Councilmember Herbold on University District Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA) Legislation

Councilmember Lisa Herbold (District 1, West Seattle & South Park) issued this statement after Council’s adoption of the University District MHA Rezone:

“As I considered the U District Rezone and the new MHA requirements, my top priority was insuring that the new requirements to contribute to affordable housing were adequate to meet the need.  The historic new requirements in MHA help but I’m concerned that they aren’t robust enough to both expand housing opportunities for people who move to our City and to prevent displacement of low-income residents who make the University District their home today.

“Displacement prevention is the reason I pursued an amendment to increase affordable housing requirements for developers in new U District highrises and why I proposed a resolution to evaluate the risk of displacement in residential zones in neighborhoods slated for area-wide rezones next year.

“The Displacement Risk Analysis for the University District Rezone proved insufficient to allow the Council to consider new and additional strategies to more fully mitigate displacement.  This newly adopted resolution seeks a more thorough evaluation of residential displacement from increases in development capacity.

“We want people of diverse incomes to be able to stay in our City while making room for others to move here.  Moving forward, I’m hopeful we can improve affordability and opportunity in neighborhoods for both.”