Mayor Durkan officially signs upzoning measure into law

Mar 20, 2019, 3:20 PM

Seattle upzoning MHA Jenny Durkan...

(Mayor Jenny Durkan)

(Mayor Jenny Durkan)

After getting unanimous approval from city council on Monday, Seattle’s comprehensive — and controversial — upzoning measure was officially signed into law Wednesday by Mayor Jenny Durkan.

RELATED: Seattle council votes to approve upzoning measure
RELATED: Heated debate at final hearing for MHA

“Today, Seattle another step toward more affordable housing choices and a more affordable, welcoming city for all,” said Mayor Durkan in a news release. “We need more affordable housing as quickly as possible because too many people are being priced out of our city.”

Known formally as Mandatory Housing Affordability, the measure enacts requirements for building affordable housing and taller residence buildings in 27 neighborhoods throughout Seattle. The eventual hope is to provide thousands of new rent and income-restricted homes for low-income residents.

Essentially, the upzoning measure allows for denser, taller construction in a handful of urban villages across the city.

It also levies substantial fines on developers who don’t dedicate between 5 and 11 percent of projects to low-income housing. Fines for developers not meeting the low-income housing requirements will go toward the Seattle Office of Housing.

MHA now becomes official 100-plus amendments later, and after over a year of deliberation, public meetings, and tweaks.

“MHA has been shaped by years of community input and engagement,” said Councilmember Rob Johnson. “For three years running, my days have been filled with discussing how to reach our goal of creating more units of housing in the next decade. As such, I view MHA as one of the primary strategies to create more affordable housing, as well as address the legacy of ‘redlining.'”

Over the next decade, the city estimates that the legislation will create 3,000 new affordable homes, with the ultimate goal of reaching 6,000.

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Mayor Durkan officially signs upzoning measure into law