Nobody knows for sure which way the upzone scheme will go, but civic leaders should be as careful as they can be.
A grand plan to rezone 27 Seattle neighborhoods to allow denser housing, taller buildings and more people is now on a fast track toward approval by the Seattle City Council and Mayor Jenny Durkan. That OK could come in March, unless the decision is gummed up by the neighborhood activists who complain the process for getting public input was a sham.
In a perfect unfolding of the upzone scheme, there will be more affordable housing, more predictability for developers, and neighborhoods will get a little livelier — in a good way. If things go awry, however, as they often do with grand schemes concocted by city planners, the new housing will not really be as affordable as needed and developers will get richer even as the city’s cherished single-family neighborhoods get trashed.
Nobody knows for sure which way it will go, but civic leaders should be as careful as they can be. Seattle’s great neighborhoods have been the core element of the city’s perennial high livability scores. Proceed with caution.
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