Developers Sue to Make Seattle More Developer-Friendly

They Call a Law Promoting More Affordable Housing "Extortion"

Comments

1
Welcome to the New Paradigm.

When developers had ties to the places they built in, there was probably a lot more incentive to create housing residents living in those locations could afford; nowadays they don't give a fuck, because, hey, they don't live here, they have no vested interest in anything but maximizing the profit on whatever they put up - and if most of the people who live there can't afford it, well, fuck them, losers.
2
" not willing to do their fair share,"

Depends how you define 'fair' I guess.
3
It's Kristallnacht on Developers!
4
And of course the real working poor -- hundreds of thousands of people -- can't come close to affording that "moderate" $1300 apartment, so they're all gone either way.
5
If that's their attitude, just drop the height bonus program entirely and make them all apply through the contract rezone process if they want to exceed current zoning.

Easy peasey.

6
"But if the developers challenging these rules opposed the higher fees, they certainly didn't tell the city last year—no one spoke against the rules at the numerous public meetings and hearings, and O'Brien said the one person who contacted him in opposition declined his offer to meet and discuss it."

Where did this come from? I went to one of the hearings and waited 3 hours with other people to have our 3 minutes to speak. Sure, there were opinions from both sides, but I can't think of many issues that had more public input. Here's a well written letter Dan Bertole… sent at the time to the entire council.
7
@4: Hey--split six ways it's only ~$220 apiece. And there's plenty of room, since half the residents will be working the third shift and hot-bunking with the guys who work during the day.
9
You know what's easy? Upzone more of the city and allow more housing supply to be built... It doesn't even have to be height-- it can be upzoned density or allowing more accessory dwelling units or more townhouses or a million other options. Just fucking do it and let tens of thousands of new housing units bloom!

And while we're at it let's spend some money on some real rapid mass transit that's grade separated.
10
Why does everyone ask "who the eff can afford these?" It's a no-fucking-brainer: Some young couple working at Amazon or Microsoft or Russell Investments or whatever.

If your household makes $52,000/year in gross income or more, $1,300 is totally affordable. (30% of gross income.)

But wait-- it gets better!!

Pretty soon the minimum wage in Seattle will be $15. If you have a job, you'll have $31,200 in gross income. And if you have a significant other with a job, well, PRESTO BLAMO WHAMO! You then have $62,400 in gross income and you can afford one of these apartments!!

It's not rocket science, it's fucking arithmetic!

11
What @9 said. Imagine the money everyone's about to waste on lawyers, all to effectively restrict the number of homes developers are allowed to build.
12
Facking koontz!

We've had a BMR program here a long time that it sounds a lot like this is mirroring. Optimistically, it's... well intentioned.
13
Rental housing would be plenty more affordable if developers didn't have to provide showers or tubs. Tenants can shower at the gym. And tenants can eat out or order in -- they don't need no expensive kitchettes! Micro-Rights for Micro-Tenants!! Heck -- Micro-Rights for All Tenants!
14
By this logic, do all zoning regulations violate developers' "Constitutional rights"?
15
@6 Sorry if it's not clear, Matt: The extension of the new fees into downtown from SLU is what these developers are suing over. That happened through a separate, later ordinance, which faced no opposition at its own committee and council meetings and land-use public hearing. These developers surely knew the fee raise was being extended into downtown via an ordinance and apparently did not want to have this conversation then.
16
The opposition to these common sense measures is mind-boggling. We're in a city where we legislate that employers should offer paid sick leave, we're considering increasing the minimum wage, we regulate housing and rentals to protect certain classes of people -- and yet, somehow, the same language used to oppose such measures is co-opted to forward a pro-developer agenda to claim that this is the only way we'll get housing built?

Don't raise the wage or job creators won't hire as many people! Don't implement paid sick leave because employers will flee! Don't require affordable housing or we'll never build enough housing!

In the midst of a legitimate housing crisis we are essentially being faced with an anti-regulatory drumbeat that pretends rather hideously that they're just looking out for lower income and middle-class residents. Take away regulations on developers and they'll increase supply! They'll keep rents from increasing!

