Teresa Mosqueda Is Taking on Seattle’s Apartment Ban Using This Year’s Budget



Duplex defines depressing.


We just need three things:

No parking requirements if within 3 blocks of transit. Ever.
Restore the pre-1933 zoning that treated all residential zoning as MFH up to six stories, everywhere in the city. This was specifically created to redline (read: racist zoning) Seattle and keep ethnic minorities "in their place".
Create up to six standard apartment buildings with streamlined zero-challenge zero-review permitting. This allows builders to say "I'm doing 6MFH-1 apartment in a 3 lot" and it literally gets approved and inspected in a fast manner. No neighborhood review.

There, problem solved.

P.S.: How are you liking my 40-110 story Seattle, by the way?


Seattle doesn't have an apartment "ban". Seattle just upzoned areas in 27 neighborhoods to allow apartments and multi family housing to be built higher than ever before. It's still not built out because this just happened. In my area the builders seem to be choosing townhomes over building apartments. It could be because there are tons of vacant apartments right now and there is more demand out there for townhomes.


I'm fine with up-zoning as long as people don't bitch about gentrification. If you up-zone, the neighborhood is going to go through a substantial change. Property values will go up, which will often displaces low-income renters as landowners pass on property tax costs to tenants. New retail spaces often contain more expensive restaurants and shops than the ones that were previously there.


@3 - it's not a bunch of "grumpy old people" that don't like it. My single family neighborhood is filled with young families that have kids. When you have kids you will find that you would like the option of living in a single family home in one of these neighborhoods. We need many housing types in Seattle and it turns out we already have many types as evidenced by this article from the Washington Post: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2015/09/21/the-most-popular-type-of-home-in-every-major-american-city-charted/?utm_term=.6ec568fb2d4e


Two bedroom portion of house, covered walkway, parking - 1530.

Studios in newer buildings two blocks away - 1600 -> 1800 -> 2300 -> contact for price.

How does the “green” math work? How long does it take to offset the demolition and construction costs? Is the “carbon saved” by the building calculated as though the tenants were all previously living at the (max carbon output of the previous unit / arbitrary number of people)?

I don’t see how a small number of affordable units(or just paying a fee) can offset the lack of affordability introduced.

A little less luxury would go a long way.


@4 All zoning that isn't single family zoning = 13% of Seattle's land area. The upzones (and their associated fees) happened within that 13%. Half of our population lives in that 13%. The apartment ban is on the other 87% of Seattle, where the other half live.

@5, @7. You have your causation backward. Building housing does not increase prices. When prices increase it makes sense to build housing. Think of this in simpler terms, like if we're banning apple farms on 87% of our land, where you're only allowed to grow a single apple tree per acre. When you end the ban, prices of apples absolutely go down.


No, I just told you that if $15/hr goes through there would be, and I quote, “starving, shit-covered people everywhere”.


Not if these are new super magical apples that cost way more than the previous apple.

I mean, I just gave you the numbers.

Good day.


@3: Families with kids need SFH.


@12: My family when I was a kid, as well as give or take half the other families with kids in the neighborhood, did just fine with apartments in triple deckers. (Which then, as it would be now, was quite handy, because not all families with kids can remotely afford single family houses.)


@12 Average family size in Seattle is almost exactly 2. Single family homes are roughly half of our housing stock. There's a hell of a lot of singles and couples in SF homes. Which is fine - it's their right to live how they want. But why are we using the rule of law to force 87% of our land to be SF homes?

You have a family and want a SF home - great. Still an option, even when we allow apartments.


@14: Sure. That doesn't negate my point. People like options.


Why? Did Jeff Bezos tell her to?

Fuck Theresa Mosqueda and the entire Amazon ass-licking Democratic Party.


@16 People with the wherewithal to take advantage of the option to rent or own a single family house will continue to have that option - single family houses are still allowed under residential zoning that also, too, allows apartments. And people whose options are limited to a home in something more affordable than single family houses will thereby also get the option to live in areas of the city currently walled off to them by force of law today.


@19: Provided we don't eliminate SFH or severely cut it back, I think we're in agreement.


I’m selling “I don’t brake for urbanists” bumper stickers if anyone wants one.


Vancouver Canada built more units than needed to accommodate the number of people that moved there in the last decade. It did not matter for affordability. Without restrictions on money laundering, speculation and short-term rentals, re-zoning will lead to short-term displacement, with no corresponding increase in long-term affordability.


@22- what matters is whether Vancouver built enough housing to account for the demand, not just the number of people who moved there. I understand that there is a lot of foreign investment demand up there, which is taking up some of the new places. Also, if there were a significant number of people doubling up or not moving out of their parents' place, etc. because they couldn't find places to live, then the demand for new housing is likely more than just the actual count of new people moving into the area.

Speculation doesn't necessarily mean that homes are empty. Lots of speculators rent them out in order to have an income stream while they hope the values are going up. Here in Seattle, I am not aware of any significant number of houses or apartments being kept empty by "speculators." And the houses being used as short term rentals here has got to still be fairly small relative to the overall housing stock.


@12, "need" seems a bit strong. Plenty of families live very happily in apartments, row houses, semi-detached houses, duplexes, triplexes, etc. Not everyone can or wants to maintain a yard. More options for families of all sizes and incomes, in Wallingford and elsewhere, would be a very good thing for this city.


if it's such a good idea start with Magnolia.


