City Hall

Council Considers New Affordable Housing Proposal

The Seattle City Council considers a new affordable housing proposal.

By Erica C. Barnett July 29, 2014

A new City Council resolution, which acknowledges that the city expects to add around 70,000 new housing units over the next two decades—of which more than 40 percent need to be affordable to individuals or families making less than 80 percent of the Area Median Income—calls on mayor Ed Murray to "work collaboratively on the development of a Comprehensive Housing Strategy that will seek to support the overall development of housing in Seattle and ensure the availability of more affordable housing for the residents of the City over the next five to ten years."

Specifically, the resolution calls on the council and mayor to appoint a "Comprehensive Housing Strategy" that establishes:

  • current and estimated development of housing units, as articulated in the City’s Comprehensive Plan;

  • current and estimated needs for affordable housing;

  • current and estimated funding for housing programs and expected production

    from such funding;

  •  existing programs or policies and expected availability of housing from such

    programs; and

  • recommendations concerning new programs or policies for housing production

    • and preservation and/or revisions to existing programs.

City council member Sally Clark, who runs the housing committee (which is overseeing the housing resolution), says the city is trying to think about "what have we not considered," in terms of sites for affordable housing, and adds that in venues like Columbia City's The Royal Room, "it comes down to an executable plan in the city." 
It's unclear whether the plan—which amounts to a city council resolution—will lead to action on the city's part. Development advocate Roger Valdez, who lobbies the city on behalf of Smart Growth Seattle, says he's heartened by Clark's willingness to consider more density in low-rise zones, but believes that the resolution doesn't go far enough to promote tall, dense development in Seattle neighborhoods.
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