The Downtown Seattle Association (DSA) and a broad coalition of partner organizations have been vocal with concerns about the legality of the council imposing this housing tax, and its ramifications on renters and buyers in Seattle. With an estimate imposing this housing tax will result in rent increase for 90 percent of Seattle renters, there is concern that Council is approaching this problem from the wrong angle.
BY MATT DRISCOLL
Of course, the plan has its critics. Most developers hate it (natch), and Roger Valdez, director of Smart Growth Seattle, says the plan is illegal and will drive up prices for everyone. Will Monday’s council vote matter? Here are two reasons it will, and one big reason it won’t.
BY BILL LUCIA
The Council voted 7-2 to in favor of a resolution stating its intent to implement a “linkage fee” program. Under such a program, the city would charge the fees on new commercial and multi-family residential construction in denser parts of the city. Developers argue that the cost of the fees would jack up rental and purchase prices for property, undermining the Council’s affordability goals. And in a letter sent to council members last week, a group of land use attorneys questioned whether the envisioned fees are even legal under state law.
BY DAN BERTOLET
Seattle is a compassionate city faced, like all growing cities, with an affordable housing challenge. Most Seattleites hope to see their city successfully tackle that challenge with effective programs that help those most in need. But unfortunately, translating such good intentions into action is all too often distorted by politics. And the latest case in point is City Council’s rush to enact a “linkage fee.”
This Monday, the Seattle City Council is set to vote on a housing “linkage fee” — a tax on development to fund low-income housing. Given that it got all five votes out of committee, passage seems reasonably certain. As a member of team density, I’m supposed to hate this proposal. It does have its problems, but I think there are strong arguments ($) on both sides.
By Marc Stiles
Talk about a tough audience.
On Thursday, Mike O’Brien, the chairman of a Seattle City Council committee that’s looking at taxing real estate development to fund affordable housing, sat in front of 400 people, many of them developers, to explain why they might soon have to pay a “linkage fee.” New residential, office or retail development in high-growth areas could be required to pay money into a fund to build affordable units.
BY JOSH FEIT
By Roger Valdez
If Jonathan Swift were alive and writing satire about American culture and politics, he might devote at least a chapter to Seattle’s latest public debate over housing. Perhaps in Swift’s story would be about an adventurer, like Gulliver, seeking new and strange lands washing up on an island where people genuinely believed adding costs to expensive things makes them cheaper, building more housing makes rents go up, and taxing new housing is the best way to lower rents.