The article “Solution to soaring rents tougher than $15 wage, city officials find” [Local News, June 8] seems to imply that without the “soaring rhetoric” of the $15 Now movement, Seattle’s affordable-housing proponents are aimless and doomed to fail. This pessimism is neither founded nor constructive, nor does it cover all of the options in discussion.
While affordable housing is a tough nut to crack, reporter Daniel Beekman lends too much credence to those who claim that “rent control is the new $15.” Rent control hasn’t worked in similar markets, but zoning adjustments can and have allowed cities, such as Redmond, to piggyback on existing growth patterns.
As City Council candidate Alon Bassok has pointed out, mandatory inclusionary up-zoning would legally and quickly extend height limitations on new developments. In return for room to build upward, developers would need to include at least one out of every five new units at a price that is affordable to someone making the $15 minimum wage.
While Seattle heads into a doubtless lengthy debate over the right price for linkage fees, up-zoning costs us nothing, can be implemented now and is legal.
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Veronica Schmiedeskamp, Seattle