Tim Burgess is a boob or the Stranger has a secret deal with their 'It's All About You' advertiser to embed ads (sort of like the restaurant and bar recommendations that proliferate Slog on Friday afternoons)?
I wish you respected your readers enough not to assume they wouldn't be interested in this topic enough unless you made a stupid sideboob joke.
What qualifies as "moderately low-income", in this context?
I think that if the right way for the city to subsidize housing is to simply issue bonds and build it themselves. Then the city can set the rents in those buildings to whatever they want. All these nutty funding contraptions, tacking on fees and extra costs to building permits seems kind of unjust.

I get that developers aren't the most sympathetic bunch in the world. But still, if affordable housing is in the broad public interest than the broad public should be paying for it. And not just one small group who happens to be at the mercy of permitting process.
How will these fees will actually be spent? By building affordable housing ourselves? If so, where? By subsidizing housing? Sounds like a cause I can get behind, but when you ask for money you should have a good plan for how to spend it.
What @4 said. And I'm not "advocating for developers", I'm strongly on the side of adding more affordable housing to the city.

The problem is there is no free lunch. Tax a developer a million dollars a building (is it really that much? damn), and some buildings won't pencil out. That's thousands of units that won't be built, and thousands of households that won't be able to live here. Do you think it's the rich that won't be able to live here? No, it will be the poor.

Rather taxing the thing we actually want (supply), let's just tax everyone equally. And no, that's not just existing homeowners - that includes the landlords of these new buildings. Remember, adding units also increases our tax base and gives us more money to spend.
Or we could just cancel the Sideboondoggle of the Deep Bertha Bakery & Custardfrack and get real by ending tax subsidies for suburban cars to park in Seattle at citizens cost.

That would work- that or finally build a Monorail
And after all of these families move to Seattle where will their children go to school? The City is encouraging greater density and inviting people into the city but isn't providing a dime for infrastructure, like new school construction, that all of those new families will require.

How about tossing some impact fees on top of the linkage fees?
kind of silly to ignore the fact this will raise costs of housing for everyone not in the specific programs. the "economic modelling" isn't rocket science. it's fairly clear that adding to costs, limits supply, the limited supply combined with same demand, jacks up rents and condo prices.

it's like if your utilities go up in a store, and costs of goods, hello, prices go up. this isn't economic modelling. this is basic, basic basic. ignoring it is like ignoring climate change. does the writer even know this basic econ 101 supply demand stuff? and hello, if this doesn't jack up rents, why not add on a 1000000000% impact fee if it's free money? answer, it's not and we know it.
Another article that blames all of Seattle housing issues on tech and makes no mention of the affect forgien "investment" is having.
Poor people -- even moderately poor people -- are not going to be able to afford housing that's built for 80% of AMI. They need housing built for 30-50% of AMI. However, those units aren't going to be built by for-profit developers, there's a limit to how much low-income housing that can be provided by the City, older reasonable-rent apartment buildings are being sold to developers who will build market-rate apartments, and SHA apparently intends to get rid of public housing (and its current tenants.

So let's be real here: Whatever you want to define "affordable" (affordable to whom/), there will continue to be very little housing for low-income people in Seattle -- and actually less as time goes on and more high-income people move to Seattle.
And yes, this article is much less respectful of readers than usual for Anna Minard (who's a very good writer/reporter). It almost descends to Publicola's level of calling things "wonky".
Sometimes the snarkiness of the Stranger hits the right note, but not here. I think if people understood the differential between a reasonable profit, and what current rent models actually mean, this subject of linkage fees would not be difficult to comprehend. The linkage fees target the 50-80% AMI range, which is a huge gap in the houding stock. Market rate developers should be building a percentage of housing as affordable if they want to play in Seattle. If we want a great city, we need to dictate the terms and not just hope it will all work out in the end.

The 0-50% AMI range is, and should be, addressed in a different manner -- this is the housing that state and local funds should handle. For that, a fight for permenant funding of the Housing Trust Fund is in order.

In the mean time, here in Seattle, the linkage fee will address a large problem, quickly. But only if council and the mayor get behind it, and make it go into effect quickly.
I guess I missed the part of the Constitution where it says people have a right to live in the town of their choice, and it's up to the government to make it affordable for them.
15 dear, there is no constitutional clause about being able to live where you want. But, it does behoove a city to have affordable housing - otherwise, where will the janitors, salespeople, secretaries, food people (I.e. the people who make a city run) live? You certainly can't expect the wealthy to do that sort of work. Most of them are inbred and not so bright. They might injure themselves.
There is a FAR better article on this same subject, that went up the SAME day as this one. It can be found over at Smart Growth Seattle:…

And I agree with @15.

I work in Seattle, but live in the Bellevue suburbs. I'd rather live on Lake Washington. Why aren't the housing activists fighting for people like me?
Because we don't want houseboats in the middle of Lake Washington @17
@15: There is no indication whatsoever that the authors of the constitution believed that the rights enumerated in that document were meant to serve as an exhaustive list of all possible goals government might pursue. They made this perfectly clear with both the 9th and 10th amendments.

And, of course, even if this policy works as well as anyone could reasonably hope it would, it would not create a 'right' for low income people to live in the city, as there will certainly be more demand than supply. There has been no suggestion of codifying a such a right.

Finally, if you look at the horrific mess that is traffic and cram-packed peak buses and say "you know what this city needs? even more of Seattle's service workers living outside the city and commuting in every day!" I don't know what to tell you.

Two important facts to inform the debate.

First, bankers will not lend to projects that show a low margin because it is too risky. Most builders are currently just making their spreadsheets work because of the rapid increase in land values and the dramatic increase in construction costs.

So with a new tax of this type, the tax has to get passed on to the new buyer/renter by the builder. Or the project does not get financed so it never gets built.

Second, it is a dirty little secret that the city builds "affordable" housing at tremendous cost-- equivalent to the per square foot cost of a super-premium condo.

So when you put it together, what the city council is really doing is taxing buyers and renters (through higher prices and rents) to provide gold-plated housing to a few very lucky subsidized renters.

Laudable goals, but terribly wasteful public policy.

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