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Councilmember Johnson on University District Upzone Legislation

Councilmember Rob Johnson (District 4, Northeast Seattle), Chair of the Planning, Land Use & Zoning Committee, issued the following statement following Council’s unanimous adoption of the University District upzone:

“Today’s passage of the University District Upzone represents a huge step in living our values as a welcoming, sustainable, and inclusive city.  These zoning changes are the first to enact our Mandatory Housing Affordability program, requiring all new multifamily and commercial buildings include affordable housing units or make a payment in lieu to support the City’s construction of affordable homes.

“By taking this action today, we support the growth in the neighborhood with a number of investments and programs that have been identified by the community as priorities to result in a more vibrant, equitable neighborhood for all who live and work in the area.

“The passage of this legislation culminates a 5-year process in which city staff engaged with people who live, study, and work in the U District; this legislation includes changes we made in direct response to the concerns and opportunities we heard, and for that type of responsiveness, I am especially proud. For example, we delayed zoning changes along a stretch of the Ave so a study on the potential impacts on small businesses could be completed. We provided additional incentives to designate and preserve landmark structures in residential areas of the U District. And we created incentives for more family-sized units to ensure families continue to have a place in the U District.

“I would like to thank all of the folks who have come out to testify, wrote emails, or called, and I would like to thank the Planning, Land Use and Zoning Committee members for all of their hard work on this bill.”

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