Mayor Tim Burgess Announces New Upzone Plans

Comments

1
"Some oppose increased density; others argue the city's affordability requirements are too low to meaningfully meet the needs of a city facing a homelessness crisis." Still others are frustrated that the city is trying to upzone in a development-neutral way (i.e., making sure increase costs balance out increased heights, to keep the number of units built the same), therefore failing to dramatically affect affordability for most residents. Some of these same people are further frustrated that single family zoning remains mostly untouched, keeping most of our city locked in suburban development without adding urban housing options.

We need a massive increase of development, which would lead to a massive increase in number of homes and a strong decrease in housing prices. While I respect the city for trying, it's much too little.
2
The, primarily, North Seattle single family neighborhood p*ssies get off light again:/
3
Nothing about people with 0 income and income very low which would be say under twenty thousand a year per person. This easily happens with people who have part time work. have been unemployed for a while, are unable to work, are elderly, and single parents for example.

There are people who are working with very low incomes who make around twelve thousand a year. This plan by Burgess is not addressing the needs of the most destitute people. Its maintaining the status quo and assuming people have larger incomes than reality.
4
"Affordable here is defined as housing for people with 60 percent area median income"

So at least 30% of our neighbors need "affordable housing", given the curvature of the income distribution. And we are building between 2% and 11% of new construction in these very limited areas, or else buying indulgences (how much affordable housing do they end up achieving?)

Speaking as a North Seattle single family neighborhood pussy whose property value would be hit by the changes we need: we need them. Not towers on residential streets, but much heavier building along arterials. And heck maybe it would support a neighborhood grocery store too.
5
@3: That's why there's Northgate.
6
If you want the city to legalize more density (backyard cottages, mother-in-law apartments, duplexes, triplexes, or townhouses, etc.) in the 75% of residential areas currently zoned only for single homes, you can tell them to include those options in an Environment Impact Study they are about to conduct! Your comments make a huge difference in evening out the number of exclusionary comments from mostly rich white male property owners.

Submit your comments here until next Thursday November 16th.

Click here for prompts and talking points if you're interested in having more options for more people at different incomes in every neighborhood.
7
@3 - I keep hearing about all the things I have to do to help the situation because I have money, and I'm glad to do most all of them (i.e., pay taxes, not fret about density, deal with no parking, etc) but how about you? How about you get some roommates?
8
OK raindrop what does that mean? That’s why there is Norhgate? Come on. Let’s not trivialize the pain of poverty. That is a callous thing to say. i thought you were more grown up than that.
9
Keep in mind the 5% - 11% affordable target for MHA (mandatory incentive zoning) is just one of 63 HALA recommendations. The Multi-Family Tax Exemption (MFTE) program generates between 20-24% affordable units when developers opt in. If they participate in both MHA and MFTE, a building could theoretically hit 35% affordability.

Is this likely to provide enough affordable housing for everyone who needs it over the next decade? Not bloody likely, but as a first step it is echelons better than the mess we have now. It means areas with great transit and proximity to downtown, like Capitol Hill, can take on more density, thus helping to relieve some of the development and gentrification pressure on historically redlined areas like the Chinatown-International District and the Central District.
10
It's not just upzones, Seattle needs to overhaul it's landuse and zoning rules entirely. We need "side-zones". Not being able to build right to the lot line is ridiculous. This prevents the building of true row houses that could generate considerable infill and contributes to the proliferation of the truly hideous snout boxes.
11
#7 I have roommates and this place is crowded. We are all poor and we do all we can for our neighbors with the little we have. If it wasn’t for food banks we wouldn’t eat.

We fight for housing for all. All we can. Everyday. You can also call the mayor if you wish to stop the sweeps of the homeless and provide them with real options. Yes I’m one of the poor and we are real.
12
@6 @9 thanks!
13
@11 - The homeless have options and many know about them. They don't like the options and I can understand why that is the case in some instances; the barriers are too high and are, frankly, even unfair when it comes to making couples sleep apart, etc. I'm never going to agree with you that sweeps should stop, however, if only to collect the feces, needles and other public health hazard materials so the homeless can just go right back a couple days later. Harm reduction is a two-way street: people don't get to kick off a Hep A epidemic just because they haven't hit bottom yet on an addiction or don't like some structure in their lives.

Sweeps are a distraction. Everyone should be demanding affordable housing now. NOW.
14
#13 Thanks for the answer. People are demanding affordable housing now. And you are right more people should do so.

Stop blaming the homeless for the situation. The problem is the developers, corporate housing that is too expensive and restrictive for most people, bankers that forced people out of their homes etc. for example. Prior to 1980 homelessness was rare why? People are in public spaces because they have no place to go. The city is playing games with the homeless. Typically sweeps are cruel and expensive. The police are sent in. people are forcibly removed and their items of survival are usually thrown away. The city (again) doesn’t provide people with garbage and sanitary services so it helps create a public eyesore. Its easier to have desperate people scapegoated than admit and act on real solutions like having decent places for them to go.
15
@14 - When the city DID provide toilets and dumpsters they were not used (Office of Civil Rights report) and yes, while some are not on the streets for any other reason that economic reasons, the vast number in unsanctioned encampments are mentally ill or suffering from substance abuse or both. I happen to believe it's far more compassionate to get sonmeone in a treatment bed or a house versus letting them rot by the road. And when sweeps are conducted according to the city's guidelines adopted earlier this year they are not cruel...the campas have been repeatedly visityed by Nav Teams of social workers and police, alternative shelter is offered (and sometimes even accepted) and belongings are collected, catalogued and stored (though SOCR says this part is ripe for improvement). Painting sweeps as pogroms is a convenient falsehood for drumming up passions and creating the deeply divided discourse that currently colors our city.
16
Ugh. Spelling.
17
I've asked this in a few other comment threads, but still don't have an answer.

