Urban Fold

Seattle's Affordable Housing Plan Blasted For Poor Timing

The Seattle City Council recently approved a new affordable housing plan allowing builders to develop larger buildings if they include a certain amount of affordable units. But developers say the plan is ill-timed and they plan on ignoring it.

"The affordable-housing program approved 6-3 by the Seattle City Council on Monday may be diluted past the point of effectiveness. And, in a recession, it could take years to know."

"Opponents and supporters agreed on that, at least, after a yearlong process to hash out the details of the new "incentive zoning" program."

"Developers who opt to use the program can build taller residential buildings in Seattle's neighborhoods, but they have to devote 17.5 percent of the additional space to homes for middle-income people. A similar program is already in place downtown."

"The business community is questioning the council's vote at a time when a locked-down credit market has stalled local building projects. Last week, 23 developers signed a letter to the City Council, saying they will ignore the program because it doesn't provide any real incentives to add affordable units."

Full Story: Affordable-housing plan OK'd, but will it work?

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