Rename ‘single-family’ zoning? Morgan Community Association briefing Wednesday, City Council public hearing next week

As reported here last month, citywide Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda (a West Seattle resident) is proposing a name change in the city zoning code – dropping “single-family” and replacing it with “neighborhood residential.” Her proposal would not change the actual zoning, just the name, but it’s considered a potential step toward eventually ending what some call “exclusionary zoning.” If you’re interested in hearing more about the name-change proposal, it’s one of the agenda items for tomorrow night’s quarterly meeting of the Morgan Community Association, 7 pm online; attendance info (Zoom or phone) is in our calendar listing. The council is accepting comments now, and plans a public hearing one week from tomorrow, at 9:30 am Wednesday, July 28th – info on that is on this webpage about the proposal.

41 Replies to "Rename 'single-family' zoning? Morgan Community Association briefing Wednesday, City Council public hearing next week"

  • Graciano July 21, 2021 (5:20 am)

    Do these council members have nothing better to do? Changing the name for for what, How about they leave it alone! If they need  something constructive to do…, They all can help clean up the trash laying around the city.

    • GC July 21, 2021 (7:08 am)

      Ditto!!

    • Joan July 21, 2021 (8:08 am)

      Agreed!! Can we stop debating words for things and actually DO something? It’s single family homes. What else can you call it?  Who is this name “excluding”?  

    • KWest Seattle July 21, 2021 (2:34 pm)

      Totally agree! Seattle has SO many things the council should spend their time on and this is not one of them!

  • JW July 21, 2021 (7:01 am)

    I have worked hard all my life  . I’m now in my 60’s and because of working hard and making responsible choices I now live a fortunate life.  I  have always thought myself to be a compassionate person but I am becoming angry at  having my substantial tax dollars going to “fix other people’s situations. Many of whom  want a handout instead of a hand up . Now I’m seeing that city leaders want to do away with single family homes  . Give me a break . What is this city going to give me for being a person who has never been a drain on society. So far what  I’m  getting is not being safe to go downtown or to walk my neighborhood streets without the real possibility of being assaulted and robbed . Our property is being vandalized with out consequences for the person committing  these crimes . 

  • anonyme July 21, 2021 (7:24 am)

    Agree with Graciano.  If you’re going to attempt to change zoning laws (a mistake, IMO) then a name change would be appropriate as part of that measure.  Otherwise, it just makes the council look like time-wasting morons.  It’s also highly hypocritical as there is simultaneously a move underway to grant zoning exclusivity to the industrial district.  What’s good for the goose…

  • Sillygoose July 21, 2021 (7:59 am)

    Come on Mosqueda this is such a waste of time.  If a household doesn’t feel like they are a family to the point you have to label single-family zoning “exclusionary zoning.” these individuals need to re-evaluate their household to determine why it is they done feel like a family!!  Good GRIEF!!!!  

  • Rico July 21, 2021 (8:11 am)

     Mosqueda and the ilk on the Council are not even addressing the real housing issue.   The largest issue with housing in the lack of starter homes.    A WSJ article today points this out.   Continuing to subsidizing multi billion dollar developers will not help – building of more adpodments and removing single family homes does not address the issue.   

    • Duplex Dude July 21, 2021 (10:31 am)

      Changing single family zoning to allow for things like cottages, duplexs, triplex, quadplexes and cooperative condos does absolutely address the lack of starter homes. It’s not a panacea, but it would be a massive step in the right direction.

      • neighbor July 21, 2021 (10:40 am)

        I’m sorry but no, it won’t. What it will do is what many of us are already seeing… one relatively affordable older home gets torn down and 3 or 4 brand new townhomes go up. Each of them costs more than the old house did. You have more housing, yes, but the supply of starter homes is completely eliminated.

        • Duplex Dude July 21, 2021 (2:55 pm)

          Doing a very small step and logical step of merging SFH zoning and RSL zoning would allow for new starter homes to actually be built and increase the housing supply, without allowing developers to build town-homes (IE, fill some of the demand that exists.) We need to be careful an not fall into the San Francisco trap of not building
          anything. I think the under-40 generation has accepted that their starter homes
          are not going to look like their parents starter homes, at least not in
          Seattle. We need to adjust the laws to reflect that. Again, it’s not a panacea and many will have to leave the city if they want to own.


          • neighbor July 21, 2021 (4:21 pm)

            And who exactly is going to build these starter homes? Not the developer, who stands to make a lot more money building high-end homes, which are still in great demand. And not an individual investor either, for the same reason. No one builds anything with the intention of making less money than they could, except potentially nonprofits… who will be outbid by investors and developers seeking to make money. And while I would absolutely support the notion of the city using the surplus properties they already have to build housing, they’ve found it more expedient to sell those properties off. Go figure.

