Councilmember Lisa Herbold will introduce a proposal to require the replacement of existing affordable units on a 1-for-1 basis when properties are redeveloped under a key HALA program. At the July 19 meeting of the Planning, Land Use & Zoning (PLUZ) committee, Herbold will introduce an amendment to the framework legislation implementing “Mandatory Housing Affordability – Residential” (MHA-R).
Herbold’s amendment requires that the number of affordable units built under MHA-R must combine the mandatory affordable units (provided by the developer in return for the chance to build a bigger building) plus “a number of units equal to those affordable units identified through planning processes as being at risk of displacement.” This has the effect of requiring the replacement of affordable units that are demolished as a result of redevelopment.
The requirement for “1-for-1” replacement is a long-sought goal of housing activists in Seattle. Without it, the MHA-R program would actually encourage the demolition of “naturally occurring,” older affordable housing. Upzones create an incentive to tear down old buildings and build new ones with market-rate apartments. The City has no data about the number of existing affordable units in the private market, so MHA-R could result in a net loss of affordable units unless 1-for-1 replacement is required.
Herbold’s office says the language of the amendment is still being tweaked. The PLUZ committee meets Tuesday, July 19, at 9:30 AM in Council Chambers.