Seattle's Inclusionary Zoning Proposal Falling Short of Expectations

A critical component of the landmark and controversial Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda (HALA) platform, announced first in July 2015.

1 minute read

April 30, 2016, 7:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

Seattle Apartments

Edmund Lowe Photography / Shutterstock

Daniel Beekman writes a critique of the inclusionary zoning policy proposal by the Murray Administration in Seattle. After repeated promises that the city's proposed mandatory inclusionary housing policy would "require market-rate developers to build a minimum number of affordable units in any new construction…"

Beekman throws cold water on that promise, however, reporting that the most recent version of the plan, sent to the City Council by Mayor Ed Murray this week, administration officials "anticipate that 3,700 affordable units would be created through inclusionary housing." Moreover, "they expect that fewer than half of those units — only 1,500 — would be constructed as part of market-rate buildings."

The proposed policy allows developers to pay in lieu fee rather than constructing affordable housing on site. Also, according to Beekman, "developers in South Lake Union and downtown would play by different rules than other developers."

The article gives a detailed account of the evolution of the Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda following its initial, controversial announcement, through the negotiations that produced the in lieu fee of Beekman's current concern. The article is a detailed feature, of interest to anyone looking for more information on the politics and nitty gritty of inclusionary zoning, affordable housing, and development incentives.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016 in The Seattle Times

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