With soaring rents, a Seattle advisory group to ensure affordable housing

Capitol Hill residents have had their fair struggle with finding affordable housing, but the mayor says a new advisory group could be the answer to ensuring reasonable rents in desired neighborhoods.

“In Seattle, we’re working to create great communities with access to jobs, parks, libraries and transit,” Mayor Mike McGinn said in a statement on the proposal. “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.”

CHS has reported on various affordable housing projects in the Capitol Hill area, including the redevelopment of KeyBank at 23rd and Union, microhousing projects and the up-and-coming 12th Avenue Arts development that will include units for 30 to 60% of median income households. We also reported on Capitol Hill’s soaring rents last year amidst growing demand for places to live in Seattle’s walkable core. Of course, we’ve also reported on plenty of un-affordable development on the Hill, too.

But it has been years since the city’s affordable housing incentive programs have been updated, according to Council member Richard Conlin, who heads 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,” Conlin said.

The advisory group, which will be chaired by former Seattle Housing Authority director Tom Tierney, will guide the city on issues including the renewal of the Multi-Family Tax Exemption, the affordable housing zoning incentive programs and adjustments to the incentive zoning fee-in–lieu formula, according to the city.

Seattle City Council members Nick Licata, Mike O’Brien and Tom Rasmussen also are urging quick action with a new incentive zoning approach, specifically in South Lake Union.

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6 thoughts on “With soaring rents, a Seattle advisory group to ensure affordable housing

  1. I’d like to live in Magnolia. Could the city council please subsidize some housing over there so that I can afford it?

  2. This is desperately needed, although this article will probably also inspire mean-spirited comments like the many I’ve seen recently on rising rents–comments which ask us to cheerfully move out of the neighborhood we love and have lived in for so long in favor of new, wealthier tenants.

  3. This is great news but I’m sure we’ll just keep hearing about how we’re all “takers” and should move miles away to lower-priced rental markets so that the rich yuppies can move in and benefit from the awesome neighborhoods we’ve all created over the decades. Sounds about right.

  4. Pingback: Despite affordable housing crunch, Seattle looks at microhousing moratorium — 36 projects and counting | CHS Capitol Hill Seattle

  5. Pingback: CHS: Despite affordable housing crunch, Seattle looks at microhousing moratorium — 36 projects and counting | Central District News