So naturally let's just cut back on affordable housing requirements and height regulation because the developers say it's "extortion" and keeps them from building more housing -- it's our fault that we don't have enough housing. We're depressing the jobhousing-creators!

Well, look at what they're doing. Instead of participating in the public process in a sign of good faith they're trying to sue laws out of existence. Rather than open lobbying they're lawyering up.

The economics might work in theory but the praxis at work here is more of the same failed economics at work in conservative places that value turning over a quick buck over the needs of their community. What I'm saying is that, for all their bluster and all the urbanist puffery it just seems to be another effort to make life easier for developers without first addressing the pressing needs that we recently saw during our recent one night count.

Affordable housing requirements and other incentives aren't a game used to make developers perform for our pleasure -- they exist because developers, if given a chance, will not otherwise make a concerted effort to be good neighbors and contribute to solutions to a pressing need for people who otherwise are not profitable to them. Let me restate this: these are not a game, they are good faith agreements with the community at large that say developers are not in here to get a fast buck and dump it into unaffordable project after unaffordable project.

It's patently ridiculous that this "well, your regulations are why there are people in tents beside I-5 -- they hold down jobs and supplies" argument is being lodged without awareness of location or local ethic. It's offensive to assume every effort to scrutinize developments or require a socially conscious trade-off is some kind of NIMBY screwjob.

On the other hand we can safely read into this lawsuit that affordable housing -- here deemed "extortion" -- is far off developers' radars. Even a generous reading makes it sound like working to create affordable housing is painful to developers.

We, the citizens, are supposed to trust that? We're supposed to assume that the better angels of economics are going to come down and cleanse these shady maneuvers because, Friedman Bless, the market will save the day?

We are supposed to assume that in a land of finite bank financing and sometimes erratic economic conditions that the market won't intervene when supply comes close to the theoretical threshold that begins easing the tensions? We should assume that developers won't see market saturation as against their interests?

There are so many aspects of development in Seattle that are befuddling to market interests, but in the end developers aren't any more holy than the GOP's beloved "job creators" -- they're neighbors. And if they want to be good neighbors they need to be socially neutral or better and not in tension with a community's efforts at protecting its interests -- and in Seattle that means moving toward social justice.

Don't get me wrong through all this: I love tall buildings. I'd love upzones all around Seattle, even! But I am absolutely against this fingers-crossed "kill all the regulations and let the market sort the dead" approach that promises that all the numbers are right and the economic stars are aligned and unchecked development will be enough to keep Seattle from becoming an unaffordable city for anyone but Microsofties, engineers and so on. Holding a gun to our head and blaming us and our regulations is just not moral. And suing to get around our regulations? That's just a dick move.

C'mon, developers. Be good neighbors. If you were, if you were sincerely interested in Seattle's residents, its working poor, its near-fatally poor, its homeless and everything else that makes us a city and not a corporate sandbox, if you really cared, then I'm sure that'll get all the favorable regulations you want. Work on passing progressive measures to fund more low income housing, donate more time and energy, put your money where your mouth is and then maybe you'd see neighborhoods happy to have you and advocates clamoring to testify on your behalf.

Or just be really awful corporate stereotypes and walk around asking why people in this city are oppressing you.
17
@15 That's a pretty narrow interpretation of "they certainly didn't tell the city last year". By that point the city had already spoken very clearly about their intent. I assume by then they'd already started the legal battle.
18
Yes, O'Brien is very experienced with leading a charge head-first into the wall of the legal system. Like Honey Badger, he just doesn't seem to care. He thinks he some sort of above the law bad ass. Probably due to his bicycle riding.

http://seattletimes.com/html/localnews/2…
Appeals court rules against Seattle's curbs on yellow pages

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Monday that Seattle can't limit distribution of yellow-pages phone books with an opt-out registry or charge a fee to publishers.

http://seattletimes.com/html/localnews/2…
Seattle’s failed yellow-pages fight may cost $500K

The city of Seattle has tentatively agreed to pay $500,000 to settle a lawsuit brought by publishers of the yellow-pages phone books.

The panel ruled unconstitutional a city law that created an opt-out registry for unwanted phone books and charged the publishers a disposal fee for recycling costs.

