Seattle Mayor Ed Murray released his Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda (HALA) plan for affordable housing on Monday. According to Murray, his plan “will lead to 50,000 new housing units citywide over the next decade and triple the production of affordable housing units, resulting in an 20,000 additional affordable housing units in the city of Seattle.”
As part of his plan, Murray wants developers to reserve 5 to 7 percent of every new multi-family building for affordable housing. Developers also have the option of contributing to a fund for off-site construction of the units.
But, that’s not the only obligation developers have to meet. Developers will have pay what essentially amounts to higher taxes. MyNorthwest.com reports,
“Developers will also pay a Commercial Linkage Fee, phased in over three years, to help fund affordable housing. It’ll range from $5 to $14 per square foot and depend on the size and location of the new development.
“Murray said Mandatory Inclusionary Housing and the Commercial Linkage Fee will eventually lead to the construction of at least 6,000 new affordable homes over 10 years.”
In exchange, Murray agreed to allow developers to build taller buildings in certain areas. In areas where “30-foot buildings are now allowed, 40-foot building will be permitted.” And, the city will allow developers to “build 15 feet taller where 40-foot buildings are allowed, and 75-foot buildings where now 65-foot-tall buildings are permitted.”
Though developers clearly bear the brunt of the affordable housing burden, those on the far left—including Seattle City Councilmembers Kshama Sawant (a self-proclaimed socialist) and Nick Licata (essentially a socialist)—are still not happy. The councilmembers have backed a plan that includes a maximum citywide linkage fee that covers residential development and more affordable housing targeted at renters earning 30 percent of AMI or below. Their plan also supports repealing the state ban on rent control.