Full Council Meeting: All About the Linkage Fees

This afternoon’s full Council meeting, as expected, was all about the two agenda items related to commercial and residential linkage fees.

Meeting details

Meeting video

After an extended public comment session (50 people signed up to speak), the council turned to the two pieces of legislation on its agenda: an ordinance (Council Bill 118498) which puts in place a framework for assessing linkage fees for commercial development, and a resolution (Resolution 31612) beginning the legislative process for assessing linkage fees for residential development.

First up: 118498. Council member O’Brien introduced an amendment, which in effect created a 15-page introduction to the ordinance (in this case called Finding of Fact). As both O’Brien and council member Burgess pointed out, these 15 pages create a comprehensive history of the history of Seattle’s effort over the last two years to address housing affordability and are an interesting read — particularly if you are not familiar with the whole history of this endeavor to-date.

Then came the required litany of council members taking the opportunity to comment on the bill. Most of them praised the effort as a good start, but obviously far from a complete solution, and noted that this was part of the “Grand Bargain” made with Seattle developers as a compromise that they would not collectively fight against. Council member Sawant proved once again why so many people dislike working with her, as she took her turn at the microphone to insult developers and predicted that they would fight it, resist it, and circumvent it at every opportunity (watch it here; skip to 1:02:15). But in the end, she voted for it anyway; the amended ordinance passed unanimously.

Attention then turned to Resolution 31612, which begins the process of drafting an equivalent ordinance for residential development. This passed quickly (again unanimously) and without much discussion.

In other business, the Council approved their weekly Introduction and Referral Calendar.  This week it contained a variety of items, including proposed appointments of several people to the Seattle LGBT Commission and the Seattle Human Rights Commission, disposing of several Seattle City Light properties, a Seattle Police Intelligence audit report, and a proposal to reorganize the Department of Planning and Development.