As mentioned in a previous post, opponents of micro-housing have a legitimate concern that new developments may change the character of their neighborhood. Not all their complaints are fair though.
The city is calling a meeting because some developments allowed by the current zoning have raised complaints from neighborhood residents.
The Department of Planning and Development is holding an initial meeting to take community feedback on development at 1436 NW 62nd St. This development will be demolishing a three story single family house and replacing it with a 4 story apartment building.
Fortunately, we aren’t the only ones writing about housing issues. Here’s what we’ve read recently:
The Sightline Institute showing how parking drives up the cost of rent. Fortunately, this isn’t news to anyone that’s been following this issue but it’s great to see the report covered in so many publications! It’s also good research and fascinating even if you already know the general conclusions.
The Atlantic Cities wrote a pretty terrible article suggesting that small apartments could be bad for resident’s health simply because they are small. The article links to a study study of college age dorm residents and their drinking habits as proof. It also uses ‘crowded’ and ‘small’ interchangeably to describe the apartments. It seems unnecessary to point out that living alone in a small apartment is not the same as living in a 2 bedroom apartment with 4 people. While the article title is mostly link bait, it does pose an important question; is the strategy of building smaller apartments a promising strategy for reducing the costs of rent? This is something we’d like to explore more here.
Another local publication gets to the heart of reducing rental prices, indicating that there will never be affordable housing without more supply. This is an important point and it should be noted that the movement for a higher minimum wage is complementary to the struggle to increase the housing supply in Seattle. It brings to mind one of my favorite observations about housing:
…a housing affordability crisis means that housing is expensive relative to its fundamental costs of production—not that people are poor.
By increasing the minimum wage we will increase the number of people who will be able to afford units. By increasing the supply of units will will increase the number of units that are affordable.
How can it be a problem if something is free? It turns out, free and subsidized parking is a problem because it is often only free or subsidized for the person doing the parking and everyone else pays for it.
What does a city need to ensure residents with different incomes can afford housing? One of Seattle’s strategies is to provide a tax exemption for developments that include affordable housing.
Here’s the roundup of reading we’ve been doing:
Believe it or not, the city takes a lot of feedback from Seattleites and seriously considers it.