  • CJ July 21, 2021 (8:27 am)

    Here’s an option – Vote for Kate https://electkatemartin.com/

  • james July 21, 2021 (8:33 am)

    “Exclusionary”?  Oh brother……this council member should find a real job.  Counting salmon maybe? OR maybe roadside trash cleanup? Something simple.

  • Ol’ West July 21, 2021 (8:52 am)

    It’s a stepping stone to increasing housing density. I know we could fit another family or maybe 2 comfortably on our lot, but for regulations. Housing prices are at the place where it makes sense to increase density.

    • Alki joy July 21, 2021 (9:33 pm)

      You may have the property, but where is the infrastructure to support the increase in density – water, sewers, transit, streets, police, fire, etc. etc.  and everyone’s favorite, parking.  The irony is much of the low income housing was torn down to make room for more “affordable” housing which we now know no one can afford.  How will this proposed change be any different?

  • Mike July 21, 2021 (8:55 am)

    This will remove protection for single-family neighborhoods.  

    • Reed July 21, 2021 (10:17 am)

      Oh, the horror! Even if if single family zoning is eliminated, people aren’t forced to sell to developers. Place the blame on property owners selling, not on council members trying to remove antiquated, racist nomenclature.

      • anonyme July 21, 2021 (10:46 am)

        How is “single-family” = “racist nomenclature”?  Which word is racist – single, or family?  How does the combination of those words become racist?  Last time I checked, those words could – and did – apply to anyone and everyone. I don’t have a family; should I be OUTRAGED, OUTRAGED, I SAY because the word family is included in the zoning language, thereby EXCLUDING the very important ME?  The extent to which people will go these days to achieve outrage is pathetic.  Faux pathetic.

      • Wseattlite July 21, 2021 (12:37 pm)

        Quit trying to wrap this up into a racist discussion.  I live in an area which I chose to in order to have a yard, garden, grow my own food, have space for the kids to grow up and play, and alter my home as my needs change throughout life.  I have the option of doing so by saving my own money and performing many of these changes myself in order to do it economically.  There are people of all colors, backgrounds, and identities in my neighborhood that have chosen to do the same.  For those that chose to have a family and raise them in a condo, apartment, or townhouse with no exterior space, options abound.  I am disgusted by those who bring the race card into every conversation not having to do with race, and those who think everyone should be living in a concrete bee hive with hundreds of other people.  If that is what you want, you do you.  I will be paying CLOSE attention to this in upcoming elections, and will endorse candidates who are not trying to take choice away from the constituents, regardless of the color of their skin.  ARE YOU LISTENING COUNCIL?

        • Reed July 22, 2021 (6:53 am)

          Whoa a bit triggered are we? I really don’t have the bandwidth to go on a long monologue to explain this to you, so here is an article explaining how singe family zoning is rooted in racism:https://www.kqed.org/news/11840548/the-racist-history-of-single-family-home-zoningTry being more informed before you go on a rant.

        • Reed July 22, 2021 (7:07 pm)

          Do a little bit of reading and you can find the roots of what single family zoning in based on. I will give you a hint: it’s all about keeping “those” people out of the neighborhood.

    • K July 21, 2021 (12:04 pm)

      It won’t (it’s just a name change), but I wish it would. There’s a lot of wasted space in my “single-family” neighborhood.

  • TJ July 21, 2021 (10:05 am)

    Changing the name is all about dismantling the suburbs. The renaming comes straight out of the Seattle Planning Commissions report, “Neighborhoods for All”. The report urges zoning codes to be changed to convert single-family homes to multiple units for rent.

  • Plf July 21, 2021 (10:08 am)

    Vote folks, if you think that we need a different direction vote accordingly 

  • Ant July 21, 2021 (10:44 am)

    I am curious who thinks a $650K+ town home/condo is affordable. Also, the assumption that “single family home” nomenclature is racist removes any legitimacy to an equality argument. Some people decide to save and forgo certain purchases in their life to buy a single family home in the hopes that they don’t have to share walls with others, can have a yard of their own to pursue hobbies, and have the flexibility to remodel their home to accommodate a growing family. There are many, many problems relating to inequality in the US, but single family homes could not be lower on the list.

  • 22blades July 21, 2021 (11:42 am)

    Is this a backdoor zoning change to benefit developers? Leave the name & zoning alone. I’m tired of giving away right of ways & the chicanery of developers & construction companies.

    • CandrewB July 21, 2021 (12:44 pm)

      Absolutely. And they’re trying to make it a racial issue to cow you into submission. And it will work.

    • The King July 21, 2021 (1:17 pm)

      Yep. Mosqueda is trying a slight of hand here. It’s more than changing the name, it pretty much allows townhouses, duplexes and apartments to go up wherever. Other cities like Olympia have tried this and got shut down in legislation. If it goes through it won’t happen overnight but when it does the prices of everything will be even higher….and your neighbor will be able to pass the salt through the window. 

  • JenT July 21, 2021 (11:53 am)

    All this is going to do is make developers money.  The flimsy townhouses I’ve seen sprouting up in Gatewood are in the $1M+ range.  How exactly is this going to solve anything? 

