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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

June 3, 2014 at 7:02 AM

Use inclusionary zoning to preserve affordable housing

William Brown / Op Art

Guest columnists David Bloom and John Fox hit the nail on the head [“Where is affordability and livability in the rush to build more housing?” Opinion, May 30].

Developers need to do more to stymie displacement in this city, and the answer is mandatory inclusionary zoning. Housing projects are regularly approved that demolish affordable units and replace them with high-end units — and that’s putting a squeeze on middle-income and working families. Too few units have been developed for low-income households, and those that do exist are often too small to accommodate families.

The Seattle Planning Commission has recommended more family-sized, affordable housing. Yet, the Seattle City Council has neglected to use the one tool that could most effectively address this housing disparity. Mandatory inclusionary zoning would ensure that developers contribute to preserving affordable housing units, and that the city gets back some of the public investment required to accommodate developer projects — the roads, parks and the rise in values that come with zoning changes.

While the housing levy and local tax breaks we offer are useful tools, they are funded by taxes on homeowners and renters. Inclusionary zoning is the only tax that asks the developer to contribute directly to preserving housing for working families.

Tammy Morales, Seattle

Comments | More in Housing | Topics: Affordable Housing, Inclusionary zoning, Seattle City Council

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