Petition: More Housing Now!
Seattle is a growing city. In fact, Seattle was the fastest growing major city in the nation last year. And Seattle’s prosperous job market, along with our city’s cultural and natural amenities, is expected to bring another 120,000 residents and 115,000 jobs over the next 20 years. If we do not adequately accommodate this growth, Seattle will be much less affordable than it is even today and only the most affluent will be able to live in the city.
The City of Seattle needs a housing plan to ensure that the city is encouraging enough housing to be built to accommodate current and future demand. An inadequate supply of housing in the city makes housing much more expensive and displaces working class households to suburbs – placing additional stress on our already burdened transportation infrastructure and increasing sprawl.
While we appreciate that the Seattle City Council has attempted to address affordable housing, it has focused too much of its efforts on housing policies that have produced very few affordable units and actually decrease the availability of housing and increase the cost of most new housing through per square foot fees, zoning and other regulatory restrictions. In this case, good intentions have produced unintended consequences. Taxing new housing to pay for new housing is not working. Making housing more expensive is not making it more affordable.
In addition to the development of a citywide housing plan, we encourage the Seattle City Council to seriously consider strategies that other cities have used to success, such as:
- Utilize publicly-owned land for the provision of affordable housing;
- Establish a fund to acquire, or to encourage preservation of, older housing stock for affordable housing;
- Review and consider changes to zoning and land use regulations to ensure that the City is encouraging an adequate supply of housing to accommodate future growth;
- Eliminate or reduce City policies that limit housing availability and add to the cost of new housing.
Rather than continuing to rely on policies that have clearly not improved Seattle’s affordability (and may have contributed to the problem), we ask that you try more effective approaches and adequately plan for the future. Read more about ideas and tools that can help in our Ideas for Change: Seattle’s Housing Future.