Seattle trades open sky for affordable housing

The city has big plans to continue upzoning more than 20 parts of the Seattle.

The Seattle City Council voted to move forward with the “upzone” of downtown and South Lake Union. The city says approving this plan means 2,100 affordable homes over the next ten years.

The University District upzoning plan has already been approved, and there’s talk that the city is looking at Chinatown International District as the next possible project. Downtown and South Lake Union are two of the fastest growing areas, and supporters say this allows them to take advantage of that growth.

Developers are allowed to go higher than current standards if they designated a certain number of units for low-income families. They can get around the rule by paying fees that the city can use to put units in other parts of Seattle.

Councilmember Rob Johnson says it will help those who are getting priced out of Seattle. “This program has a deeper level of affordability than any other program that we've adopted in the past,” Johnson explained.

"Affordability advocates were excited about the council’s decision. The fact that we haven’t had one really represents a lost opportunity,” Nicki Hellenkamp of the Housing Development Consortium said. “We desperately need more affordable homes in our city, and this conversation is an important one to have and to keep having,” she said.
 

© 2017 KING-TV


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