Councilmember Rob Johnson (Dist. 4, Northeast Seattle) issued the following statement today after the City of Seattle Hearing Examiner, Ryan P. Vancil, ruled on an appeal to the adequacy of the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the Citywide Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA) proposal. His decision requires the City to conduct additional analysis of historic resources and allows the Seattle City Council to resume consideration of the proposal once that work is complete.
The Citywide Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA) proposal would rezone certain areas across the city, including Urban Villages where MHA does not already apply, in order to trigger a new requirement that all new development provide affordable housing. Developers would be able to meet this requirement by either building affordable housing units on-site or paying into a City fund to produce affordable housing.
“I am glad that after one year and one of the longest appeals in Seattle’s history, the Hearing Examiner has allowed the City to move forward with its work on the Citywide MHA proposal. While there is more analysis to be done, today’s decision means that after a long delay, the City Council will be able to continue consideration of this important proposal to create more affordable housing during our housing crisis. With this legislation, we have an opportunity to allow for more desperately needed housing in Urban Village neighborhoods across our city, while requiring that all new development in those areas provide affordable housing,” Councilmember Johnson said.
“In the neighborhoods where MHA has already been implemented, it is working. This month, Mayor Durkan announced that MHA brought in more than $13 million to create affordable housing this year.
“Unfortunately, we also know that this appeal has cost Seattle at least $87 million worth of affordable housing that we could have brought in during the year since the appeal was filed. Had we been able to adopt MHA across the city without this delay, more neighborhoods would be receiving the investment in affordable housing they need, and more families in our city would have an affordable place to call home.
“Earlier this year, the Council’s Select Committee on Citywide Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA) held 13 meetings, including five evening public hearings across the city to listen to community input on this proposal. In those public hearings, we heard widespread support for the legislation, as well as many proposals from community members to improve it. I am excited that today’s outcome will allow us to move forward and act on those community-driven improvements next year.
“As the current development boom winds down, it is my hope that we can adopt the Citywide MHA proposal as soon as possible so as not to miss this development cycle and the opportunity to build affordable housing that comes with it. I am ready and excited to work with community members and my Council colleagues to move MHA forward quickly so we don’t lose even more affordable housing funding.”
On Monday, Dec. 3, 2018 the Seattle City Council’s Select Committee on Citywide Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA) will meet to discuss the outcome of this appeal and lay out the path forward for Council consideration. The meeting will begin at 10:30 a.m., or after Council Briefing, in Council Chambers at Seattle City Hall, and include an opportunity for public comment.