Guest Editorial: Seattle Businesses, Please Help Us Fix Our Land Use Problems

Comments

1

The author has enough physical similarity to a young Sherman Alexie that I think we should ignore whatever he has to say #2018

2

More right wing libertarian blather from a vey confused and ignorant person. Hey, if I wanted to subscribe to the Koch newletter, I would. Every last word of this guy’s article is false, inaccurate, a lie. Every single word.

3

@2:

You've made the assertion - what is your evidence?

4

Can we also address Wash. State's broken tax code? Maybe even first?

Seems equally, if not more, germane.

5

Our housing problems are fundamentally come from a housing shortage, and our city government has strict limits on how much housing we can build. So, um, loosen those limits?

I'm curious how much of our homeless problem is caused by our council refusing to acknowledge this.

6

So lovely of them to want this conversation... now. After they threw out one of the dumbest ideas from a council known to have plenty of em.

Want to be taken seriously? Get your arguments together ahead of time rather than just dumping your purse out in front of everybody.

7

In the absence of capital controls, much of this "housing" will just turn into storage for speculative money. We are at far more risk of turning into Vancouver than San Francisco.

A simpler answer: if you are a business actually worried about housing costs and you plan to import 40,000 workers and their partners from outside the city, how about planning residences along with your office towers rather than just hoping the city can magically add more units than any comparably sized American city has ever added in a year.

8

At some point a city has to realize it has reached it's population capacity. If you destroy all of the single homes and replace with multi unit buildings you end up with an array of street canyons; the only ones getting any sunlight are at the top. In addition transportation gets to be overly complex and even more expensive. Yes, there is a homeless population and they deserve to be sheltered but they do not all have to live in Seattle; service providers can be spread around too As for job access, most of these jobs will be in the hi-tech area; a place where most homeless will never be able to get to anyhow. By all means provide decent housing but spread it around.

9

@8: Not necessarily:

http://andrewlax.net/2016/08/06/setback-basics-new-york-city-zoning-code/

10

@7: "A simpler answer: if you are a business actually worried about housing costs and you plan to import 40,000 workers and their partners from outside the city, how about planning residences along with your office towers rather than just hoping the city can magically add more units than any comparably sized American city has ever added in a year."

I'm curious, why do you think large employers are exempt from zoning/land-use restrictions on building housing?

11

Single family homes remain widespread in existing multi-family zones:

http://www.seattle.gov/dpd/toolsresources/zoningmapbooks/default.htm

So, what's with the assumption that zoning changes would lead to an increase in housing?

I mean, if the city council passed a resolution today making the entire city LR3 or denser, is there an expectation that a large number of affluent homeowners are going to instantly tear down their homes to put up apartment buildings for low income families?

12

“In the midst” of an affordability crisis.

That’s what you call either stupidity or denial. Unless Amazon goes away this is the new reality.

Building a bunch of new luxury towers instead of those ranch-style homes is not going to make anything more affordable.

Why is it that living in houses is still the most affordable way to get by?

You’re asking for the tenements of decay, for the projects of the rust belt.

13

Vancouver and NYC have an affordability problem too. Waiting to hear when they build SFHs in Stanley Park and Central Park to solve it permanently.

14

13, will you kindly explain to all of these struggling, overburdened college grads exactly who lives in projects?

16

Not everyone wants to live in an apartment condo complex. Single family homes are still needed, for families - imagine that.

17

There has been tons of upzoning in Ballard and there are many many empty apartments here. Many many townhomes and apodments - all the types of housing you are talking about. Many are still empty. This is because they are not affordable to alot of people - so upzoning hasn't been the magic panacea you urbanists continually claim it is.

18

The more I think about this issue, the more I really don't have a fucking clue. It's supply, it's wages, it's cost of construction, it’s lending rules, it’s interest rates, it's speculation, and peppered amongst the other half-dozen influences I can't get my head around that probably include tidal tables I run into THIS fun fact coming to your city soon—

San Francisco rents have risen at a steady 6.6% since 1956. There’s been a handful of spikes and plateaus, but overall, a 6.6% line. “6.6 percent is 2.5 percentage points faster than inflation, which doesn’t seem like a lot but when you do it for 60 years in a row it means housing prices quadruple compared to everything else you have to buy.”* Sigh.

Think vacancy rates are a direct indicator of housing prices? I mean, I get why Miami and Honolulu have high vacancy and high prices, but the lowest metro vacancy rates in California are in... Fresno?
http://www.governing.com/topics/urban/gov-metro-housing-vacancy-rates-2017.html

*https://medium.com/@andersem/a-guy-just-transcribed-30-years-of-for-rent-ads-heres-what-it-taught-us-about-sf-housing-prices-bd61fd0e4ef9

19

Of all the possible ways we can increase our housing supply, taking on the single-family neighborhoods is the most painful way to add the smallest amount of new housing, in the least convenient of locations, and with the greatest prospect of failure.

Cary Moon suggested doing this. How’d that work for her?

21

@15 The point of upzoning is to provide options. We shouldn't force people to bulldoze homes just because they have a specific zoning type. It's obvious that people won't be building 10 story buildings in Lake City just because the zoning allows it. But upzoning allows land owners to make good decisions.

And conversely, it means landowners are less likely to be forced by financial realities to tear down perfectly good houses in the urban villages. Instead, people are more likely to focus on redeveloping houses that are truly at the end of their useful life, since they're no longer limited to only tearing down houses in a small part of the city.