by Sarajane Siegfriedt
As John Fox and the Seattle Displacement Coalition correctly said, in Comp Plan Land Use Appendix A-1 page three totals), the real number is 35%. The 65% comes from the City Dept. of Planning which is the mouthpiece of the developers. They've excluded rights-of-way from the total acreage to get "Net Acreage." What's that? Why would anyone include it? Then for some inexplicable reason, they include parks and even Green Lake in the single-family part. So both the numerator and the denominator have to be changed to get this "65% of Seattle is zoned SF" Big Lie. The culprit is the city planners, who are in the pockets of the developers.
The real question for [the author of a recent crosscut article] Eric is, what is the carrying capacity of the zoned land? For SF >4,000 s.f., it's two units, either a mother-in-law apartment or a backyard cottage. If the HALA is successful in upzoning all urban villages to low-rise or midrise, what is the zoned capacity of these areas? In my Lake City urban village, a 162-unit, 7-story (not 6) midrise (with 6 so-called live/work units on the ground floor) is replacing three SF homes and one 22-unit courtyard building. I figure that's an increase of 600% to 800%, or 15% affordable units displaced by 162 new market-rate units. (These 25 units were demolished in 2015.)
The HALA proposes to increase multifamily zoning from 10% of the city to 13% in urban villages, plus upzoning along transit corridors to midrise multifamily (NC-65) for another 3% of the city to make multifamily zoning 16% of the city. That's a 60% increase from current acreage, and an increase of capacity of at least 600%. It's hard to defend any more increases to SF density on the basis of need, unless you believe developers need to develop more SF mansions. Bingo!