When it comes to Seattle’s largest problems, Mayor Jenny Durkan likes to have a posse.
Durkan announced Monday morning that a newly formed Middle-Income Housing Advisory Council to address “missing middle” housing needs will meet for the first time later in the day at City Hall.
“As the City continues its focus on addressing housing needs for low-income residents, the Advisory Council will work to identify investment strategies and related tools to help close existing market gaps and attract significant capital investment to build more for-rent and for-sale homes that are affordable to Seattle’s middle-income wage earners,” the announcement reads.
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The announcement did not include a roster of participants.
As Seattle fine tunes its plans for upzoning in its densest neighborhoods as part of the Mandatory Housing Affordability program, a rallying cry for many both for and against the plan has been the so-called “missing middle.”
The Seattle Planning Commission’s Fall 2018 “Neighborhoods for All” report (PDF) describes the issue:
Seattle lacks small-scale multi-unit housing options often referred to as “the missing middle.” These multifamily developments have smaller unit footprints and share the cost of underlying land, offering a way to introduce affordable housing choices into areas where they are currently illegal. These housing types would make opportunities for walkable urban living more accessible to a broader range of incomes and address the changing needs and desires for a range of households through many life stages.
Currently, small-scale multifamily housing is restricted to about 12% of Seattle’s land zoned to allow residential uses, according to the report.
UPDATE: The mayor’s office has released more details of the council including its inaugural members.
The mayor’s office says the council will have five areas of emphasis as it pursues its recommendations:
- Identify the next steps necessary to increase housing choices affordable to middle-income individuals and families.
- Provide a compilation of middle-income housing strategies that could be advanced through new investment financing.
- Deliver recommendations on the architecture of potential new housing investment fund(s).
- Conduct outreach to neighborhoods, community and housing advocates to inform the work of the committee.
- Identify the steps required to attract equitable development investments in Seattle Opportunity Zones.
“The Affordable Middle-Income Housing Advisory Council encompasses members with vast knowledge and years of expertise in the housing development and investment industries,” the mayor’s office says. “Membership will continue to grow as those who have been asked to serve are added.”
Middle-Income Housing Advisory Council
- Co-Chair Larry Brown, Washington State Labor Council
- Co-Chair Ada Healey, Vulcan
- Co-Chair Gary Locke, Former Governor of Washington State
- Co-Chair Ezra Teshome, Community Leader
- Maria Barrientos, barrientos Ryan
- Lisa Bogardus, Seattle Building Trades
- Bruce Brooks, Craft3
- Mark Dean, Citibank
- Dan Duffus, Blueprint Capital
- Aaron Fairchild, Green Canopy Homes
- Joe Ferguson, Lake Union Partners
- Greg Gorder, Gaard Development
- Gabe Grant, Spectrum Development Solutions
- Ed Harley, Foster Pepper
- John Hempelmann, Cairncross & Hempelmann
- Julie Howe, Urban Evolution
- Doris Koo, Yesler Community Collaborative
- Tony Mestres, Seattle Foundation
- Nate Miles, Eli Lilly
- Faith Pettis, Pacifica Law Group
- Paul Purcell, Beacon Development Group
- Brad Reisinger, LMC
- Joe Schocken, Broadmark Capital
- Kathleen Sims, Master Builders
- Theresa Whitmarsh, Washington State Investment Board