City Councilmember Mike O’Brien, who championed the measure as a way to reduce waste and the disposal costs to the city, said he couldn’t comment on negotiations to settle the lawsuit because they were still ongoing.
20
The incentive zoning has always been political window dressing to give cover to rezones- which anyone who understands supply and demand knows is a good thing for affordability over the long run, including most members of our city council. The rezone is a benefit to affordability, not a cost to be mitigated. The difference between $15 and $20 is not earthshaking. The developers should go with the flow and hope that we don't ever regulate housing production like SF does, which in many cases is the equivalent of $50/ sf across the ENTIRE building, not bonus area, because it's inclusionary across all units. The outcome is insane housing prices.
21
@16 Baconcat: These "common sense measures" will do nothing for Seattle's 3000+ homeless. They would subsidize a downtown apartment for a person who makes about $50,000/year.

I assume you like density because you understand that it's a sustainability solution. So why do you think it's a good idea to encumber its production with fees for affordable housing? Why not look for other sources of that subsidy that don't penalize those who are part of the solution? For example, wouldn't it make a lot more sense to ask those who benefit from inefficient use of scarce city land (i.e. single family home owners) to pay for the public benefit of affordable housing?

Lastly, can you cite where you've seen someone claim that increasing the supply of market-rate housing alone will provide housing affordable to everyone? All the people I know who are advocating for supply also are also very much aware that subsidy will still be required for the lowest income levels. But we also know that subsidy is a massive expense, and the more we keep prices in check with supply, the farther our limited housing subsidy dollars will go to helping those most in need.

http://citytank.org/2013/09/26/we-should…
22
Add housing supply and prices will go down. Price control schemes DO NOT WORK and it is the undersupply that makes housing prices rise- Its just like cigarettes and alcohol- you tax something and more it more expensive you get LESS of it, not more. But that would make too much sense and would give politicians something to brag about....
23
@22

Tear down existing affordable units to build new higher income ones and rents will NOT go down.

Never have, never will.
24
@23 Sure, if you're replacing 1-to-1. But even replacing 2-to-1 and you've allowed more household to afford to live in Seattle. If you think outlawing high-end units will make the rich move away, you're wrong. They'll just buy the slightly-less-high-end units and drive up the prices on those.
25
@16 "Well, look at what they're doing. Instead of participating in the public process in a sign of good faith they're trying to sue laws out of existence. Rather than open lobbying they're lawyering up."

Have you ever tried reasoning with the sort of NIMBY that participates in the public process? They froth at the mouth at the prospect of raising building heights from 30' to 40'.

Here's the story the way it's always been, using a scale of 0 to 10:
NIMBYs want 0. Developers want 10. City council votes somewhere between 4-6. Life goes on. Someday you die.

26
The Stranger should get a hold of some developer pro formas (as should Council) to establish the veracity of all these claims.

The libertarian free-market rhetoric should be checked...
27
@24,

Please provide a real world example (outside of the Dan Bertolet/Atlantic Monthly/Seattle Transit Blog's theoretical mythical New Urbanist city of CircleJerkistan) where this has actually happened.

I can certainly provide a local example of the opposite phenomena - the UW dorm expansions. They've redeveloped lots of older rooms in the SW Campus area and replaced them with a larger number of units that rent for about 1/3 or so more. Has the average rent for a UW dorm room gone up or down as a result? (Hint - it's UP!)

Bonus question - after they've replaced the rest of their so-called "legacy" dorms with a similarly larger number of new and more expensive ones, will dorm rents be lower or higher?

(Oh, and private landlords in the UD aren't exactly lowering rents now that the UW has added dorm rooms, either.)

28
@25: Do you take pabulum to swallow that analysis?
29
Anna Minard--Can you post the Complaint (or a link to it)? Thanks.
30
@21--Dan, re "I assume you like density because you understand that it's a sustainability solution." I'd like to see your response to https://newscenter.berkeley.edu/2014/01/… ("Suburban sprawl cancels carbon-footprint savings of dense urban cores") I have the full study; let me know if you need it.

Also, single family owners do pay. It's called the Housing Levy. The 2009 update passed with almost 66% yes vote.
31
@27 I think the problem in your question is "as a result". You're confusing correlation with causation. Builders build when rents rise. But rents don't rise because they built. The real example you should be looking for is the before and after effects of an upzone.

