Apr 23 2013
Press Release issued on Monday, 4/22/13:
Consensus built around the need for more affordable workforce housing in the neighborhood
SEATTLE – The Seattle City Council South Lake Union Committee voted unanimously on an amendment to produce more workforce affordable housing in the South Lake Union (SLU) neighborhood by strengthening the incentive zoning program. The agreement is a compromise between two existing amendments offered by Councilmembers, which were introduced in last week’s SLU Committee meeting. Consensus was built around the need to strengthen the incentive zoning program without discouraging development.
“Today’s decision is an important, modest step toward securing more affordable workforce housing in South Lake Union, so that people at all income levels who work in the neighborhood have a chance to live there,” said Councilmember Mike O’Brien. “This is a community of opportunity where the city is investing over $500 million in public infrastructure, and I think it only fair that the benefits of this redevelopment are shared more broadly.”
The legislation to strengthen incentive zoning includes a 43% increase in the residential pay-in-lieu price (from $15.15 to $21.68), effectively immediately, and a 33% increase in the commercial price that will be phased in over eighteen months (to $29.71). These prices are paid on a percent of square-foot basis in exchange for additional height and building capacity. Collectively, these provisions will produce an estimated 733 units of workforce housing in and near the neighborhood. The original legislation would have created an estimated 406 units.
“The new Affordable Housing Amendment reflects a collaborative and inclusive decision-making process with developers and affordable housing advocates. The Council applied the Race and Social Justice Initiative lens to ensure we were having an honest debate on equity. Council honored its promise of delivering on-site affordable workforce units in this neighborhood,” said Councilmember Bruce Harrell.
The Council last updated the incentive zoning program in 2008, establishing the goal of producing 5% of affordable workforce residential units in the neighborhood of the development. The Council will also consider similar fee adjustments to the downtown incentive housing program to take effect in 2014.
“Even with this step, we need to go further by engaging in the process laid out in Resolution 31444 to review and update of Seattle’s incentive zoning and other affordable housing programs, so we can begin to bridge the gap between our affordable housing needs and the amount we are currently producing,” said Councilmember Mike O’Brien.
City Council plans to vote on the full South Lake Union rezone proposal at the May 6 Full Council meeting at 2:00pm in Council Chambers.
Comments Off on City Council Strengthens Affordable Housing Program