The Seattle City Council’s Planning, Land Use and Neighborhoods Committee will have another hearing, discussion and possible vote tomorrow morning at 9:30 a.m. on a plan to extend the city’s incentive zoning program beyond downtown.
This proposal would insure all buildings taking advantage of future upzones come with units earmarked for certain income levels. It has been kicking around long enough to have germinated amid a flood of permits and plans. Now, it’s about to poke out of the dirt in a totally different development environment.
Does the change matter?
With development slowing in Seattle and financing tough to come by for even some of the seasoned pros, will any incentive help? Or should the city just be lapping up any new building plans it can get and putting off hopes of getting more public benefits out of the deal?
Some people testifying at previous public hearings on the proposal have pointed out that economic slowdowns are the best time — sometimes the only time– to right policy wrongs and prepare for the next building rush.
Others have testified that it’s important an incentive actually be an incentive. It may be tough to evaluate what that looks like now.
As suggested in part by the time it’s taken this proposal to move forward, it’s also hard to make development decisions amid huge uncertainty over the future.