@30 the conclusion of that article is the opposite of what you think it is. They're trying to say that the carbon footprint of sprawl is so bad that it cancels that of urban cores. From the article: "The average carbon footprint of households living in the center of large, population-dense urban cities is about 50 percent below average, while households in distant suburbs are up to twice the average." The answer is to bring more people into the center. I pointed this out to you in another forum.
32
#31,

The hell rents don't rise "because they're built" - an old apartment building that is owned free and clear rents for a lot less than the new one that replaces it, especially since
someone had to pay for the land, build the building, and then add a few bucks onto the subsequent rent so they can realize a nice profit. Oh, and since all of the old units that had cheaper rents are now gone, that drives the average rent up, as well.

For someone who purports to be an expert on economics, that's a pretty big fail.
33
...and these upzones which this lawsuit treats as a god-given right are in no way that - they are a public gift of value to developers who bought the land with open eyes and the current zoning. Damn right the City ought to leverage that gift - and the fees these crybaby developers are suing over were still quite low compared to those charged in comparable cities.

34
@31--And I think you're way off base. Identify the city that does not have suburbs canceling out all or most carbon benefits of a dense core. Name one.

Furthermore, I'm not mis-reading Jones and Kammen, you are. No where do the authors suggest that the solution to GHG emissions is to increase the density in the core. Not once. To the contrary, as reported in the non-pay wall press release: "Increasing population density alone, for example, appears not to be a very effective strategy for reducing emissions. A 10-fold increase in population density in central cities corresponds to only 25 percent lower greenhouse gas emissions, and “high carbon suburbanization results as an unintended side effect,” Jones said." The discussion of the issue in the study starts, "As a policy measure to reduce GHG emissions, increasing population density appears to have severe limitations and unexpected trade-offs."

You say "The answer is to bring more people into the center. I pointed this out to you in another forum." You have not provided any factual or analytical support for this "answer" whatsoever. I have pointed out to you, in another forum, that the answer is to move toward a steady state economy because the ecology (same root) cannot stand much more growth. It's not sustainable.
35
Extortion. Incredible. Whatever disparaging name or accusation righties and monied interests (usually one and the same) throw at someone is what they themselves are and are doing, without fail. We’re going to become another unaffordable San Francisco pretty quick if we don’t stop this. Does Smith even have standing to sue?? I’m very glad that O’Brien is overseeing this. I hope our mayor follows his lead.

Dan Bertolet, making a profit is not being “part of the solution.” It’s merely making a profit for one’s self or outfit, and, in this case, at the whole city’s expense. Availability of affordable housing doesn’t affect just homeless. It benefits everybody who doesn’t have $250,000 coming in every year (I won’t even say “earn”), and there are a lot more of us than “3,000 homeless.”

No more Mr. Nice Guy, Councilman O’Brien. Some people don’t respect that.
36
@32 Yes, the trivial answer is that the exact property that was upgraded goes up in rent. But we're talking about rents overall. And overall new units relieve upward rent pressure caused by demand. There are not any new renters in the area thanks to new construction, but there are more units.

@34 "steady state" is not a sustainable option. I think you know that, as you know the business-as-usual models of climate change. Every new unit built in a city represents a household not moving to the suburbs.
37
@34 "steady state" is not a sustainable option." Why do you equate "steady state" with BAU; that's ridiculous and not at all what I meant, and I think you know that. Your dismissive post is so absurd as to be hard to respond. All I can do is ask, What do you think is sustainable? And let's have some real facts and cogent analysis, not generalities.
39
@30 (TobyinFremont)

"Also, single family owners do pay. It's called the Housing Levy. The 2009 update passed with almost 66% yes vote."

Every property owner pays this. And when the property owner is a landlord, he passes some portion (or all) of it on to his tenants.

Please don't perpetuate the canard that only homeowners pay property taxes. We all do. (And the housing levy is a great program. But it ought to be twice as large.)
40
@35 "We’re going to become another unaffordable San Francisco pretty quick if we don’t stop this. "

San Francisco is probably the most anti-new development, anti-developer city in the nation. It's housing is the 2nd most expensive in the nation as a direct result of its policies post-WWII. (Limited building heights, rent control, mandatory inclusive zoning or fees, etc.) (NYC, of course, is the most expensive, but that's because it's basically a magnet for worldwide wealth.)

