After advocates argued Seattle needs more affordable housing, the city advanced plans to demolish housing at Discovery Park but said it...

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After advocates argued Seattle needs more affordable housing, the city advanced plans to demolish housing at Discovery Park but said it intends to replace the units elsewhere.

The City Council’s parks committee voted Wednesday to tear down 66 duplexes and single-family units at the Capehart site to create more open space in Discovery Park.

“The intent was to return it back to its natural state,” said Councilmember David Della, parks committee chair. “I thought it was important for us to state that, but to also make the point that we do need to increase the supply of housing in Seattle.”

Housing advocates said Wednesday the government should either preserve or replace as many units as possible given the region’s affordable-housing crisis. The Rev. Sandy Brown from the Church Council of Greater Seattle and Bill Block from the Committee to End Homelessness in King County both testified.

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The city is buying 24 acres in Discovery Park, which includes the housing, from the U.S. Navy for $11 million. The Navy plans to move the families who live there to new housing in Marysville. Most of the funding is designated for creating open space.

Seattle also is negotiating with the Army to buy Fort Lawton, a separate 38-acre site adjacent to the park. The city says it hopes to build a mixed-income community there that would include market-rate units and subsidized housing for low-income residents. That housing, officials said, would replace the 66 Capehart units that are being taken down.

Officials with the Port of Seattle and the city of Burien said Seattle’s plans are hypocritical. Seattle officials had intervened when the Port wanted to tear down 162 affordably priced units at the Lora Lake apartments in Burien this summer.

Port Commissioner John Creighton said Wednesday, “I find it disappointing that they raise this issue and request that another jurisdiction [Burien], that has a higher percentage of affordable housing, go to bat to save housing when they’re not prepared to do the same.”

On Wednesday, the City Council’s parks committee added a line to the Discovery Park demolition plans, reading: “the City is committed to supporting a proposal to develop up to 200 units of new housing at the Fort Lawton site that includes low- and moderate-income housing.” The full council will vote on the legislation Monday.

City officials said the Capehart housing is inappropriate for low-income residents. “It’s isolated in the park and there are no services or transit,” said Deputy Mayor Tim Ceis.

Sharon Pian Chan: 206-464-2958 or

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