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Lowering the Barrier to Make Public Land Available for Affordable Housing

Municipalities can help fill in a crucial piece of the affordable housing puzzle by making public land accessible for development.
December 30, 2019, 9am PST | Camille Fink
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"Housing is expensive to construct and maintain, so every dollar saved on land or other costs helps affordable developments pencil outLeveraging public land for affordable housing allows local jurisdictions to make a substantial contribution to more affordable housing without imposing (PDF) additional taxes or fees on residents," writes Aaron Shroyer.

Seattle has moved away from an approach that seeks to maximize revenue from the sale of public land and instead considers the best use of the land. Last year, the city passed a resolution that makes affordable housing a priority when disposing of public land. "The City of Seattle is also looking more expansively at use of public land by exploring opportunities at smaller-scale properties and through partnerships with other public agencies," says Shroyer. 

Shroyer encourages other jurisdictions to look to Seattle as an example of how to prioritize the use of public land for affordable housing developments. "Municipal governments should also work with other public entities, such as transportation authorities, hospitals, and school districts, that may have surplus land suitable for affordable housing development," he adds.

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Published on Wednesday, December 11, 2019 in Housing Matters
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