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Is Seattle doing away with single-family homes?

The city needs to move away from the idea that all families can live in their own home on a piece of land, according to a draft letter from a Seattle advisory committee. (Photo: KIRO Radio's Ron Upshaw)

If adopted, ideas being considered by a Seattle housing committee would be devastating to the city’s appeal, KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson said.

Get rid of single-family zoning in Seattle. That’s the big message in a draft report being worked on by Mayor Ed Murray’s housing committee, obtained by The Seattle Times.

According to a draft letter, the city needs to move away from the idea that all families can live in their own home on a piece of land, the Times reports.

“Today, as Seattle expands rapidly and experiences massive economic and population growth, we are held back by policies and historical precedents that are no longer viable for the long-term survival or our city,” the draft letter from committee co-chairs Faith Pettis and David Werthheimer states.

The draft letter says that single-family zoning has “roots in racial and class exclusion. The zoning remains “among the largest obstacles to realizing the city’s goals for equity and affordability,” the Times reports.

“So owning your own home, on your own lot, is a blow against equity, according to this draft report,” Dori said.

Some of the challenges the city faces includes almost two-thirds of the urban land being restricted to single-family homes, the letter continues. The letter considers increasing density almost everywhere in the city, the Times reports.

Related: Guess what Seattle? ‘Rich people want to live with rich people’

With a 19-3 vote, the committee recommends replacing single-family zoning with zoning that would allow for more multi-unit buildings, according to the Times.

That means developers are going to buy up homes and turn them into duplexes and apartments, if the draft is approved, Dori said.

The draft is a working copy, which was seen by the committee last week, the Times reports. Pettis told the Times that parts of it were revised.

The draft recommendation is an example of the problem with the city, Dori said.

“This city is becoming unrecognizable,” Dori continued. “This is a blow against tradition.”

Dori Monson on KIRO Radio 97.3 FM

  • Tune in to KIRO Radio weekdays at 12 noon for The Dori Monson Show.

About the Author

Kipp Robertson

Kipp joined the MyNorthwest.com team in February 2015. He's worked as a reporter in the greater Seattle area since graduating from Western Washington University in 2010.

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