Category Archives: housing

A Close Look at the Proposed Head Tax

As part of officially introducing the employee hours tax (aka the “head tax”) into the budget process last week, Council members O’Brien, Harris-Talley and Sawant submitted draft legislation for it. Now that it’s something concrete and not just a set of talking points, let’s look at what it says, and what it means.

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Comment on the city’s proposed backyard cottages rule changes

Last December, the city’s Hearing Examiner ruled that the city needed to perform an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) before it could proceed to enact changes to the rules for mother-in-law apartments and backyard cottages (aka ADUs and DADUs). The city is now moving ahead with the EIS process, and you have your first opportunity to provide input.

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The Council is holding a public hearing tonight. This one matters.

The Council’s Planning, Land Use and Zoning Committee is holding a public hearing tonight on two issues: the proposed MHA rezone of the Uptown urban center, and some potential changes to the way that design reviews are done.

Many of the Council’s public hearings are perfunctory: the Council members already have a good idea how they plan to vote, and the most that commenters can hope for are to get some minor tweaks to the legislation.  But as of last Friday when the PLUZ committee met to discuss the two topics, there are some big open issues that the Council is scratching its collective head over.

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Understanding the Fair Chance Housing ordinance

Last week the Seattle City Council passed the Fair Chance Housing ordinance, which prohibits most Seattle landlords from using criminal background to deny housing to prospective tenants. Yesterday morning, Mayor Ed Murray signed the bill into law. The bill was not without controversy, and it’s worth understanding the rationale behind it as well as the strengths and weaknesses of the arguments.

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