray (D-43), who sponsored the gay marriage bill and worked for years to pass it through the legislature, said, "Seventeen years ago, when I first began fighting in the legislature for marriage equality for gay and lesbian families in Washington State, I would never have dared to dream that a President of the United States would one day step forward at this crucial moment, in the middle of his own close reelection campaign, to offer his support for our efforts. But that is exactly what President Obama has done, and it is an example of his courage and leadership." 


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