Seattle for Everyone's broad coalition of affordable housing developers and advocates, for-profit developers and businesses, labor and social justice advocates, environmentalists and urbanists joined neighbors from across Seattle and U District residents to support a more affordable and inclusive city at the Seattle City Council public hearing on the U District upzone.
The U District upzone would be the first zoning change to activate Seattle's new Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA) program for residential and commercial development. For the first time, developers will contribute to the city’s stock of affordable homes by either including affordable units in their projects or paying into a fund that builds them throughout the city. In exchange, developers will receive additional capacity to build through changes to outdated zoning laws in Seattle's opportunity-rich urban areas—main thoroughfares and their surroundings that were designated as “urban centers” and “urban villages” over twenty years ago.
MHA is designed to leverage the unprecedented growth Seattle is experiencing to bring more diverse and equitable housing choices for more families and individuals in Seattle. The program will create over 6,000 new affordable homes over ten years in neighborhoods across the city.
In addition to helping to meet Seattle's need for more homes by allowing more market rate and affordable housing in the area, the upzone will help build a more equitable neighborhood and a healthier environment by providing more people across the income spectrum with access to the U District Link light rail station that's scheduled to open in 2021.