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Councilmembers Call for New Plan to Manage Population Growth, Address Displacement

City of Seattle
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 6/19/2015

Councilmembers Call for New Plan to Manage Population Growth, Address Displacement

SEATTLE – Seattle is expected to gain 120,000 new residents and 115,000 new jobs by the year 2035, and the City is in the midst of a planning process to determine where and how the growth will happen. The Seattle 2035 planning process currently includes four alternative options for how growth might be distributed throughout Seattle, including plans that emphasize increased zoning capacity near light rail, bus rapid transit, in urban villages, or in urban centers.

Council Land Use Committee members Mike O’Brien, Tim Burgess and Nick Licata sent a letter this week requesting the study of a fifth growth alternative, which would instead emphasize distribution of growth in areas of the city where there are opportunities for jobs and access to amenities but would also limit displacement of low-income residents.

“With new housing construction and increased property values comes the risk of displacement of seniors, renters, and low- and middle-income workers, and we must have those residents in mind as we plan for Seattle’s next 20 years,” said Councilmember Mike O’Brien.

The letter from Councilmembers also requested that Department of Planning and Development (DPD) identify specific strategies and ordinances that could directly mitigate displacement, including “required one-for-one or even greater replacement of affordable housing, mandatory set-asides for affordable housing, and measures to increase the likelihood that locally-owned, small business could continue to thrive in areas where development is occurring.”

Councilmember Nick Licata said, “The creation of a Displacement Vulnerability Index places Seattle in the vanguard of equitable planning; now the hard work is to use this tool to actually do things differently.”

Per last year’s Council request, DPD reviewed the four current alternatives using a Growth and Equity Analysis to analyze neighborhoods based on their access to opportunity (quality schools, frequent transit, open space, parks) and neighborhoods based on their risk of displacement if large amounts of new housing were to be constructed (communities of color, renters or low-income households).  Details on the four alternatives can be reviewed here.

The comment period ended yesterday for the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Seattle 2035 alternatives. DPD is expected to issue a draft plan for public comment in July.  A final Environmental Impact Statement and Mayor Murray’s proposed recommendation are expected to be issued at the end of the year.

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