Affordable, livable housing: What do you want the city to do to ensure/enhance it?

Affordable, livable housing. Everybody needs it. Not everybody can find it. So the city’s trying to figure out what it can/should do, to fix that. To help shape its Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda, it’s working with an advisory committee. Among its members, West Seattle community advocate Cindi Barker, who says the committee met for the first time last week and is now looking ahead to three community meetings at which you can be heard.

Above is the slide deck with issues and data put before the committee, but you might already know in your heart and gut what it would take to deal with this issue. The key “starting points” for discussion are growth, affordability, recent development, and race/social justice. Back to the upcoming meetings: They’re all outside West Seattle, but the first two are not far:

South Seattle: Ethiopian Community Center (Map)
Wednesday, November 19, 2014, 6 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

Central District: Garfield Community Center (Map)
Thursday, November 20, 2014, 6 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

Northgate: Northgate Community Center (Map)
Thursday, December 04, 2014, 6 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

Meeting format:

6:00 pm, doors open

6:30 – 6:45, introductions and remarks

6:45 – 7:30, Survey of meeting attendees (hand held survey devices so people can respond to presentation material and provide direct input)

7:30 – 8:00, display stations of information and interaction with staff and committee members present

The full committee roster, by the way, is listed on the right side of this city webpage. They are expected to get recommendations to the mayor and council by the end of May.

12 Replies to "Affordable, livable housing: What do you want the city to do to ensure/enhance it?"

  • Anonymous Coward November 11, 2014 (5:50 am)

    I think I found your problem:
    Chart 3:
    From 1970 to 2010 one housing unit was created for every .9 additional residents.
    From 2010 to 2035 the city is planning for one additional housing unit for every 1.3 additional residents.
    I don’t see how you can make housing more affordable without planning for a lot more units.

  • sophista-tiki November 11, 2014 (7:23 am)

    How about stop jacking up rents to start with. Instead the plan is to get a bunch of out of touch people together to decide what to do with all of those inferior types that we need to do the service jobs. yea thats not creepy and obvious at all.

    I just helped an oblivious millennial move into their shiny new micro apartment that was about 1/2 the size of my bedroom and $1000/month. sad.

  • Peter November 11, 2014 (8:03 am)

    Housing prices won’t stabilize until we increase the supply. We’re not meeting current demand, to say nothing of future demand, and prices wil only go up until we do.

  • AJP November 11, 2014 (9:11 am)

    As long as it doesn’t affect my neighborhood or backyard I’m all for it! I worked hard to live where I am! Let the whippersnappers live in Kent! I pay my property taxes, I deserve a parking spot right in front of my house. //sarcasm font//

  • Heather November 11, 2014 (3:02 pm)

    I am a supporter of mother-in-laws on single family lots. I think that type of accomodation provides the opportunity to provide a nice home for someone (up to 3 people) or even a place for your kids or retired parents to live if that’s what is needed. It also fills the gap between home ownership and apartment living.

    And just a reminder that affordable housing targets many groups. I, personally know many single people over 35 who: work FT at civic/non – profit organizations, help financially support a retired parent, pay child support, etc. For all of whom more affordable housing is a must.

    It’s really a question of how we KEEP people who need more affordable housing in urban centers. A tiered city is a vibrant and healthy city.

  • Deerhawke November 11, 2014 (3:02 pm)

    This is basically about demand and supply. It is pretty hard to restrict demand without seeming silly. Should we tax Amazon or Boeing every time they create a new job and bring someone here from somewhere else?

    So the current thinking is that we tax developers and builders to get them to provide funding for affordable housing. But in fact, it doesn;t make any sense to punish developers for creating housing when in fact we need more housing. And after the costs are passed through, all that really does is raise rents and home prices for the rest of us.

    Basically if we are going to deal with homelessness, we are going to need to subsidize a lot of housing. Let’s bite the bullet and be honest about it. We will need to tax ourselves to help the less fortunate among us.

  • Ws resident November 11, 2014 (3:38 pm)

    I’m sorry but I am tired of being taxed for those who can’t afford to live in seattle or west seattle, I worked hard for my middle class home which I can’t afford the increase in taxes, pretty soon I will be one of those who are less fortunate because I’m being taxed out of my home
    Move to where you can afford to live, your nor my responsibility, I take care of myself and my family you should do the same

  • BJG November 11, 2014 (6:15 pm)

    The stock of small units built decades ago is tapped out. New units are unaffordable. That means we subsidize or wish the newly arrived well and show them to White Center and Burien. It has always been a big city problem. My children could not afford West Seattle 25 years ago when they looked for housing. This is very old news. it’s not good news, but it’s really just how this market works. Every new tax makes my place harder to hang onto. When I sell, a new unaffordable apartment complex will rise on this site and I will be looking elsewhere too. It sucks. Good luck to the newest “advisory committee.”

  • John November 12, 2014 (9:08 am)

    Good news!

    You control who buys your property and you can record legal restrictions over its use.

    If you don’t want an un-affordable apartment complex on your home site, do something about it.

    You can tie up your property with legal restrictions (20 foot height limit) that would scare away any developer while making the property much less valuable.

  • Peter November 12, 2014 (10:40 am)

    John, I’d love an explanation of how you suggestion is legal. Can you cite the state, city, and/or county laws that allow that? Once you sell something, it is the property of the person/entity it is sold to, and you get no more say in it. That’s the way it is and the way should be, otherwise all property owners would have to live under a permanent dictatorship of the former owner. What you suggest would also obliterate the value if the property, and no rational person would ever do that.

  • BJG November 12, 2014 (10:46 am)

    Thank John…have been turning all developer offers down. One particularly odious “offer” came from the developers of The Spruce (formerly the Hole.) It was an unsolicited multi-page legal sales agreement completely filled in except for my signature by the X. What a crock!
    As long as all my neighbors hold the line so will I. If in ten years all these owners still agree this place is safe. If my home winds up dwarfed by new development… there will be a reevaluation. My spectacular view is as temporary as the roof lines across the street. Money isn’t everything, but West Seattle is up for sale and I only own my little piece.

  • John November 13, 2014 (9:01 am)

    When you own property, you may place legal encumbrances on it.

    One such example is an easement. When recorded, an easement stays with the property even after someone else buys the property.

    An easement could prevent future development.

    Escrow and title searches provide property buyers with information regarding any restrictions.

    Most properties are sold with the seller having no such clauses, but such clauses are legal.

    When we bought our house the seller owned an adjacent lot. We had our attorney draft a clause in our sale agreement that banned any construction above a designated elevation to protect the view from our house.

    Placing such poison pill restrictions on property would definitely obliterate the value of the property for apartment development, but it would do what people are clambering for, prevent multi-family development.

    The inflated prices that developers pay to homeowners making huge profits selling out to them, is a greed factor that few here wish to address.

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