Mayor Ed Murray’s Housing Affordability and Living Agenda (HALA) has been officially released. Controversial for its closed door meetings, the HALA Committee was charged with mapping a path to a future both affordable and livable.
The challenge before us is how best to accommodate the estimated 120,000 to 175,000 people predicted to move to Seattle in the next twenty years. This is on top of an existing affordability crisis already facing us despite the ubiquitous construction cranes hovering over new multi-family projects.
The committee report made headlines for alleging a racial bias to our zoning legacy, and for proposing changes to single family neighborhoods. The latter suggestion has since been tabled by Mayor Murray in favor of changing the rules in the designated urban villages. Primary among these recommendations are linkage fees, and mandatory inclusionary zoning. Critics of the report suggest that the displacement of existing residents and the attendant neighborhood gentrification will continue apace despite the changes.
Making sense of this road-map will be Seattle’s Director of Housing, Steve Walker. Steve used to be division manager for the Washington State Housing Finance Commission. Prior to that, he was with the Family Emergency Shelter Coalition in the San Francisco Bay Area, and New York City’s Department of Housing, Preservation and Development. Steve is filling in for our previously announced speaker, Deputy Mayor Hyeok Kim, who is feeling under the weather and sends her regrets.
[by Robert Rosenberger]