Seattle mayor rolls out ‘grand’ affordable housing plan

Sep 1, 2015, 12:03 PM | Updated: 1:19 pm
Seattle’s mayor introduced legislation to create 6,000 units of affordable housing throughout...
Seattle's mayor introduced legislation to create 6,000 units of affordable housing throughout the city over the next 10 years. (MyNorthwest file)
(MyNorthwest file)

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, along with City Council member Mike O’Brien, rolled out what some are hailing as the “Grand Bargain” between affordable housing advocates and real estate developers.

The Mayor introduced legislation to create 6,000 units of affordable housing throughout the city over the next 10 years.

The first component of the “Grand Bargain” include the establishment of an Affordable Housing Impact Mitigation Program (AHIMP) &#8212 also known as a commercial linkage fee. It requires that developers pay a fee on every square foot of new commercial development. The funds raised will pay for the construction of new affordable housing. The linkage fee will range from $5 to $17 per square foot.

Related: Seattle’s tech workers get rental discounts after driving rates up

The second component calls for Mandatory Inclusionary Housing (MIH) for new multifamily developments. It requires 5 to 8 percent of units be affordable for residents earning up to 60 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI) for 50 years. This year, 60 percent of AMI is $37,680 for an individual and $53,760 for a family of four. Rather than include units on-site, developers can opt to pay a fee to construct new affordable housing offsite.

The second part of the “Grand Bargain” calls for Mandatory Inclusionary Housing (MIH) for new multifamily developments, requiring 5 to 8 percent of units be affordable for residents earning up to 60 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI) for 50 years. In 2015, 60 percent of AMI is $37,680 for an individual and $53,760 for a family of four. As an alternative to on-site units, developers can pay a fee to construct new affordable housing offsite.

“With this legislation, Seattle &#8212 for the first time ever &#8212 will require that all new development in the city will pay for affordable housing,” Murray said. “This is a bold, progressive proposal where growth itself will support affordable and environmentally sustainable neighborhoods. I am eager to work with the Council as we engage the public on this proposal as it moves through the legislative process.”

O’Brien, chair of the Select Committee on Housing Affordability, said that he hears all the time that people in Seattle are struggling to keep up with rising rents.

“I will be working with my colleagues on the City Council to act as swiftly as possible on the legislation behind the Grand Bargain,” O’Brien said.

In exchange for the two components, the city will investigate increasing development capacity. New developments in downtown and South Lake Union will be allowed an extra 1,000 square feet per floor. New buildings outside the downtown core will be allowed approximately one additional story in height.

Under the “Grand Bargain,” rents for new affordable housing units would be set at $1,008 or lower. The number is based on the affordable rate (30 percent of a household’s monthly income) for a one bedroom unit for an individual earning 60 percent AMI.

The city estimates more than 45,000 households spend more than half their incomes on housing.

Related: Very few taking advantage of Seattle car tab rebate

“Seattle is where I work, but I can’t afford to raise my family here,” Brittany Johnson, a homecare worker, told the Seattle Mayor’s Office. “This plan would allow me to have a home in Seattle for what I’m already paying in Renton &#8212 giving me back the hours I lose on the bus to have with my toddler. That would be a dream come true.”

The City Council’s Select Committee on Housing Affordability will now review the mayor’s “Grand Bargain.”

Local News

Gas-powered yard tools...
KIRO Newsradio Newsdesk

State lawmaker proposes bill to offer people money in exchange for gas-powered yard tools

A state lawmaker from Seattle is pushing to offer financial incentives to state residents if they give up their gas-powered yard tools.
20 hours ago
Potholes...
MyNorthwest Staff

Nearly 600 potholes reported to SDOT last week in wake of frigid weather

Frigid temperatures have had the Seattle Department of Transportation working to fill hundreds of potholes across the city in January. 
20 hours ago
asian giant hornets, british columbia...
Nicole Jennings

State makes discovery about Asian giant hornets eradicated in 2021

The Washington State Department of Agriculture made a promising discovery about the origin of the Asian giant hornets eradicated in 2021.
2 days ago
Skagit County testing site...
MyNorthwest Staff

Skagit County COVID test site to temporarily shut down over staff shortage

A COVID-19 testing site at the Skagit County Fairgrounds will be shutting down until early next week over ongoing staffing shortages. 
2 days ago
Mink, fur farming...
Nicole Jennings

Legislature considers bill to ban fur farms, production, sale in Washington

A bill in the state House of Representatives would outlaw the farming of foxes, minks, and other animals for fur in Washington.
3 days ago
Joe Kennedy, Bremerton football coach...
MyNorthwest Staff

Supreme Court to hear case of Bremerton coach in lawsuit over praying at games

The Supreme Court will hear the case of a Bremerton coach who made headlines for refusing the school's request to cease prayer on the sidelines.
3 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Compassion International Is Determined to ‘Fill’ a Unique Type of Football ‘Stadium’

Compassion International SPONSORED — During this fall’s football season—and as the pandemic continues to impact the entire globe—one organization has been urging caring individuals to help it “fill” a unique type of “stadium” in order to make a lasting difference in the lives of many. Compassion International’s distinctive Fill the Stadium (FtS, fillthestadium.com) initiative provides […]
...

What are the Strongest, Greenest, Best Windows?

Lake Washington Windows & Doors SPONSORED — Fiberglass windows are an excellent choice for window replacement due to their fundamental strength and durability. There is no other type of window that lasts as long as fiberglass; so why go with anything else? Fiberglass windows are 8x stronger than vinyl, lower maintenance than wood, more thermally […]
...

COVID Vaccine is a Game-Changer for Keeping our Kids Healthy

Snohomish Health District SPONSORED — Cheers to the parents and guardians who keep their kids safe and healthy. The dad who cooks a meal with something green in it, even though he’s tired and drive-thru burgers were tempting. The mom who calms down the little one who loudly and resolutely does NOT want to brush […]
...
Experience Anacortes

Coastal Christmas Celebration Week in Anacortes

With minimal travel time required and every activity under the sun, Anacortes is the perfect vacation spot for all ages.
...

Delayed-Onset PTSD: Signs and Symptoms

Lakeside-Milam Recovery Centers SPONSORED — You’re probably familiar with post-traumatic stress disorder. Often abbreviated as PTSD, this condition is diagnosed when a person experiences a set of symptoms for at least a month after a traumatic event. However, for some people, these issues take longer to develop. This results in a diagnosis of delayed-onset PTSD […]
...

Medicare open enrollment ends Dec. 7. Free unbiased help is here!

Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner SPONSORED — Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period, also called the Annual Election Period, is Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. During this time, people enrolled in Medicare can: Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan and vice versa. Join, drop or switch a Part D prescription drug plan, […]
Seattle mayor rolls out ‘grand’ affordable housing plan