As the number of people moving to Seattle continues to increase, the need for housing is also growing. The competitive nature of the local housing market has been a contributing factor for a lack of housing that many Seattleites find affordable.
Affordable housing is defined by Seattle’s government as housing that “costs no more that 30% of a household’s income”. While the number of units available that meet this guideline shrink, local government is seeking to change zoning regulations in hopes of increasing housing opportunities that will be affordable.
How will upzoning effect the Emerald City? Government officials are attempting to allow buildings in certain areas to be taller, accommodating more residents. In exchange for developing taller buildings the owners of the buildings will then be subject to allotting a percentage of units to affordable housing, or elect to pay into an affordable housing fund. Local government officials see this as an opportunity to increase the total number of affordable units available within the city.
With an increase in the number of units available, more people will be able to stay in the city instead of having to move farther away. As Seattle continues to make national news for being home to a plethora of tech companies, the city hopes that start-up companies will continue to seek Seattle as their home. One way to accomplish that is by addressing the sky-high rents that are found within city limits.
Already incorporated within six Seattle neighborhoods with the goal of impacting affordability for 75 years, local officials see upzoning as a solution to the housing crisis within out growing city. While it may be a long road until the new upzoning would happen, the council has hopes of passing the legislature by next year’s end.