Advocacy Update – March 2019

This month in federal, state, and local advocacy: Representatives from AIA Seattle attend AIA Grassroots conference in Washington, D.C.; updates from the capitol and Shift Zero; MHA passes, and more. PLUS opportunities to get engaged, and upcoming advocacy-focused meetings and events.


AIA Grassroots

An AIA Seattle contingent attended AIA’s Grassroots conference in Washington, D.C. this month and participated in Hill Day, where AIA members from across the nation head to Capitol Hill to meet with their legislators. AIA Seattle Board members Alissa Rupp FAIA and Margaret Knight AIA attended along with staff members Lisa Richmond and Kirsten Smith. AIA Washington Council Executive Director Jeffrey Hamlett rounded out the delegation. The group met with Senator Maria Cantwell, Seattle Rep. Pramila Jayapal, Everett Rep. Rick Larsen, and the office of Seattle Rep. Adam Smith to discuss issues related to addressing school safety through design and energy efficiency tax credits for existing buildings. The group also asked Rep. Jayapal to present to AIA Seattle on the Green New Deal, for which she was an original sponsor.


State Legislative Session

March 13 was the “house of origin” cutoff in Olympia, which means that all bills except those deemed “necessary to implement the budget” had to be voted out of their original chamber to stay alive for this year. AIA|WA’s bill to amend the Architect Practice Act was approved unanimously by the House and has moved to the Senate. Condo liability reform bills continue to move, as do a number of climate and housing proposals. Happily, a bill that would have required all state contracts to be evaluated to bring the work in-house to be completed by state agency employees did not survive the cutoff. For more information, please read AIA|WA’s most recent legislative update here.

Shift Zero Update

AIA works with Shift Zero to advance policies that reduce carbon emissions from buildings. Shift Zero has been working to advance some of the same bills as AIA|WA: Clean Buildings; Property Assessed Clean Energy and Resilience Financing (PACER) for commercial buildings; and the Healthy Environment for All (HEAL) Act. Read Shift Zero’s Olympia Update here. Shift Zero continues its work on the 20 by 2020 Building Challenge; creating a roadmap to reaching zero net energy code; and a zero net carbon policy toolkit to provide tools for local governments to meet their carbon reduction goals.


MHA Passes

After a years-long process, the Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA) legislation was passed by the Seattle City Council this week and signed by Mayor Durkan. AIA Seattle engaged in this process from the beginning, with countless members attending meetings, offering comments, meeting with councilmembers, and attending public hearings to testify in person. Now the city—and AIA along with it—will pivot to other issues related to housing affordability and ways to address missing middle housing. These will include work around Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) and efforts to allow for gentle density in single family zones (think duplexes and triplexes). If you would like to offer comments on where AIA Seattle should go from here, please share them with Kirsten Smith. If you would like to be involved in these discussions, consider joining our Housing Task Force (contact Kirsten Smith to join or for more information).

Electronic Vehicle Readiness

Updated legislation on Electronic Vehicle (EV) Readiness has been introduced to Seattle’s City Council. The proposal would add requirements for new off-street parking in new buildings to include electric vehicle charging infrastructure. The Council’s Sustainability & Transportation Committee will hold a public hearing on the proposal on Tuesday, April 16. Comments can be made in person or via writing. Further information, including a summary of the proposal, is available here. If you would like to provide comments to AIA Seattle for consideration in its comments, please contact Kirsten Smith.

Public Policy Board Update

In March, the Public Policy Board (PPB) met with AIA Housing Task Force co-chair Matt Hutchins to review accomplishments, identify needs, and hear about the Task Force’s goals for the year ahead. The PPB will also have a conversation with 2019 AIA Whitney M. Young Jr. Award winner Karen Braitmayer on an effort by Cities for All to gather signatories to The Global Compact on Inclusive and Accessible Cities.

Join us! The PPB and Urban Design Forum are hosting a Policy Pub Night on Wednesday, March 27. More info under Events below.


Young Professionals: Get Engaged

The YMCA’s Get Engaged program places young adults ages 18-29 on City of Seattle public boards and commissions. Get Engaged commissioners serve a one-year term starting in September each year. The application for the 2019-20 cohort is due May 20.

Seattle Urban Forestry Commission

The City of Seattle is looking for a representative of the development community—including developers, builders, architects or realtors, with experience in projects developed under LEED—or a representative from a non-city utility to fill Position #8 on the city’s Urban Forestry Commission (development community or utility representative). Applications are due March 29.


AIA Seattle Task Force Meetings

AIA Seattle members are invited to attend these policy-focused meetings, which occur monthly:

Transportation Task Force Monthly Meeting. April 9, 5:30pm – 6:30pm @ the Center. The city of Seattle will present on Imagine Greater Downtown, an effort to create a larger design vision for streets and public spaces throughout greater downtown.

Housing Task Force Monthly Meeting. April 11, 12pm – 1:15pm @ the Center.


Lid I-5 Feasibility Study Committee Meeting (open to the public), March 26, 3pm – 5pm @ Seattle City Hall, Bertha Knight Landes Room. More info is available on the city’s project website.

Public Policy Board + Urban Design Forum Policy Pub Night, March 27, 5pm -8pm @ Fadó Irish Pub. Come meet the Public Policy Board and discuss how AIA Seattle can impact policy discussions related to housing, climate, transportation, and more.

Office of the Waterfront open house and walking tour on pedestrian improvements to key east-west streets in Pioneer Square. Walking tour 4:30pm, open house 5:30ppm – 7:30pm.

Shift Zero Spring Meeting, May 7, 8:30am -3:30pm @ Smart Buildings Center, Seattle.

HDC Affordable Housing Week, May 13-17.

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

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