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Anti-Displacement Policies Proposed by Seattle Politicians

The mayor and a councilmember both made potentially sweeping proposals to address displacement as the city moves forward with plans to upzone neighborhoods, in keeping with the Mandatory Housing Affordability policy.
March 1, 2019, 8am PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan recently announced an executive order [pdf] that proposed policies for stemming displacement.

Stephen Fesler reports on the executive order, describing it as "very much an all-hands-on-deck kind of policy platform." Fesler also parses the proposed policies into four themes:

  • Implementing a suite of short-term actions in 2019 to address displacement and affordability;
  • Pushing the state legislature to provide more resources and tools to provide more housing affordability and reduce displacement;
  • Continued commitment to the Equitable Development Initiative (EDI), which helps address issues of displacement and gentrification; and
  • Commit to community engagement and interdepartmental collaboration to address displacement.

If you're wondering where the city's Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA) policy fits into the new proclamation, according to Fesler, "[the] executive order also reaffirms her administration’s commitment to the MHA program with intent to monitor its performance and deliver 6,000 affordable housing units by 2028."

Seattle Councilmember Lisa Herbold released a similar proclamation on the same day, to announce draft legislation "that could provide additional tools for decision-makers to rely upon through the permitting process to reduce displacement risks to residents in areas of the city that are considered to be high risk of displacement and low access to opportunity." Those areas are identified as "Urban Villages" identified in the city's Comprehensive Plan as South Park, Bitter Lake, Rainier Beach, Othello, and Westwood-Highland Park.

In Herbold's case, the legislation is drafted in part as a response to concern about the effects of MHA upzones. Fesler provides a lot of additional analysis about the potential implications of the new legislation vis-à-vis the MHA.

Full Story:
Published on Thursday, February 21, 2019 in The Urbanist
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