BY JOSH FEIT
A draft of the letter obtained by PubliCola states: “Utilization of publicly owned land: The City of Seattle and other public agencies own significant parcels of vacant or underutilized land capable of supporting infill housing. There are a variety of models and partnership arrangements that the city could utilize to develop affordable housing on publicly owned land.”
BY MARC STILES
“If the comprehensive plan amendments and the new tax are adopted as proposed, there will be a substantial dampening effect on the ability to provide housing in the city, to provide smart growth development, and to develop successful mass transit,” states the coalition’s appeal, which attorney Rich Hill drafted.
BY DANIEL BEEKMAN
Seattle Mayor Ed Murray’s Housing Affordability and Livability Advisory Committee has reached consensus on a two-sentence problem statement. But the panel’s members have a long way to go in accomplishing their mission.
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.”
BY JOSH FEIT
BY ROGER VALDEZ
What is Mike O’Brien proposing to solve perceived rent increases? He wants to impose a tax of anywhere from $8 to $22 per square foot for any new construction in Seattle. So a 10,000 square foot development in Capitol Hill, for instance, would pay a fee of $120,000 to $150,000. As we pointed out when we were asking to keep microhousing out of the design review process, all the extra fees just end up getting folded into rents. There is no other way to make up the costs. No, taking less “profit” isn’t an option, because lenders and investors set Net Operating Income (NOI). When the ratio of costs to income goes up, banks and investors expect it to be off set with more income: that means higher rents.