On Monday afternoon, the Seattle City Council is expected vote unanimously to add a new Chapter 23.58B of the Seattle Municipal Code (SMC) that will establish a framework for creating 20,000 new units of affordable housing in the next decade.
The Seattle City Council intends to make changes to the city’s zoning and land use regulations to implement a mandatory affordable housing program for residential development and the Affordable Housing Impact Mitigation program for commercial development recommended by the Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda Advisory Committee and Mayor Murray.
You can view a map of the proposed areas with new affordable housing here and just in case you missed it, here is a summary of the two affordable housing programs in the works:
Mandatory Inclusionary Housing Program for residential development
The Mandatory Inclusionary Housing Program requires five to eight percent of new multi-family development units be affordable for residents earning up to 60 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI) for 50 years. In 2015, 60 percent of te AMI is $37,680 for an individual and $53,760 for a family of four, according to the mayor’s office. As an alternative to on-site units, developers can pay a fee to construct new affordable housing off site.
Image: City of Seattle
Affordable Housing Impact Mitigation Program (Commercial Linkage Fee)
The Commercial Linkage Fee will directly fund the construction of new affordable housing by requiring developers to pay a fee on every square foot of new commercial development. The linkage fee will range from $5 to $17 per square foot, based on the size and location of the commercial development, according to the Mayor’s office.
Image: City of Seattle
The bills expected to pass this afternoon will be “clarifying the scope of changes to be considered; establishing minimum outreach, planning, and implementation requirements that must be met prior to Council consideration; and requesting regular reporting,” according to the clerk’s agenda.
An estimated 45,000 households in Seattle spend more than half their incomes on housing and about 2,800 people sleep outside each night. Currently, only around 700 income-restricted homes are built in Seattle each year. Check out this infographic by City Council Member Mike O’Brien for a more indepth look at the affordable housing crisis.