For all those against the current extent of single family zoning in Seattle, what do you think is going to happen if zoning requirements are changed? Is there some expectation that average citizens will suddenly start tearing down their homes to erect low-income multi-family units?
18
"Speaking as a North Seattle ... we need them. Not towers on residential streets, but much heavier building along arterials. "

Why do poor people have to live in cracker boxes built over the sidewalk along major arterials? The exhaust fumes and noise are awful and it's not healthy for anyone. Why must poor people live in the fumes? Why can't commercial development occur along arterials and residential development take place one block off the busy streets so everyone can enjoy some peace and quiet and fresh air. Hwy 522 through Lake City has awful residential highrise-ish buildings right next to it. They are ugly and unwelcoming and soooo downscale.
19
#15 I hate to break this to you but the city is lying about the sweeps. Perhaps you don’t know any advocates or actual homeless people. I have witnessed it and witnesses tell a different story.

You could contact the Stop the Sweeps advocates or look up Pete’s Place on Rainier near Dearborn. This will take a little investigation.

Of course we want the mentally ill and addicted to have real options and other homeless. That is why the Housing First program is recommended by many concerned people. You can investigate that. You seem like a nice person and best wishes to you.
20
In addition, the ACLU is suing the city for the inhumane practice of the sweeps. And possibly the
Office of Civil rights may also be suing the city over their practice of the sweeps.
21
@18, yeah, a swath along arterials, like people do, not only fronting directly on.
22
Come on lads, the American Dream isn't to live in a rabbit hutch. It's to own your own home, with a garden. So build the rabbit hutches in SLU, downtown Ballard, Belltown, Interbay, Beacon Hill etc. but when those bunnies breed, they will want a little patch of paradisefor themselves.
23
"That's why there's Northgate."

And Burien, Seatac, Tukwila, and coming soon, Lynnwood and north of there, all readily accessible to Seattle by that train we all paid for. Hell, Skyway is only 20 minutes from downtown by bus....I hear.

Problem is most urbanists are white, college educated fellows who don't want to live in places where the lower classes live.

Urbanism is nothing more than a plea from poorly employed white college kids to live in nice neighborhoods like they did when living with mum and dad.
24
" That’s why there is Norhgate? Come on. Let’s not trivialize the pain of poverty. That is a callous thing to say."

Yes, the pain. Have you tried the breasticks at Olive Garden? Simply horrendous.
25
"Yes I’m one of the poor and we are real."

Oh Ivy, poor thing.

Where did you go to university, by the way?
26
"Prior to 1980 homelessness was rare why? "

Why? Because we locked up the crazies in the Cuckoo House.
27
@24 The Olive Garden at Northgate closed years ago. Try again.

@5 You clearly haven’t been to Northgate for awhile. It is not impoverished by any stretch of the imagination. Even Lake City and Jackson Park are quickly becoming unaffordable.
28
Come on lads, the American Dream isn't to live in a rabbit hutch. It's to own your own home, with a garden.

Speak for yourself. My family lives in a modern residential tower with upper-floor views of Puget Sound and the city skyline. Our neighborhood has a 100 walkscore, and we don't spend our family time together sitting in traffic or doing errands.

I grew up in one of your "American Dream" places (three-bedroom, quarter-acre, nice yard with garden) and I would not "live" like that again if you paid me to.
29
"The Olive Garden at Northgate closed years ago"

Not to worry, Red Robin is still quite popular with the plebs.

"we don't spend our family time together sitting in traffic or doing errands."

Only takes me 15-20 minutes to drive to downtown Seattle from the Biggles's single family home. Lovely drive, usually with a home brewed espresso and NPR. Almost too quick somedays.

Amazon Prime fixed the errand problem.
30
@19 - Your assumptions about what I know about what I know about are rather breathtaking. You seem like a nice person, too, but I don't agree with your point of view.
31
Only takes me 15-20 minutes to drive to downtown Seattle from the Biggles's single family home. Lovely drive, usually with a home brewed espresso and NPR. Almost too quick somedays.

Enjoy paying for the petrol, insurance, and parking. Between my employer-supplied ORCA passport and my employer-supplied mobile, my commutes are not merely free, but billable.

(Except for the times I commute via bicycle. Then, I agree, the trip is almost too quick.)

Your assumptions about what I know about what I know about are rather breathtaking.

If you knew what you were talking about, you would agree with Ivy, because it is not possible to have an honest disagreement with Ivy. (Just ask Ivy.)

According to Ivy, Ivy's utter infallibility is an unquestionable law of the universe. Please don't take it personally. :-)
32
@31 - thanks, I feel better already :)