Advocacy Update – February 2018

With the 2018 Legislative Session in full swing, it continues to be a busy time in advocacy for the built environment. Read on to learn more about the bills AIA Washington Council is following most closely, as well as updates on Shift Zero, Seattle's search for a new Seattle City Light CEO, and ways to get involved locally.


Legislative Session

The Legislative Session in Olympia is running in high gear as legislators jockey to get their bills enacted by the March 8 scheduled close of session. Except for those with significant financial impact, bills had to have passed out of their house of origin by February 15 to remain alive. AIA Washington Council continues to track the following bills it supports (and several it opposes): the governor’s carbon tax legislation, a bill to increase funding for the State Building Code Council, bills to increase funding for affordable housing, and a bill to increase state funding for school construction. Read more about this year’s legislative session on AIA Washington Council’s website.

Shift Zero: Zero Net Carbon Buildings

In 2017, AIA Seattle was a founding member of a coalition recently renamed Shift Zero, an alliance to support zero net carbon buildings. The group is working to research and advocate for policies that will reduce carbon emissions from buildings in Washington. To date, Shift Zero has focused on: 2020 Building Challenge pilot projects; a zero carbon policy toolkit for use by cities and counties; a roadmap outlining the steps needed to reach a zero net energy building code; low carbon affordable housing tax credit programs; point of sale residential energy performance disclosures and upgrades; and property-assessed clean energy financing. Shift Zero is also weighing in on related legislative proposals being considered during this year’s legislative session in Olympia.


AIA Seattle weighs in on a new CEO for Seattle City Light

Seattle is undergoing a search for a new CEO of Seattle City Light (SCL); AIA Seattle asked members of Mayor Jenny Durkan’s search committee to consider qualities that can improve the agency’s partnerships with architects and promote the city’s goals more broadly. These include:

  • Leadership and the ability to work across silos: a leader who will encourage and produce better coordination across city departments, especially with the Department of Construction and Inspections, to make sure SCL truly understands its impact to project schedules.
  • Willingness to engage in long term visioning: a leader who can establish long-term goals for the city and then push to make that vision a reality. Importantly, this includes talking with public and private sector partners to find ways to achieve mutual goals.
  • A focus on carbon reduction: SCL calls itself the “Nation’s Greenest Utility” – the new candidate’s mission and experience should be aligned with that branding and the utility’s stated goals for carbon neutrality.
  • Strong communication skills and a willingness to engage in outreach to partners: a leader who encourages outreach to the private sector to make sure programs and incentives are communicated effectively, are fully utilized and are being adjusted as necessary.


Seattle’s Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA) Policy: Opportunity to Comment

The City of Seattle is hosting the following MHA-related events to provide information and solicit feedback. (Only events in February and March are listed. For future events, or more info on the ones listed below, check the city’s Event Calendar.)

MHA Open Houses by City Council District. Learn about MHA and how it will be implemented in your council district and offer comments.

District 5 & 6 – February 28, 6:00-8:00pm at Whitman Middle School Gym (Crown Hill)

District 3 & 7 – March 29, 6:00-8:00pm at Washington Hall (Central District)

City Council Public Hearings on MHA. Offer comments directly to councilmembers on MHA in general and specifically in your council district.

Districts 5 & 6 – March 12, Northgate Community Center Gym

MHA Lunch & Learn Events at City Hall. Learn the basics about Seattle’s MHA program.

March 16, 12:00-1:00pm, Bertha Knight Landis Room at City Hall, 600 4th Ave

The city needs to hear from architects about issues, like MHA, that impact the future design of our city. Please consider offering your comments in person or by email. If you need help planning your testimony, contact Kirsten Smith.


In the Public Interest: Redefining the Architect’s Role and Responsibility. AIA Seattle Emerging Professionals Travel Scholarship Exhibit. Opening Reception, March 1, 5:00-8:00pm; Exhibit runs thru May 26, 2018.

Save the Date: PPB Policy Pub Night. We’d like your input! Join us for the PPB’s first ever Policy Pub Night, an open discussion (no presentations!) on density in Seattle and how AIA Seattle can best impact Seattle’s affordability and livability policies. Wednesday, March 21, 5:30-8:00pm, at The Alibi Room in Pike Place Market.

For more information on these or any other topics, or to join a task force, please contact:

Kirsten Smith
Manager of Advocacy
AIA Washington Council & AIA Seattle
206-448-4938 x401 |

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