    • skeeter July 21, 2021 (4:55 pm)

      Well…  Seattle is adding jobs faster than adding housing.  So the thinking is that adding more housing and density will eventually allow housing supply to catch up to demand.  That will ease housing prices.  Sure, not everyone can afford a $1M home, but as long as someone can afford to live there that opens up a housing spot for someone else.  

    • 1994 July 21, 2021 (10:44 pm)

      The idea that single family residences are exclusionary zoning is only going to drive the cost of them higher! What is Mosqueda’s goal? To keep housing affordable or not? The idea in this country is freedom – is it not? The idea is to work hard for what you want, and if people want single family zoning  — it should be available. Many people relocate in order to afford purchasing a home in single family zoning. I hope Mosqueda is voted off the city council.

  • AlkiFlyer July 21, 2021 (1:08 pm)

    Increased density is ruining Seattle’s residential neighborhoods. If I wanted to live in NYC or Chicago or SF I would.  I was born here and have spent my 63 years in Seattle…but I can’t take much more of the changes the city government has made.  I’ll be loading up the car and driving 25mph down a road that was formally four lanes and 40mph on my way out the door.  And I’ll use the low bridge…screw ’em.  ;-)

  • StopCuttingDownTrees July 21, 2021 (1:17 pm)

    Seattle’s single-family neighborhoods are full of mature, tall trees and yards full of wildlife. Increased density means hotter, tree-less, concrete neighborhoods devoid of wildlife, shade, and humanizing space.

  • Alex July 21, 2021 (1:17 pm)

    A couple years ago the Council updated single family zoning to allow a house, an attached unit and a detached unit on a standard lot.   Changing the name is consistent with what they have already done and a harbinger for the future.

  • ITotallyAgreeWithYou July 21, 2021 (3:52 pm)

    I’ve seen this manipulation before with my union bylaws and contracts.  A seemingly harmless proposal to change a title to better reflect its purpose and claims that it won’t change anything and once the simple name change is set in stone,  the same party comes back and argues that the wording needs to now be updated to reflect the title and suddenly we have unwittingly changed the rule or the agreement to reflect the will of a minority opinion. There is no need for city council to be spending energy on fine tuning wording when there is so much that is more urgent to focus on, unless there is a bigger agenda. And how will “neighborhood residential” be literally defined and restricted for new development or improvement in the city dictionary?  What other laws or codes will be affected by this seemingly innocuous change? I will never be able to afford a single family home unfortunately (it’s not a “choice” for everybody what kind of housing we live in as one above suggested-that’s insulting) but houses have a place in Seattle, a little breathing room between dwellings is invaluable, and we don’t need to densify every square inch of the city. If you think replacing a single family house with a multiplex of any size makes home ownership attainable to more people you are deluding yourself.

  • Alki Wendy July 21, 2021 (6:15 pm)

    There are only 2 candidates running for mayor that believe in maintaining single family housing, and preserving neighborhoods.  Casey Sixkiller is one of them.  Mr. Sixkiller will be at Admiral Congregational Church on Tuesday, July 27th at 7:00 pm.  You will have an opportunity to ask him questions.  Your attendance does not mean an endorsement.  

  • Gatewooder July 22, 2021 (6:34 am)

    This is the product of long meetings?  Name changes. Waste of tax dollars. Produce or get voted out. Currently voting for anyone other than the current hard left council members. Our ciity is a dump that tourists and locals alike want less to do with these days. 

  • Reed July 22, 2021 (7:03 am)

    Reading through the comments thus far it seems like most of you would be better off living in the suburbs, so why not do it? You can have your cul-de-sacs, an acre or more of land, have to drive everywhere, tacky strip malls, not see homeless people, and certainly not run the risk of multi-family housing popping up next to you.

  • My two cents … July 22, 2021 (9:31 am)

    It was it is – setting the stage to dramatically change the zoning of the community. The ham-handed spin by the Council demonstrates that they are scraping the bottom of the barrel.

  • anonyme July 23, 2021 (9:05 am)

    The attempt to frame those who live in single-family housing as elitist and racist is a sickening and bullying diversionary tactic.  People of all races and incomes aspire to live in their own home on their own little patch of soil, away from the crowding and lack of community inherent in apartment living.  It is in fact a sustainable way of living, especially as so many people are using their plots to grow veg, etc.  I own my little home, despite having an income of under 16k per year.  It took more than 40 years of struggle and hard work for me to get here, and many thousands of hours of sweat equity.  It’s not the zoning or the quieter way of life that creates disparity, it is outdated policies like redlining that were a problem.  Attempts to rewrite history do nothing whatsoever to address today’s issues, and cramming an apartment building up against a war shack does nothing to address a housing shortage, or create equality for anyone.  Changing zoning, and thereby ruining the quality of life that so many have worked so hard for helps no one except developers. 

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