Seattle would be wise not to follow San Francisco's lead. We ought to upzone AND increase the minimum wage and the housing levy. Reduce income disparity and let all the housing units the market demands be built.

41
@39--I was not "perpetuating the canard that only homeowners pay property taxes." I was responding to Dan B's canard that homeowners don't pay any taxes in support of low income housing. Read my comment. I agree the rate should be higher, but the higher it gets, the more we need to be careful of impacts on and/or provide relief for low/fixed income homeowners themselves.
42
@40--All thriving cities are "magnets for wealth." Upzoning will not stop the impacts of that fact. Neighborhoods in every city—NYC included—fight against inappropriate development and gifts of the commons to developers and large corporations (like NYU).

You cannot "Reduce income disparity" at the same time as you empower the wealthy who are the real beneficiaries of growth. You can't be a social justice liberal and a neo-liberal at the same time. A combination of MLK and Milton Friedman? I don't think so.
43
@37 "What do you think is sustainable?" Pulling no new resources from the ground, throwing no new pollution into the air that we aren't actively removing, basically designing our society to exist in a given state perpetually. But that state can't be the current one, America uses far more resources than the Earth can provide sustainably. Our largest source of energy use is from buildings, followed by manufacturing and transportation. Decreasing home size and sharing walls strongly decreases building energy use and manufactured products, and reducing transportation distances is an obvious win for fuels.
44
@42 Urbanization is a productivity machine and rises (almost) all boats. Even teachers in Manhattan make 3x what they do in the rest of the country. Sure, you need a job in the first place, and I'm in favor of almost anything that can reduce the income gap between rich and poor, but restricting buildings doesn't help either of these problems.
45
@43 Close, but not exactly. All living things "pull new resources from the ground" just to keep living. The key is to do so at rates that allow for ongoing extraction over time. I.e., sustainably Some resources, like fresh water, phosphorus, and nitrogen (all essential for agriculture) replenish themselves as a result of natural cycling on a relatively fast scale. But the quantities do have limits. Other resources, like hard rock minerals and metals, not so much; although they don't go away their concentration in the earth's crust and ocean is reduced to a level making it difficult to utilize them (seeentropy). Other resources, like fossil fuels, do not replenish on a time scale relevant to human existence; they are essentially not renewable. (see entropy in spades). The pollution side of the equation is primarily a result of the unsustainable use of resources.

That is all basic ecology, and should be basic economics, but with capitalism we have used the cheap energy of fossil fuels (very high EROI) to unlink the two (economy from ecology). That era is ending, but we have built up a civilization (and population) that assumes the continued existence of cheap energy. It's not just Americans; the entire human enterprise "uses far more resources than the Earth can provide sustainably."

So, how does increasing the amount of consumption of resources by building ever more cities solve that problem? Improving the per capita consumption of resources helps, but it merely delays the downsizing that is inevitable without some magic bullet. The Second Law of Thermodynamics (entropy again) says it ain't gonna happen.

I say we should be working on the adjustment, not frantically building more. (And the "more more more" culture can never solve income and wealth inequities.)
46
"Asking" developers to come up to speed? No, it's telling them, at the tip of the government sword, to "come up to speed."
47
@45 "So, how does increasing the amount of consumption of resources by building ever more cities solve that problem?"

I could ask you the same about suburbs. Except suburbs encourage far more material and energy consumption. The choice isn't building a unit in the city or nothing. It's building a unit in the city or a house in the suburbs.
48
@ 45--"I could ask you the same about suburbs." I'm not promoting building more more more in the suburbs either. Land use planning is not an either/or equation. We need to get out of that polarized thinking.

I'm saying we need to stop endless growth everywhere. Sure we'll have to build more housing, but it should be done deliberately and with far more sensitivity for both the environment and social justice (democratically). Letting developers and their lenders and lawyers drive policy making is none of these.

