Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda (Position 8, Citywide), Chair of Council’s Housing, Health, Energy and Workers’ Rights Committee, issued the following statement after the Seattle City Council passed three pieces of legislation in a 9 – 0 vote that allows for the rezone and development of Fort Lawton into affordable housing, open space and active recreation:
“The vision for an affordable community at Fort Lawton has been more than a decade of community engagement, planning, and advocacy in the making. This plan will create a variety of affordable homes—including homes for seniors and veterans experiencing homelessness, affordable rental homes for families and individuals, and affordable homeownership opportunities for low-income buyers—and with housing costs soaring and displacement at crisis levels, the need for these homes has never been greater. More than 60% of the site will be dedicated to parks and open space, complementing the natural beauty, recreational and respite space, and wildlife habitat of nearby Discovery Park, which will remain untouched.
“The Fort Lawton plan will further fair housing, create greater inclusion, and advance opportunity by creating homes that will open access to a high-cost area of the city that has previously been largely out of reach to low-income people and communities of color.
“Fort Lawton is a rare opportunity to gain a significant portion of the land from the federal government at no cost if it’s used to build affordable housing and services—a win-win in Seattle’s highly competitive real estate market.
“Over the course of several evening public hearings and five hearings in the Housing, Health, Energy, and Workers’ Rights Committee, we heard community interest in expanding bus service to the neighborhood, increasing school capacity, and creating more space for wildlife habitat. In response to this community feedback, the Council worked with Metro and SDOT to initiate the conversation on future bus service. We engaged Seattle Public Schools, which said they need more playfields in the city. And we worked with community members on an amendment to convert unused parking space to green space, to create even more wildlife habitat to support beloved species like the area’s blue heron population.
“Today, the City is finally able to move forward on this vision—and create a future for the Fort Lawton site that includes our aging seniors, low-income families, and our neighbors who struggle with access to homeownership opportunities to live and thrive close to the heart of Seattle.”