Morning Fizz

Planning for Seattle. Tonight!

Caffeinated news featuring plans, proposals, and policy

By Josh Feit May 27, 2015

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1. File this under: Reality check: 

Reporting on Zillow data last week that ranked cities with the sharpest rent increases this year, Q-13 had the bad news that Seattle rents continue to rise—Seattle rents rose 6.2 percent over April 2014. Seattle ranked in the top ten, tying for the sixth spot in a list of the country’s biggest 35 rental markets.

Here’s a footnote for policy staffers trying to keep the city affordable that wasn’t mentioned, though. The two cities at the top of the list, San Francisco and San Jose, with 14.9 and 12.9 percent rent increases respectively, both have “linkage” fees in place—a policy solution that’s currently trending with the mayor, the city council, and lots of city council candidates. (A “linkage” fee charges new development per square foot—the city council is considering a $22 fee—to subsidize affordable housing units.)

Both cities also have rent control in place as well.

2. File this under former mayor Mike McGinn redux:

 City council candidates John Roderick, running in the District Eight at-large spot against city council incumbent Tim Burgess, and Alon Bassok, running in the District Nine at-large open seat, released a Seattle-centric mass transit plan this morning, proposing 75 to 100 miles of grade-separated rail connecting Seattle’s neighborhoods, starting with Ballard and West Seattle lines.

The system, they say, would be built with a 30-year property tax levy that would cost the average household less than $17 a month (or about $200 a year.) After that, operations would be covered by an employer tax, they say.  

Here’s their proposal, which they say will build out the planned streetcar system.

Calling mayor Ed Murray’s pending $930 million transportation levy a “piecemeal” plan and saying “we can’t wait any longer” for Sound Transit, the candidates’ joint statement says: "These lines will supplement, and complement, the lines that Sound Transit builds to connect our region, by connecting our neighborhoods to each other, and to the regional light rail lines. Big cities have regional rail, and neighborhood (municipal) rail. So should Seattle."

3. File this under the PubliCalendar:

Seattle’s Department of Planning and Development is holding an open house at city hall’s Bertha Knight Landes Room from 6pm to 8pm tonight to take comments on the draft 2035 comprehensive plan. The comp plan governs how the city manages new growth—we’re expecting 120,000 new people in the next 20 years—and proposes four options: directing growth to urban hub villages, directing growth downtown, directing growth along light rail lines, or directing growth along light rail and bus lines.

Take a look at the plans here and give your feedback to the planning department tonight.

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