I appreciate Daniel Beekman’s article on the city of Seattle’s current plans for providing affordable housing [“Seattle struck a ‘grand bargain’ on housing. Now City Hall is reviewing the initial results,” July 26, Local News].
Given Seattle’s increasingly urgent situation regarding housing, I believe the city should suspend the fee option for new development and instead require all projects to provide affordable units on-site. Requiring on-site development is more efficient in terms of both cost and the time taken to complete a project. It would also help guarantee that affordable units are included in our urban villages, which with their mix of services and transit options are well-equipped to serve residents with limited means. (To that point, I look at where our homeless in Ballard are camped out — the Commons Park in the heart of the urban village is overrun with tents and makeshift shelters, whereas Salmon Bay Park, just a 10-minute walk away, is completely free of campsites).
As a city, we are too shy about requiring more from our developers and large businesses, which is ridiculous given how desirable a location Seattle is. We can better serve all our residents by instituting stricter development requirements that can create meaningful results, in a timely manner, particularly when faced with such urgent need.
Jenifer Rees, Seattle