The Seattle City Council on March 18 voted unanimously in favor of neighborhood upzones associated with the Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA) program. The upzones will impact 27 transit centers around the city, some of which are already zoned for commercial and apartment buildings.
The MHA program has been controversial with several single-family neighborhoods, which are concerned about density and changes to community character. Legal appeals against MHA brought on by these neighborhoods delayed program implementation for more than a year.
With the final 9-0 vote and the mayor in support, the program can begin to help more affordable housing get built. The program will result in a significant amount of new market-rate housing and income-qualified housing throughout the city.
Seattle King County REALTORS® supported the upzones and urged the council to act swiftly so that the upzones can help bring units to market as quickly as possible. SKCR cautioned the council to avoid constraining the upzones with requirements that add undue costs and limit development, such as excessive energy code requirements, water service connection fees, potential impact fees and green building mandates.