As we celebrate our country’s history today, it’s also a good time to reflect on our city’s history as well…and more important where we are headed in the future. As downtown residents of Seattle, we are deeply concerned about the Mayor considering us as just “collateral damage” in his rush to bolster a reelection campaign by passing his Housing and Livability Agenda (HALA) legislation without an “L” in the package.
If Seattle is going to be a great City in the future, we believe that it needs to better align its policies with its political pronouncements. Fairness and justice demand residential development standards that insure livability for all of its people. Getting HALA right would be a great start!
The bulk of the Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA) funds for HALA are expected to come from new downtown residential development. Legislation to generate these funds comes from granting more development capacity, i.e. letting developers build bigger buildings. That’s fine, as long as it’s done without ruining downtown livability.
We’ve proposed two key steps to getting HALA right:
1. Adding equivalent development capacity through additional height, rather than the additional 1000 sq. ft. per floor through additional girth, in new residential development downtown.
2. Including new residential development standards in the legislation that will provide allowances for equivalent square footage in additional height in certain zones to solve alley congestion issues and tower separation issues affecting light, air, and privacy. [Tools that can be used include tower spacing, alley setback, minimum lot size, max lot coverage, etc.].
With these steps, everyone wins, and we have the best possible chance to ensure a great future for our city.
Happy 4th of July!