Survey: Seattle-Area Residents Support Upzoning

To fight the growing housing crisis, most King County residents support an end to single-family zoning and accelerated housing development, according to a new poll.

2 minute read

January 5, 2022, 9:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


Olympic Mountains

oksana.perkins / Shutterstock

A poll of King County residents shows that a "slim majority" support ending single-family zoning in Seattle neighborhoods, reports Gene Balk in the Seattle Times.

The survey presented the 501 respondents with questions about several approaches to alleviating the region's affordable housing shortage. While 55 percent supported increased density in the city, slightly fewer—51 percent—supported the change in nearby suburban neighborhoods.

The fight over single-family zoning has been raging in communities across the country as cities and states move to eliminate the designation that affordable housing advocates often call "exclusionary zoning," drawing attention to the more affluent nature of most single-family neighborhoods. Last October, in an effort to acknowledge diverse existing housing forms and lay the groundwork for zoning reform, the city of Seattle moved to rename single-family zoning to 'neighborhood residential' zoning. But opponents argue that rezoning can impact neighborhood character, increase demand for limited on-street parking, and put a strain on local roads and other infrastructure.

In what Balk calls an "interesting twist," 83 percent of respondents said they would prefer to live in a single-family home themselves. But for those who can't afford it, advocates say accelerated development is needed to make housing in the region more affordable, and 63 percent of residents want to see more housing on "underdeveloped" land. However, less than half of surveyed residents wanted to see reduced parking requirements for new construction, despite indications that parking requirements raise the cost of housing and induce car ownership and congestion.

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