Read Jones and Kammen: There a point of diminishing returns in GHG reductions from increasing urban density; "As a policy measure to reduce GHG emissions, increasing population density appears to have severe limitations and unexpected trade-offs."
49
@44, "I'm in favor of almost anything that can reduce the income gap between rich and poor, but restricting buildings doesn't help either of these problems." Good for that desire; I am too.

I am not aware of any convincing evidence that allowing unrestricted building reduced the income/wealth gap. Urbanization does not come close to rising all boats. Income and wealth equity are attained by popular economic policies such as a progressive income tax, and by popular political actions, such as limiting the ability of money to buy elections. Are you aware of any evidence that land use policies have some causative relationship to wealth and income equity? The only relationship I know of is that those who own tend to end up owning more.
50
I think these comments may have gotten a little too deep in the weeds here.

This article simply highlights the fact that developers would rather sue our city than let people who make "only" $48,000 rent units in their building without impoverishing themselves.

It is beneficial to our city if our cops and teachers can afford to live in the communities they work. The fee was an easy and mostly painless way to encourage that sort of thing happen. If developers have put forward any better ideas (besides let us build as many overpriced high-rises as possible and magically rents will come down... somewhere else), I have not heard it. All developers of which I am aware have chosen to pay the fee rather than let slightly below median income people rent in their buildings. This suit is just another way of saying they don't care one bit about the wants and needs of the community in which they are operating.

This is not about profitability for the developers, it is about margins. They could add a few units with less granite, less stainless, less cherry, less fancy toilets. They could still make a good living even after allowing a few affordable units in their building. They don't want a good living, they want every scrap they can get.
51
waiting for the pundits in single family homes to move into apartments...
52
@50, I don't think the discussion is too deep in the weeds, but addresses some of the root causes that are behind why this is happening, and why developers should not be dictating land use policy via these types of actions, via deregulation, lack of enforcing what we have via exemptions and counterproductive tax breaks, or suing it out of existance, based upon false pretenses and assumptions.

I was never a fan of these fees. The city has not really done much with them to make up for what they have given up control over. 9 out of 10 times, the developer will pay the fee, and no substaintial affordable housing has come from it.

Just make them reserve a percentage of their units for affordablilty, period. The rents of those units should not be allowed to be measured by what may be affordable in 10-15 years, but right now, as was done under Nickles.

The developers are afraid that allowing that "riff raf" in their buildings, will impact the maximum rents/purchase prices they can extract.

Seattle has become the wild west for developers over the past 10-15 years. They pay little to nothing to mitigate their impact. Other cities don't allow this, which is one reason why their focus is here.

The bottom line is we have already lost far more affordable housing than has been created. This type of fee is not doing it, or offsetting it, but has become an excuse NOT to do it.
53
@34 I think the point lost on Bertolet and his ilk is that unaffordable housing actually forces people to move out from the inner density to less expensive areas nearby. And that density cancels out any gains by the inner density.

Washington grew 1.103 percent in 2013, adding 76,088 people. It has grown more than 1 percent per year since the Census, and it would not surprise me if most of them are moving to the Seattle Metro area.
http://www.census.gov/popest/data/nation…

Make no mistake, many of these developers are also not residents here. They don't need any incentives to build high end units here. They already never had it so good without incentives.

Developer's continue to see this only as an opportunity to profit from those that move here that are wealthy, because they can't make as much from those who are not wealthy. And as long as they are not complelled to consider the community, they will not. That's how it's always been. And they will do things like intitate lawsuits much more readily if they are not dealt with firmly from the start.
54
@52/53: Nemo, here some basics that appear to be "lost" on you:

Unmet demand is what drives up prices, not the mere existence of expensive housing. New jobs in Seattle are attracting a lot of new people with money who want to live here. Housing development is a response to this demand, NOT the cause of it.

Encumbering housing development with the cost of including below market units will result in higher costs passed on to market-rate renters, and/or a reduction in the amount of housing produced, both of which offset the gains that the subsidized units provide to the lucky few who get one.

