Tuesday, the city of Seattle released detailed maps that showcase how some of Seattle’s neighborhoods could become denser until Mayor Ed Murray’s Mandatory Housing Affordability program, a.k.a. the “grand bargain” at the heart of the HALA plan.
While the first part Murray’s plan is already in effect, requiring developers to either include affordable housing in new buildings or pay a fee to the city that will go towards rent-restricted development, the second part would involve a dramatic shift in zoning regulations that would allow taller buildings and denser neighborhoods.
The five maps released by the city show how things could change dramatically for Aurora/Licton Springs, First Hill/Capitol Hill, Crown Hill, Othello, and South Park. Eventually, the city will create 28 maps to cover most of Seattle.
The Aurora/Licton Springs map showcases the potential for Aurora Avenue to become more of a commercial and retail corridor with taller buildings hugging the highway. The First Hill/Capitol Hill map showcases not only height growth but a desire to create more housing near light rail. Crown Hill’s map details how full block rezoning will ease the transition and help created a “heart” of the neighborhood. Othello’s map is all about generating more development along both light rail and Rainier Avenue corridors. In South Park, the idea to create affordable housing close to amenities as well as entice more commercial transition as well.
At the end of the day, it’s about trying to strike a balance between growth and affordability, something that Seattle hasn’t been very good at for the last decade. Expect to see a lot of pushback on these rezoning ideas. We’re already seeing that in U District where the Mayor’s plan to upzone around the incoming light rail station is already drawing the ire of locals.