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City of Seattle
Mike McGinn (former Mayor)

SUBJECT: City convenes advisory group to evaluate affordable housing incentives

2/28/2013  4:00:00 PM

City convenes advisory group to evaluate affordable housing incentives
Tom Tierney to serve as chair of advisory group

SEATTLE - Mayor Mike McGinn and Councilmember Richard Conlin today announced the introduction of a resolution directing the Department of Planning and Development and Office of Housing to convene an advisory group to review the City's affordable housing incentive programs.

"In Seattle, we're working to create great communities with access to jobs, parks, libraries and transit. This advisory group will help us look at ways to improve City programs that help our residents be able to afford to live in these neighborhoods," said McGinn.

"It's been several years since we last updated the City's affordable housing incentive programs", said Councilmember Conlin, chair of the land use committee. "With the economy turning around and the housing market strong, now is a good time to re-examine these programs to ensure that they are well calibrated to Seattle's changing market conditions and increasing need for affordable housing in our urban centers and villages."

The advisory group, to be chaired by Tom Tierney, will bring together community members, affordable housing providers, developers and other experts.Along with staff from the City's Department of Planning and Development and Office of Housing, the group will provide strategic guidance around the renewal of the Multi-Family Tax Exemption, recommend changes to the city's affordable housing zoning incentive programs, and recommend an adjustment to the incentive zoning fee-in-lieu formula. Other members of the advisory group will be announced in the coming weeks.

"I'm honored at the opportunity to lead this important effort," said Tierney. "The city's incentive programs have for years provided an important tool for creating affordable housing and I look forward to recommending improvements that will make these programs even more effective. This is a key strategy for moving the city forward and making our neighborhoods more livable."

According to Tierney, the group is slated to begin regular meetings in late March, first conducting a brief review of the MFTE program and then focusing for several months on an analysis of the affordable housing zoning incentive programs. They plan to finalize recommendations by the end of the year. A review of other community benefits provided through the incentive zoning program will follow next year.

Tom Tierney retired last year after more than 8 years as Executive Director of the Seattle Housing Authority. While at SHA, Tierney oversaw redevelopment of projects including the internationally-acclaimed High Point community, Rainier Vista, and the final phases of NewHolly. He also played a key role in the planning for redevelopment of Yesler Terrace. Tierney brings a deep understanding of affordability and development issues as well as expertise in engaging diverse perspectives.

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