If I Were King?

Last week a friend and prominent downtown resident asked me what I would do about downtown residential development standards in Seattle if I were King? That was a very good question and below is my answer:

1. I would mandate a more reliable annual funding mechanism for funding HALA than what is being currently proposed. A one-time fee payable from new residential tower construction is great in boom times, but what happens when the next economic bust hits, new construction slows to a standstill, and the funding drys up for affordable housing.

2. I would mandate fair and equitable residential development standards for all of downtown. Right now, there are four "danger zones" in Seattle with virtually no residential development standards. Using the residential development standards of SM South Lake Union (60% max lot coverage and some alley set back requirements) or DMC Belltown and South Lake Union (80’ tower separation and 10,700 max floor size) and combining that with more allowable height (instead of more girth) would result in a complete HALA solution—dollars for Affordability and Livability for downtown residents.