In a recent article, Daniel Beekman of The Seattle Times discusses the potential impact that widespread upzoning will have on the City of Seattle in a release of the city’s initial project findings. Upzoning, the rezoning of designated areas to accommodate more land use, has been a popular topic of discussion in the city since Mayor Ed Murray released his Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA) program, “which allows developers to build taller and larger buildings in certain areas and requires them to help create affordable housing.”
Of critical concern in this early report is how the city will “deal with displacement, the upzoning of blocks with single-family homes, and the proposed extensions of urban-village boundaries.” According to the report, there are already MHA upzones approved in the University District, downtown Seattle and South Lake Union, and the council is considering additional upzones in the International District, parts of the Central District, and lower Queen Anne. Current plans indicate that “the upzones, in tandem with new affordable-housing requirements, would generate more than 5,500 rent- and income-restricted units over 20 years.”
The report offers three potential options for the city of Seattle, which are to eliminate the prospect of upzoning, or to distribute according to current growth patterns or some other method. As they work to reach a decision, “the planning department will host an open house and public hearing on the DEIS at 5:30 p.m. June 29 in the Bertha Knight Landes Room at City Hall” with a final Environmental Impact Statement expected in September. The city is also accepting online comments here.