Hearing Examiner Upholds Seattle’s Analysis of Mandatory Housing Affordability Program

The City of Seattle is proposing zoning and policy changes that would require all new development in urban villages and commercial zones to either include affordable homes or contribute to a City fund for affordable housing. BERK supported the City’s environmental review of this Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA) program by preparing the Housing and Socioeconomics, Land Use, and Aesthetics chapters of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). In November 2017, several community groups appealed the Final EIS, arguing that the City’s analysis of these topics and others was inadequate. BERK's lead analysts, Kevin Ramsey and Kevin Gifford, both served as expert witnesses on the City's behalf to testify during the appeal hearings.

Last week, the City’s Hearing Examiner ruled that the analysis is adequate with the sole exception of the Historic Resources section, which requires some additional work. This ruling is a major step forward in the City’s effort to implement the program.

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