Linking Affordablility to Growth: The Best & Fastest Way to Create the Most Affordable Housing in Seattle


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Why linking affordability to growth is the fastest way to create the most Affordable Housing in Seattle

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Comment from Shawn Crowley
Time July 16, 2015 at 4:11 pm

While I’m in favor of linkage fees I’m very disturbed by the general tenor of the HALA report and its recommendation of up-zoning single family areas. Housing is too complex for me to cover in a short comment but having watched the zoning battles since the 1980s, it’s clear that “affordability” and social justice is being used as camouflage by developers whose only priority is profit. The notion that increasing density results in increased affordability has been disproven in city after city. Pent-up demand, income inequality and new construction costs are confounding factors. Seattle has lots of areas suitable for increased density (the Aurora corridor, parts of Beacon Hill, South Park, White Center) but these are not the areas in high demand by high-tech workers with high incomes. The city has missed numerous chances to save affordable housing. The Lockhaven and Theodora apartments could have been kept as affordable housing but instead were purchased by Goodman real estate for conversion to market rate units. Yesler Terrace has been turned over for private development, pushing low-income people into towers and out of small homes with yards for pets and gardens. Lastly, the idea that Seattle’s zoning reflects a racist and exclusionary history is without foundation. Areas like Broadmoor have exclusionary CC&Rs but that’s not the same as zoning. Lastly, it’s offensive for Faith Pettis to tell me that it’s selfish to want a detached house on a 5000 sq.ft. lot when she lives in a 4000 sq.ft. Laurelhurst home; a house larger than the lot my house in Ballard sits on. When I see homes in Laurelhurst being demolished for low-income, multi-family housing, then I’ll listen to her, not before.

Comment from tj
Time July 21, 2015 at 6:35 pm

Shawn, you said it beautifully! Nothing else to add.

Comment from Jon
Time August 1, 2015 at 12:20 am

I don’t really understand how people expect to address crazy prices people can charge for rent without increasing supply. Insane levels of demand are why this is happening and the only salve is increased supply. It might be time for people to admit that a yard is a luxury in a city like this. I don’t have one. It’s totally fine.

I can totally get behind the linkage fee proposal. Giving displaced people a place they can afford in the same area is great, and avoiding actually displacing them and their neighbors (the social safety net) is even better. But if we end up stunting an increase in supply, our root problem remains.

The single family zone change was a good idea in that it would increase supply. I don’t get the pushback. It’s not like you’re going to be forced out if you’re already there. If your neighbors sell, that’s their choice.

Comment from Carol Boddy
Time August 3, 2015 at 7:13 am

Mike : You should be ashamed of yourself. Affordable housing, micro housing at $700 to $900.0 per month for a little one room is NOT AFFORDABLE HOUSING. $1,650.00 for a studio and $2,000.00 and up is not affordable housing. There should be for every 100 units the developers build 20 units of affordable housing $800.00 $900.00 for a one bedroom. Or $500.00 or 600.00 for a studio. The developers should also be required to have solar panels on the roof of all buildings to save electricity etc. We need to preserve our neighborhoods. A few months ago you were touting Micro Housing and development. Now you are doing an about face about mother in law units etc. Why are you doing an about face. IT IS ELECTION TIME.. You told the folks at one of the meetings that Eastlake neighborhood is a business district. Look behind Eastlake Ave East and there are hundreds and hundreds of private homes. Nearly every single set of these town homes and row houses are built with garages but the driveways leading to them make it totally impossible to get anything but a SMALL car into them. THUS the people have to wind up parking on the streets. Which the majority of them don’t like to. WE Need affordable housing and you have always seemed to take a stance to be on the builders side until election time. Sorry Mike you won’t be getting my vote again. Actions and track records speak loud and clear. Flip flopping to gain votes in not acceptable.

Comment from John Downing
Time October 9, 2015 at 5:51 pm

Seattle is geographically shaped like an “hour-glass”. Much of the increased cost of rental housing seems to be about a huge number of renters wishing to live in the “hour-glass” center where there just isn’t much land to build. When Lake Union, Green Lake, the U of W, Woodland Park, all the athletic fields, parks, freeways, etc are considered, there just isn’t much available land. The best answer for unsubsidized low cost housing in this constricted area are “micro-apartments”. Safe, functional low income housing for seniors living on social security, or single low income individuals can be provided in about 200 square feet . Two bedrooms in 400 square feet, three bedrooms in 700 square feet. ( I realize it sounds cramped, but think back to your college days or military service. It is better than no housing, right?)
We need to get away from the socialist political hysteria of rent control ( taking other people’s property rights, because the next property rights they will be screaming to take are homeowners rights)

Comment from Steve
Time October 13, 2015 at 2:07 pm

As an architect-builder-developer & Seattle resident for the last 35 years, I think each one of you is right looking from your individual angle. City of Seattle folks are not wrong and they try their best, to my opinion.
Here are the facts that we all have to accept, facing it. And we all have to compromise…
– Population increase due to good environment and good jobs that we have in this metropolitan area. _Thanks for that_
– Buildable property quantity remains the same within the same metro area. No one can change this fact.
– Our infrastructures that serve our town are already here. May need update. No one wants to pay taxes to build new one.
– Cost of land, construction and taxes keep going up, which directly trigger cost of leaving and thus cost of housing. Land owners profit the most.
When I first start my profession 35 years ago, as a builder, we can just build the house and the yard that is it. Now we have to pay additional fees to the government to spend on multiple programs that Seattle residents benefit from; We have to pay to improve the road, sidewalk and anything below it. All of these expenses are passed along to consumers. Builders and developers are still making the same $ ratio as 35 years ago, but they are taking more “imposed” burdens therefore more financial and liability risks. This is for those who complain about a Mini Studio is rented $900.00/m. Please land back on earth 
Land owners that sold their homes to developers keep raising price. These land sellers are those who use to live in your neighborhood. If you currently own a house in Ballard, you’ll one day sell it at even a greater price (market value) for profit. Be real folks.
Have the developer build additional units specifically designated for “Affordable Housing” is better spent $. Needy people will get more for the $.
Linkage Fees to be imposed to developers are wrong because:
– This cost will be passed on to all of us and the one that suffer the most will feel it.
– Cost of development by the government used from these taxes $ is so high and wasteful compared to non governmental entity would spend. Because everything our government spend has to be done by Union Co. For the same $, we end up getting less affordable housing at the end.
Zoning up WILL provide more housing, but increase urban density. It’s good because we can control our environmental impact and therefore we can preserve our nature that we all move here in the first place. If we don’t increase density, too soon, we will become LA. 
Folks, no one can stop this. Just be real and stop our politicians pull your legs. They are not the experts. They said and done things to further their agenda.

Comment from sonia bell
Time May 11, 2016 at 1:17 pm

I wish to express my anger and disbelief that the city would consider a$160 million dollar police station. Are you people daft? I’d like to hear your thoughts and see someone on the council address this waste of tax payers money

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