Hard to Find the ‘Incentive’ in Incentive Zoning


  This post originally appeared in the Spring edition of The Voice, NAIOP’s semi-annual government affairs newsletter.    Recently, the City of Seattle has placed an emphasis on what it calls incentive zoning, a program that charges a fee in exchange for granting additional Floor Area Ratio (FAR) for new housing and non-residential development. This […]

Corn Dogs, Housing, and Innovation

corn dogs City Market

I was asked to write an opinion piece for Publicola yesterday comparing the reaction the Seattle City Council had to ride sharing programs to the reaction they are contemplating to small-lot housing. The truth is I already did that in a post not too long ago. To me, the comparison is obvious. Small-lot housing is […]

Take My House? Please Don’t.

Downzoned Dreams

More and more single-family homeowners are beginning to feel the unintended impacts of the Department of Planning and Developments misguided efforts to satisfy angry neighbors. Here’s another example from the Facebook feed. Take my house, for example. Here’s an architect’s sketch of my house with the simplest, most cost-effective addition. Too tall for our 2,520 sf lot, […]

Downzoning Your Dreams

Thurbanist Diagram

The evidence continues to build that small-lot legislation offered by the Department of Planning and Development makes things worse for everyone involved, including owners of existing single-family homeowners. Matt Gangemi writing at The Urbanist calls the legislation Seattle’s Largest Downzone. If you live on a lot less than a 3,200 square feet in size, the maximum […]

Ideas for Change: Seattle’s Housing Future

The Future

The debate and discussion over housing can sometimes take an ugly turn, especially when facing opponents of small-lot housing, microhousing, and people that want jobs and housing to go somewhere else. There are days when all we do is defense, batting away the lastest half-truth about supply and demand, or arguing why we should be […]

DPD Tried to Regulate Small Lots;You Wouldn’t Believe What Happened Next!

Over the last part of the week I kept hearing noises on social media about problems with the Department of Planning and Development’s (DPD) efforts to constrain small-lot development. Here’s the comment that set off the biggest discussions and concerns. According to one homeowner the legislation means that about 8,755 existing homes . . . […]

Ugly Cars: “Backlash and Flight” From Driving?

Photo by author

My last post questioned the idea of adding costs to microhousing projects by running them through the design review process. The reaction was mixed on the social networks. I think some people get the idea that if I show up at your new house and demand that you paint the trim a different color, at […]

Look! It’s Still Happening! NIMBY Intolerance.

Established Neighborhoods

Well, I was going to use the word “bigotry” in the headline of this post. But that word doesn’t quite get at what’s going on in the postering campaign we first discovered was being planned about a week ago. It’s not that the word is too strong, but that current valance of the word bigotry […]

Have Any Red Herrings? KIRO is Buying Them!

KIRO Has and Appetite for Red Herrings

Once again local media—this time KIRO Radio—has played right into the NIMBYs hands with a story on this morning’s radio and a post on their website. The headline? Microhousing trend in Seattle ruining property values, warns real estate agent  I talked with the producer of the story Zak Burns and took him to task for […]

Seattle Speaks Up: A Poster Boy for Neighborhood Overreach?

Hello Councilmember O’Brien, I wanted to alert you to the latest efforts to claim that microhousing is out of scale with surrounding buildings. As you said, neighbors often point out what they call “bad buildings” as the basis for their opposition to this product. But please see the attached e-mail thread about a project at 2371 Franklin […]