Industrial rezoning plan could provide 3,000 new housing units
After 16 long years, the Port of Seattle may be seeing major changes to its industrial zoning. The potential changes have been fraught with conflicting interests, as the Port itself, industrial businesses, railroads and truckers oppose the changes lobbied for by the stadiums, real estate developers and non-industrial businesses. If it passes, the legislation could potentially add nearly 3,000 new housing units in different parts of the city.
At the moment, the proposed legislation would create three new zones in SoDo’s industrial areas, dividing the uses between industrial work, light industrial, and a buffer commercial/residential zone of sorts.
The latter is called the Urban Industrial zone, and will serve as a buffer between the more industrial areas of the neighborhood and residential and commercial areas. Some businesses including taprooms, art studios, restaurants, retail and offices would be allowed here, along with around 880 new housing units. The legislation stipulates that the housing must be affordable for residents earning 60% to 90% of the area median income, and is meant to be affordable for industrial workers. Because of its proximity to the industrial areas, housing developments in this area must also include sound dampening measures.
The proposed rezoning legislation doesn’t stop in SoDo. The package includes a plan to redraw the existing boundaries of industrial zones in Ballard, Georgetown, South Park and Judkins Park. It will remove industrial land in areas that are mostly commercial and residential, and rezone those areas as “Neighborhood Commercial.”
With this additional zoning in place, residential and commercial construction will be allowed in the affected areas, and could result in as many as 2,000 new housing units in these neighborhoods in the next two decades.
There is even a proposal to create a SoDo “Makers District” around the stadiums. The district would be targeted at artists, brewers and “makers” in the area, constructing hotels, housing and other commercial spaces for them.
While this addition has the support of the stadiums and several local housing groups, the Port and other industrial groups are concerned about potential clashes between residents and their businesses. Port activities can be noisy, and there are some potential safety concerns regarding pedestrians and trucking routes.
Unless the city comes to a consensus on the Makers District, the whole proposal may collapse. If the city is to move forward with this new plan, they must find an answer soon.
This article was based on information from Crosscut.
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