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

airport...
Bill Kaczaraba

New group would take a fresh look at Pierce, Thurston County airport sites

Ground Zero for the Puget Sound region is forecast to be in 2050, it's projected that the airport will no longer be able to handle the number of passengers
14 hours ago
drug...
Frank Sumrall

Federal Way mayor in full support of bills re-criminalizing drug possession

Multiple bills have flooded the state legislature in an attempt to reclassify possession of a drug — including fentanyl — as a felony offense.
14 hours ago
Bellevue school...
Nicole Jennings

Families rally ahead of Bellevue School District consolidation decision

Parents are rallying in protest as the Bellevue School District considers consolidating elementary schools due to dropping enrollment.
14 hours ago
FILE - A sign is shown on a Google building at their campus in Mountain View, Calif., Sept. 24, 201...
Associated Press

Google hopes ‘Bard’ will outsmart ChatGPT, Microsoft in AI

Google is girding for a battle of wits in the field of artificial intelligence with “Bard," a conversational service apparently aimed at countering the popularity of the ChatGPT tool backed by Microsoft.
14 hours ago
paramedic...
L.B. Gilbert

East Pierce County Fire starts advanced paramedic emergency program

A new Medical Service Officer program is ready to jump in when there are life-threatening emergencies in Pierce County.
14 hours ago
power...
L.B. Gilbert

Crash into utility pole cuts power, 911 service to Kent neighborhood

A Kent neighborhood is in the dark Tuesday morning after a crash into a utility pole cut power.
14 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.
SHIBA WA...

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Seattle council votes to approve upzoning for 27 Seattle neighborhoods