LOCAL NEWS

Seattle council votes to approve upzoning for 27 Seattle neighborhoods

Mar 18, 2019, 1:42 PM | Updated: 5:20 pm
Seattle City Council upzoning...
(Seattle Channel)
(Seattle Channel)

The culmination of months of work discussing, amending, and fine-tuning a citywide upzoning bill came to a head Monday, as Seattle City Council finally voted to approve the measure.

RELATED: Council delivers key decision on MHA ahead of full vote
RELATED: Heated debate at final hearing for Seattle’s upzoning measure

The upzoning measure — known officially as Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA) — enacts requirements for building affordable housing and taller residence buildings in select neighborhoods throughout Seattle. The goal: To provide at least 6,000 new rent and income-restricted homes for low-income residents.

“Requiring more affordable housing in our most vibrant neighborhoods is long overdue. Today’s passage of MHA now means we can manage growth in a way that will promote a more racially and economically diverse Seattle rather than a city that is increasingly limited to those who can afford housing choice,” said Councilmember Lorena González.

Before Monday, MHA was already enacted in the University District, South Lake Union, downtown, Lower Queen Anne, the International District, and the Central Area.

“Today we’re embracing inclusion by updating plans that were drafted 25 years ago, and we’re acknowledging what we’ve learned in those 25 years,” said Councilmember Rob Johnson. “Effectively planning for growth means sharing space, to make room for everyone who wants to find their place in Seattle.”

It also levies substantial fines on developers who don’t dedicate between 5 and 11 percent of projects to low-income housing. Essentially, the upzoning measure allows for denser, taller construction in 27 neighborhoods, a plan that’s been met with mixed reviews by many in the lead-up to its passage.

“To all the firefighters, nurses, and cops who are priced out of Seattle, your income will never be enough for the MHA developers who will opt out of having affordable units on-site,” said one public commenter back in February.

Concerns have been expressed by opponents that developers will opt not to include low-income housing in new apartment complexes, and simply opt to absorb the fines levied by the city.

“These upzones in 27 neighborhoods are going to have a displacement factor,” said a commenter during Monday’s session preceding the full vote.

“(MHA downtown) has already created dozens of new towers without affordable units, put leverage on the city to approve inadequate designs, and the worst part is that it’s divided people in this room as for or against affordable housing,” said another commenter.

Others have worried that houses and buildings with scenic views they’ve had for years will see them blotted out by an influx of large apartment buildings.

Most recently, the council voted on over 100 separate amendments to MHA in an hours-long session, before later exempting University Way from the measure, at least for the moment.

A last-minute amendment from Councilmember Rob Johnson also doubled the maximum building height on Boylston along I-5, from 40 feet to 80 feet.

The upzoning measure was unanimously approved by city council.

Local News

Madrona closure...
MyNorthwest Staff

Madrona school temporarily shifts to remote learning over COVID outbreak

Madrona K-8 will be temporarily switching to remote learning, over a COVID outbreak that has nearly a quarter of the school's students quarantined. 
8 hours ago
Rene Baeza (left) and 3-month-old Alizario. (Yakima PD)...
MyNorthwest Staff

Amber Alert canceled for 3-month-old baby, ‘safely’ located by authorities

An Amber Alert has been canceled for a 3-month-old baby out of Yakima.
8 hours ago
plastic bags...
Nicole Jennings

Why you may still see some plastic bags after statewide ban

If you are still handed plastic bags at your local supermarket or the gift shop downtown, it doesn't necessarily mean the store owners are flouting the law.
1 day ago
WSDOT...
Chris Sullivan

WSDOT has largest segment of state employees to leave over vaccine mandate

Of 1,887 state employees that lost their jobs over the vaccine mandate, the largest group was from the Washington State Department of Transportation.
1 day ago
exemption...
Stephanie Klein

State reports 92% compliance after vaccine mandate deadline

At least 92% of state workers have shown proof they're vaccinated against COVID-19 or were approved for exemption, according to the state.
1 day ago
pierce county...
MyNorthwest Staff

Pierce County Sheriff’s Dept, BLM react to charges against sheriff

The state Attorney General’s office has filed misdemeanor charges against Pierce County Sheriff Ed Troyer. The department and Black Lives Matter respond.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

...

How to Have a Stress-Free Real Estate Experience

The real estate industry has adapted and sellers are taking full advantage of new real estate models. One of which is Every Door Real Estate.
...
IQ Air

How Poor Air Quality Is Affecting Our Future Athletes

You cannot control your child’s breathing environment 100% of the time, but you can make a huge impact.
...
Swedish Health Services

Special Coverage: National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

There are a wide variety of treatment options available for men with prostate cancer. The most technologically advanced treatment option in the Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform.
...
Marysville Police Department

Police Opportunities in a Growing, Supportive Washington Community

Marysville PD is looking for both lateral and entry level officers. Begin or continue your career in law enforcement for a growing, supportive community.
...
Comcast

Small, Minority-Owned Businesses in King County and Pierce County Can Now Apply For $10,000 Relief Grants Through Comcast RISE

Businesses in King County and Pierce County can apply beginning on October 1, 2021, at www.ComcastRISE.com for a chance to receive a $10,000 relief grant.
Courtesy of JWatch Photography....
Experience Anacortes

Summer Fun Activities in Anacortes

With minimal travel time required and every activity under the sun, Anacortes is the perfect vacation spot for all ages.
Seattle council votes to approve upzoning for 27 Seattle neighborhoods