The view of the U District from University Playground. (Photo by Doug Trumm)

A five-year process could finally be coming to fruition Tuesday as the Seattle City Council votes on the University District Rezone and Urban Design Proposal at its 2pm meeting. Passing the rezone would finally take Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA) to a neighborhood-wide scale and give a serious boost to affordable housing production. The U District program alone is expected to generate 620 to 910 affordable units.

We encourage those able to go to City Hall to testify at the meeting. If you can’t attend, call your councilmembers. Tell them to pass the U District Rezone and to reject the amendment to shrink its size by excluding areas north of NE 50th St.

And if you’re ready to move on to the next battle, submit comments on the rest of the zoning changes across the city through the Consider It website the City has set up.

For more information on the U District Rezone, here’s some related articles:

  • Stephen Fesler dug into the last second changes today and some other late additions to the U District package earlier this month. Fesler also tackled an earlier batch of amendments in October.
  • Owen Pickford tackled displacement risk and dismantled the Seattle Displacement Coalition’s ridiculous displacement figures showing they are massively overestimating the displacement risk in the U District. Pickford also took The Seattle Times to task for giving credence to these made up numbers.

The proposed U District zoning map from September remains largely intact. One exception: The Ave upzone is likely to be excluded until a small business study is completed. (OPCD)

And for analysis of MHA generally, we’ve got you covered, too:

  • Owen Pickford did an analysis of the legal foundation of inclusionary zoning showing that Seattle’s MHA program is likely to survive a challenge.
  • We also dug into Sightline’s simulated developer “pro-forma” that purportedly showed MHA decimated project feasibility and showed how seemingly minor assumptions can distort the financial picture.
  • Plus, we parsed the theoretical economics underpinning anti-inclusionary zoning arguments–many arguments against are data-light and heavy on the pitfalls on Econ101ism.
  • Stephen Fesler did a good overview of the implementation requirements of MHA and how the rezones would increase development capacity.
  • Fesler also covered the MHA-R amendments and the council’s passage of that framework 8-0 in August. The framework need only to be paired with rezones to go live and start generating affordable units as developers build new projects.

So let’s pass the U District Rezone and build momentum to the next upzones in other urban villages and centers. We must harness Seattle’s big building boom for the good of all.

Lisa Herbold, District 1
Bruce Harrell, District 2
Kshama Sawant, District 3
Rob Johnson, District 4
Debra Juarez, District 5
Sally Bagshaw, District 7
Mike O’Brien, District 6
Tim Burgess, Position 8
Lorena Gonzalez, Position 9
Mayor Ed Murray Online form:

Related Articles

U District Zoning And Development Regulations Could Get An Overhaul

Misleading Sightline Articles Undermine Inclusionary Zoning Effort

Article Author
Publisher | Website

Doug Trumm is publisher of The Urbanist. An Urbanist writer since 2015, he dreams of pedestrianizing streets, blanketing the city in bus lanes, and unleashing a mass timber building spree to end the affordable housing shortage and avert our coming climate catastrophe. He graduated from the Evans School of Public Policy and Governance at the University of Washington in 2019. He lives in East Fremont and loves to explore the city on his bike.