More zoning demystifying: trying to read the “MHA upzone” maps

The city released the “final” EIS recently with “mandatory housing affordability” upzone maps. Part of the plan is to allow greater density in existing urban villages with optional even higher density if a developer builds more affordable housing. Predictably a group is already planning to appeal or somehow stop the proposal, which still has to go to the city council and the earliest it’s likely to pass is next summer in 2018. Meanwhile we have 1000 people moving to Seattle every week and a huge gap in housing units being built to keep up which drives up rents (supply and demand is really a thing). Anyway, I tend to think the upzones are incredibly conservative but maybe I should look really closely. Perhaps those people planning to stop the plan have a point.

So let’s zoom in on my neighborhood on the map! We live just south of I-90 and just west of Rainier. Unfortunately, the alternative maps are kind of painful to understand. You’d think by looking at “Preferred Alternative” map that there’s a large amount of area being upzoned in my neighborhood. But if you go back and forth between the current zoning and the preferred alternative it becomes a little clear how little there is.

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