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Seattle Planning Commission Calls for New Residential Density

A recently published white paper written by the Seattle Planning Commission calls on the city to follow in the footsteps of the city of Minneapolis and the state of Oregon.
January 22, 2020, 9am PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Single-Family Neighborhood

Doug Trumm reports on a white paper published by the Seattle Planning Commission calling on the city to make dramatic changes to the city's zoning.

The commission's "Growth Strategy White Paper" builds on work begun with the commission's Neighborhoods for All report published last year. The paper makes an explicit call for Seattle to follow in the footsteps of Minneapolis, the state of Oregon, and Cancouver, British Columbia in legalizing three of four units per residential lot.

"Switching base zoning to triplexes or fourplexes will be viewed as revolutionary to many Seattleites," writes Trumm. "A draft recommendation of the Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda (HALA) report was scuttled for less. But other cities have led the way and shown it’s possible, and conditions in Seattle–including the city council–have changed."

Among the changes in Seattle listed by Trumm: continuously rising housing prices and uneven growth around the city. On that latter point, Trumm notes that the city's "urban villages have shouldered an incredible load when it comes to infill development despite representing a tiny fraction of the overall land." Also, writes Trumm, "[t]he planning commission notes a whopping 80% of Seattle’s housing growth over the past decade or so has been within Urban Villages."

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Published on Wednesday, January 8, 2020 in The Urbanist
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