seattle university district Photo: Wikimedia Commons 

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray revealed his long-awaited “upzone” plan for the city’s University District last week, and if it’s approved the area could soon get a lot taller.

Under the plan, the maximum building height would jump from 65 feet to 320 feet, with limits remaining lower on University Way and increasing around a planned light rail station. Murray’s plan is the first to be proposed since the Seattle City Council adopted new housing affordability legislation last month, and he has said 620 to 910 rent-restricted units could be created if it goes through. Up to 5,000 market-rate units could also be added.

upzone plan Map: City of Seattle 

About two dozen opponents showed up to protest when the mayor announced the plan, reports The Seattle Times. Some small business and property owners in the U District worry that they will be forced out by higher property taxes as new developments increase property values.

Murray has countered that with an increasing number of people moving to the neighborhood and rents on the rise, more affordable housing is needed. Indeed, the U District is rapidly becoming a desirable place to live — a new bike lane was recently installed on Roosevelt Way, and light rail access and RapidRide service are coming soon. Brooklyn Avenue may even become a festival street.

If you have compliments or concerns, the council’s Planning, Land Use & Zoning Committee will be holding a public hearing in November. Be there or be square.

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