Upzone and affordability package passes seattle city council committee – curbed seattle gas bubble


Over the course of a four-and-a-half-hour meeting Monday, the Seattle v gashi 2013 City Council came close to finalizing a package of bills that would implement mandatory housing affordability (MHA) in various neighborhoods throughout the City of Seattle. It marks the end of a special committee process where city councilmembers went through the proposed planning and zoning changes with a fine-tooth comb, and gets the city close to actually implementing a policy that’s been in the works for years.

Most of those single-family zones are going to residential small lot (RSL) zoning, which incentivises smaller, denser electricity freedom system housing, but also keeping existing structures and turning them into multifamily housing—but MHA still applies. In some cases, though, those single-family neighborhoods were set to go to low rise 1, which has the same height limits as RSL (which aren’t too different from single family), but can result in fatter buildings.

This was a long moment of clarification a few hours into the gasco abu dhabi salary meeting, when councilmember Lisa Herbold, who represents West Seattle, advocated for a swath of single-family homes near 21st Avenue SW and SW Barton Street to go RSL instead of low-rise to preserve Mount Rainier views. That amendment ultimately failed, but a suite of similar amendments for single-family zones around the West Seattle Junction passed, with the idea that zoning would be revisited pending final word on light-rail alignment gas prices under a dollar in the neighborhood.

Similarly, a slate of amendments softening zoning changes in Crown Hill proposed by councilmember Mike O’Brien—who was not present at the meeting—also passed, moving many single-family lots that were previously destined to be low-rise to RSL. In exchange, the area in the immediate vicinity of 85th and 15th gained an extra 20 feet and higher affordable housing requirements. (One of O’Brien’s amendments was soundly rejected: one to lessen zoning changes in the vicinity of the Fremont Troll.)

But neighbors brought concerns to their councilmembers besides single-family zoning. Near the Mount Baker Light Rail Station, six lots lost 20 feet of zoning to keep a long-planned park feasible. Up by Northgate, one zoning change specifically accomodated a senior center hoping to build medical facilities. In the University District, one amendment changes setback requirements on University electricity and magnetism lecture notes Way, better known as the Ave, to “maintain the human-scaled character” after a neighborhood effort that included its own beer.

Other changes involve excluding the Mount Baker Historic District and new Ravenna-Cowen Historic District—which isn’t too surprising, since the policy’s environmental review noted that historic preservation was a weak point. Another amendment allows the purchase of transferable development rights, better known as TDRs, from historic landmarks in high-rise zones (essentially, developers get to build extra electricity experiments somewhere that’s not the landmark).

Some natural gas jokes amendments were more broad, like a relatively controversial amendment known as the “claw-back clause”— demanded by some neighborhood groups and disliked by many urbanists—which addresses what could happen if a court determines that the affordability piece is illegal, leaving higher-capacity zoning without any requirement for developers and property owners to provide affordable housing. The measure passed, with just Juarez, Teresa Mosqueda, and Lorena González opposed.