I wonder what kind of duplex/triplex Mosqueda lives in.

Seattle City Council=why we can't have nice things.


@22 Agreed.
"Without restrictions on money laundering, speculation and short-term rentals, re-zoning will lead to short-term displacement, with no corresponding increase in long-term affordability."

The rapid pace of 'development' in Seattle has included these three serious issues, and also includes the "Washington as the Caymen Islands" effect - that is, the 1% buying up properties in our city/state so that they can 'live' in a state with no income tax, and then actually living in at least 4-5 other states, with equally splendid homes.

While the King County homeless may have only a piece of sidewalk, or be behind some bushes or under the freeway, the uber-wealthy may have 4 houses sitting absolutely empty at any one time, while they spend three months in Washington State/Seattle to claim residency. Then their spacious, lovely Seattle home is empty at, say, Hunts Point, Medina, Windemere, Laurelhurst or Washington Park for the other 9 months while they truly live elsewhere.

There isn't so much a housing problem as there is a DISTRIBUTION problem. After all, Bill Gates' family occupies 40,000 sq feet in Medina while the family is in Seattle - couldn't that just be "a home for homeless nerds"?! 😁😁 And the Gates's have huge houses stashed all around the country, for only occasional use.


What we need to consider is parks and open space for families and kids. I am OK with changing the structure of SFN's or however you want to label them as long as funds are allocated to make them family friendly. It's a win win IMHO. Kids need parks to play in and safely play as well as safe access to schools. Vancouver did this to make it's downtown core more family friendly and we have that opportunity to plan wisely going forward.


@27- I'd be curious to see your sources for all of these 1%-ers who are leaving houses vacant in Seattle.


Not to be too fussy, but:
A) Seattle DPD estimated in 2014 that there is development capacity for 223,000 more housing units under the zoning current then. That is alot. That suggests that the desire to eliminate SF zoning is motivated at least partly by other than a desire to simply increase housing supply.
B) "Square acres" is a redundancy. (Pedantic, I know)


@28, "What we need to consider is parks and open space for families and kids."

We, that still have single family homes, call it a yard. Living in the umpteenth floor of some apartment/condo, prison cell with perks, where most of your time outside is commuting is no way to bring up a family. Ah hell, get rid of that single family home blight.


@30 "That suggests that the desire to eliminate SF zoning is motivated at least partly by other than a desire to simply increase housing supply."

Yes. Desegregation.


@31 Triple deckers, also known as stacked flats, typically have yards. That's because three homes - 3 2BR +/- 1,000 square foot homes, one on top of the other is a common configuration - are stacked rather than spread. So the footprint on a lot is not any larger than many or most single family houses.

But since the cost of expensive urban land is divided among 3 rather than 1 household, the homes are much more affordable!


What I was talking about was your own yard, garden and even a backdoor. No negotiating over yard space during the summer weekends or what you want to grow or having to pick up after your neighbors. Its like a time sharing your own home. Personally I like place that's your space every day of the year and walking out the backdoor and not seeing any neighbors who are making me feel like I'm infringing on their rights.


P.S. Communal living sucks. Communal kitchens are worse but your yard will become the same kind of battlefield. You can't pick your neighbors in a triplex and if you don't like them your stuck. In a single family home you may not like your neighbors but their not on your property.


@32: That makes perfect sense to me. Look at the evidence. Dense areas of big cities, say Manhattan or central Chicago, have totally achieved desegregation, no? That said, I do think the city needs to become significantly more densely built to accommodate the almost certain population increase over the next several decades. The Urban Villages up-zones and HALA are good first steps. It would not hurt to increase the allowable size and adjust the parting requirements downward for the multifamily and mixed use zones outside the urban villages. If you travel around the city much you will notice that there is significant disinvestment in the housing stock on arterial streets in SF zones. Seattle was laid out in the horse and carriage era, before arterial traffic was an issue. Those streets could be up zoned to higher density to encourage investment. The suburban cities can do a lot to increase density. Kirkland in the north has a pretty nice mix of apartments and SF houses and a nice business district. Burien in the south has a wildly different slice of the socioeconomic pie, but is making great strides towards a nice mix of apartments and houses and a nice business district. (Hold your snottiness there, please). Sleepy old West Seattle where I live has seen maybe 10,000 MF housing units built in the last decade. I think it has made it a much nicer place to live by bringing in a younger and more diverse crowd, and all the businesses that follow. My point is let's take a surgeons knife instead of a sledgehammer to the problem. Eliminating all SF zones will be an epic and bitter battle of decades. It will make the current Trump impeachment battle looks like a genteel badminton match. It is an ideological goal, not a pragmatic density increasing measure.
Oh yeah, and transportation. god help us there.


@36 " Eliminating all SF zones will be an epic and bitter battle of decades."

It already has been."Racial and Economic Exclusionary Zoning: The Beginning of the End?" was written (optimistically it turns out) by the guys who coined the term in 1971. (Available online if you Google it)

But the state of Oregon and City of Minneapolis already have, so we're getting there!


mixing climate change in with this issue? really? what's funny about all of this is that by the time the city does upzone everything and housing does become more affordable, all of the Democrats will be old without any children to enjoy it with. Meanwhile conservatives continue to breed without fear of climate change or anything related to raising children. I guess the future of housing in Seattle and the world for that matter belong to conservatives.