I’m a pro-union, middle class renter with two kids, struggling to figure out our long-term ability to remain in Seattle because of housing costs.
The recent Op-Ed written by Claudia Newman and David Bricklin on the Seattle neighborhood groups’ appeal of Mandatory Housing Affordability was rife with misleading and egregiously incorrect statements on the outcomes, policy and the city’s process [“All of Seattle’s neighborhoods deserve a say in upzoning upheaval,” Feb. 15, Opinion]. MHA will provide 6,000 new, affordable homes through incredibly nominal rezones in just a small portion of the city — single-family and multifamily areas within urban villages, and where we already allow multifamily and commercial zoning outside of them.
MHA will allow for more people who aren’t wealthy to live here versus the status quo.
We cannot delay. We need more housing today. As a pro-union, middle class renter and a household with two kids, struggling to figure out our long-term ability to remain in Seattle, it is becoming more clear every day that delay only harms those who will never be fortunate to own a home.
The claim that citizens who live and work in these neighborhoods did not get a say on how or where we build new homes is grossly incorrect. The city has spent nearly 3 years collecting feedback and sharing information. The city has gone slow on passing MHA in order to accommodate citizen input.
MHA is far from a “sweeping change.” It’s not even as permissive as Seattle’s historic zoning laws. Before Seattle’s 1923 comprehensive plan, authored by the same planner that perfected racial zoning in St. Louis and other cities, multifamily housing was legal in every part of the city. As a result of those policies, there are more than 10,000 apartments and multifamily dwellings in what are now today’s single family zones. This is a good thing. Neighborhoods with abundant housing options make our city stronger and offer opportunity to a greater range of residents.
Our urban villages are dominated by young people, and all but two (Crown Hill and South Park) appear to be overwhelmingly majority renter. Given population growth and housing production, the city likely leans majority renter at this moment. The notion that allowing for more affordable housing that is primarily inhabited by renters, most of whom will never be able to afford a home in Seattle, will “destroy neighborhoods” is, frankly, one of the most discouraging things I’ve seen written about housing or MHA. Our neighborhoods are composed of people, not buildings. We should welcome housing options all over the city.