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Luxury high-rise residents block part of Seattle’s affordable housing plan

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While their intentions might be valid, perception will not be kind to this fight against affordable housing

Perception is always going to make more waves than reality. So if a group of people who live in downtown luxury towers like Escala are going to block a key part of Mayor Ed Murray’s affordable-housing plan, they probably have to assume public sentiment will not be on their side.

Still, that’s not going to stop a group of downtown Seattle high-rise residents from doing so, per The Seattle Times’ Daniel Beekman.

Some downtown Seattle high-rise residents have filed a legal challenge to block a key part of Mayor Ed Murray’s affordable-housing plan, saying zoning changes would worsen traffic jams in their alleys and rob their homes of sunlight and privacy.

They argue the changes should be tweaked. But plan backers are upset with the downtown dwellers standing between the city and more low-rent housing in order to preserve what they have.

Murray’s Mandatory Housing Affordability policy allows developers to build taller projects than current zoning provides for with the caveat that they must either include a percentage of affordable housing or pay a fee to the city so that it can build low-cost housing elsewhere.

While the Downtown Residents Alliance says it is in favor of the the Mayor’s plan, there are concerns in general about zoning and spacing amongst tall Seattle buildings that need to be addressed first, regardless of what kind of project developers want to build.

John Sosnowy, that aforementioned Escala resident, spoke on behalf of the Alliance but has also spoken out previously on this issue, giving credence to the idea that this is less about affordable housing and more about development in general.

The Alliance is currently appealing a city planning department decision to create zoning changes, which is needed in order for the Seattle City Council to enact new zoning rules and hold developers accountable to the Mayor’s plan.

On the flip side, those in favor of adding low-income housing to the city note that “Seattle is in the midst of an affordability crisis” and anything that delays it’s development is only adding to that.