Councilmember Nick Licata
Council shouldn't wait to strengthen affordable housing requirements
Seattle City Councilmembers Nick Licata, Mike O’Brien and Tom Rasmussen today released the following statement on affordable housing requirements in South Lake Union:
Zoning is fundamentally about creating public value. The suggestion that we should not create new affordable housing requirements within the South Lake Union legislation before us risks our ability to meet our housing needs, as well as our social equity and sustainability goals. Rezoning an area with the highest opportunity in our region for development is the perfect time to meet these goals.
Using the City’s existing incentive zoning policy—with a promise to make changes later – misses an important opportunity. It would mean that some projects will proceed under the existing program and still more projects will become vested under the existing rules.
Modest wage workers should be able to live affordably in neighborhoods that offer jobs and amenities, rather than sitting through long, polluting commutes. Ensuring sufficient affordable housing in South Lake Union will positively impact environmental sustainability, workforce retention, social equity, as well as strengthen our local economy.
The current incentive zoning approach in South Lake Union will not meet our region’s goals for growth and affordability. Let’s not make the mistake of the past of settling for programs that don’t do enough. Now is the time to create a better future for our City and our citizens by voting to increase the public value – with strengthened affordable housing requirements - at the same time we increase the private value of these properties.