Incentive zoning to create affordable housing had a lengthy public hearing tonight.
Labor likes incentive zoning saying that “development left unchecked [will] widen the gap between rich and poor.” That doesn’t sound very “pro-development.”
But Steve Williamson from UFCW Local 21 said “We are pro development.” But Williamson added that we “want shared prosperity” which means requiring housing for people making 40% AMI requiring union labor for construction.
Low income housing advocates are in favor of this as well seeing an opportunity for new housing units and new dollars from a pay in lieu element in the legislation.
But there are two unlikely groups aligned against incentive zoning.
The first is John Fox’s Displacement Coalition. Fox in a recent e-mail about incentive zoning he said that “for months, our Mayor and most of our City Council have been hashing over new programs designed to reward developers with tax breaks, more density, and other giveaways.” In the same e-mail Fox calls for a moratorium on growth.
The second vocal group tonight was the business community and developers. Steve Leahy of the Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce said that the proposal is actually a disincentive for new development. Up zones are incentive enough and the best way to create more affordable housing. They don’t see a giveaway here.
What do single family neighborhoods think of incentive zoning? On October 21st the City Neighborhood Council will be holding a meeting to discuss what incentive zoning might mean for single family neighborhoods.
Will single family neighborhoods join developers and the Displacement Coalition against incentive zoning? Do neighborhoods see incentive zoning as more density at their expense? Does the recent financial crisis make incentive zoning moot since credit has frozen and nobody can build or buy?