Every unit that's added to the urban core means another household that DOES NOT end up in the suburbs. What you are in effect saying is that density causes sprawl, but that claim is just as illogical as it sounds. That's because if the new people in the densifying core did not live there, they would live in a less dense place, i.e. they would contribute to more sprawl.

http://citytank.org/2014/01/30/why-build…
Cutting and pasting, here are ten more reasons why building more housing is a public benefit in itself:

1. Increased supply puts downward pressure on prices throughout the housing market, and that preserves affordability for more households.

2. Because supply enables more households to find an affordable option, limited funds for housing subsidy can go further to provide more financial help for the lowest income households who need it most.

3. More housing means more choices for people to find an affordable housing option that fits their unique needs, such as microhousing.

4. Even expensive new housing helps, because every high-end unit that’s produced absorbs demand from a wealthy consumer who otherwise would be outcompeting those with lower incomes for existing housing.

5. Likewise, even if new housing units are small they still absorb demand, which reduces competition for existing single family houses, and preserves more options for families with children to live in the city.

6. When new housing is provided near good transit, more households have the option to go car free, which significantly reduces household expenses.

7. When new housing is not available, demand will induce renovation of older housing, thereby removing it from the affordable stock.

8. More housing expands the tax base and increases funds available to subsidize housing for the lowest income households through programs such as Seattle’s Housing Levy.

9. The cost and financial risk of building housing falls on private developers and lenders, not on cash-strapped municipalities—social equity is improved with very little public expense.

10. In the bigger picture, increasing housing supply in Seattle supports widely adopted sustainable development goals to address sprawl, energy, and climate change, all of which disproportionately impact the less fortunate, whether at the local, regional, or global scales.

So Nemo, remind me, what exactly are all the negative impacts that you are so concerned about?
55
Seattle is the new San Fran. What we need is rent control.
56
@54,

Head on up to the Issaquah plateau and get back to us about how high-end higher-density development in Seattle prevents sprawl. Bullshit.

@55,

Indeed.

57
Listen... hear that sucking sound. It's China, India and Mexico taking our technical and industrial production jobs which pay decent wages. What's left is low-level health care, food service, retail, arts, hospitality jobs etc. Did you who work these jobs truly think that you would be making high wages working as servants? If you didn't study math, science, engineering, or a skilled trade then you made the wrong choice in education. Live with it.
58
Since so many want Seattle to become more like Europe, I guess that we'll need to build more housing like they do in Europe. One shared bathroom per floor, kitchenette or shared cooking area, and a room just large enough to fit a bed, wardrobe and dresser. Or we can just go full Japanese, throw out the bed and all sleep on mats and dine while sitting on the floor.
59
Since so many want Seattle to become more like Europe, I guess that we'll need to encourage more housing like they do in Europe.

One shared bathroom per floor, kitchenette or shared cooking area, and a room just large enough to fit a bed, wardrobe and dresser.

We could also go Asian style by throwing out the bed, sleep on mats and dine while sitting on the floor. We could build huge skyscrapers full of these units like they do in Seoul.

Wouldn't that be great?
60
@54, In your link: Shoe production? Really? How much has been subsidzed in relation to demand? If it was anywhere near adequate, we would not need to discuss it. You logic is tortured at best. Reality has not agreed with you so far.

Well then, I guess we will all have pitch in and share a unit in Escala... Or move to unicorporated King County.

Very little of the rest of what you claim has actually come about. One reason is so many tax breaks for nothing does not prove the theory correct.
61
Not to mention the fact that these developers are putting up the cheapest buildings possible to maximize profits. What a bummer it's going to be when we wake up in 10 years and realize that everything looks identically shitty.

Just take a look down Dexter Ave or in anywhere in Belltown to see what we have to look forward to in the coming years.
62
Nobody is owed affordable housing. Subsidized housing only makes an even larger shortage because it is cheaper than market. There will never be enough supply of lower than market housing, never, particularly in Seattle.
63
@62,

Nobody is owed an upzone on their developable property. If developers want one, they get to contribute a public good - in this case, affordable housing (though the City's definition of same certainly isn't affordable to most working people, but that's a different subject).

New Urbanists love to wet themselves over Vancouver BC, which requires a much larger proportion of much more affordable housing than Seattle electeds will likely ever have the guts to demand from developers (oops - I mean their campaign funders).

64
@62 -- Basic housing is a widely recognized human right.