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Seattle Mayor Intros 'Grand Bargain' For Affordable Housing

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When the HALA recommendations on affordable housing in Seattle were released, they didn't all strike the right chord with everyone. Eventually, Mayor Ed Murray ended up scrapping the single-family zoning initiative that was a lightning rod for critics of density. The mayor did move forward with two other aspects of the 'grand bargain' on Tuesday, officially outlining his proposal that would require new real estate developments to pay for affordable housing.

So what did he introduce?

Affordable Housing Impact Mitigation Program (AHIMP): Also known as the commercial linkage fee, this requires developers to pay a fee for every square foot of new commercial development, ranging from $5 to $17. Those funds will in turn pay for new affordable housing construction.

Mandatory Inclusionary Housing (MIH): This legislation would require 5 to 8 percent of all new units to be affordable for residents earning up to 60 percent of the Area Median Income over the next fifty years. Developers can either include these units in their construction or create them "offsite." Rents for new housing units would be set at $1,008 or lower, a cost based on household income numbers.

Part of the reason rents and housing prices have skyrocketed around Seattle is due to the lack of new affordable housing units to offset the influx of new luxury and higher-income residences. With these rules in place, it's a way to try and close that gap. It's now up to the Seattle City Council's Select Committee on Housing Affordability to review and affirm the legislation.
· Seattle mayor rolls out 'grand' affordable housing plan [MyN]
· Proposed affordable housing laws would dramatically alter real estate development in Seattle [PSBJ]
· HALA Proposal Drives 'Grand Bargain' for Affordable Housing [CS]
· Seattle Mayor Changes Mind on Single-Family Zoning [CS]