Seattle identifies 24 neighborhoods for housing growth

In line with Seattle’s Comprehensive Plan – essentially a road map to growth over the next two decades – Mayor Bruce Harrell is proposing 24 “neighborhood centers” across the city.

The proposal would allow for apartment buildings of three to six stories to be built within a couple blocks of key intersections, supplementing longstanding “urban villages” (like the mini downtowns of Ballard or Columbia City, for example). The centers would offer denser housing close to shops and services, creating more “15-minute” neighborhoods where residents could meet basic needs by walking or biking not more than 15 minutes from home. See the map of selected neighborhoods here.

Anticipating resistance from neighborhoods that have already opposed greater density, such as Wedgwood, Harrell’s proposal targets spots that already have some apartments or stores, so the expanded development wouldn’t be perceived as such a drastic change.

Harrell’s plan splits the difference between Seattle’s status quo strategy, which could produce 80,000 new homes by 2044, and a more aggressive approach called Alternative 5, which could produce 120,000 units. The current neighborhood center plan predicts adding at least 100,000 homes. Harrell’s ideas are more conservative than Alternative 5 in that apartments would be added directly along arterial streets like 35th Avenue Northeast (instead of within walking distance of frequent transit routes), and instead of creating 40 centers with a radius of about 1,000 feet each, the mayor’s plan would create 24 that extend about 800 feet.

In drafting the proposal, officials looked for intersections near frequent transit, shops and services, with opportunities for new apartments and in areas less likely to displace lower-income residences. Many of the sites that made it to the final round were already identified by the city in 1994 as places to anchor services and housing. To that point, Matt Hutchins, a pro-density architect, believes these centers could unlock the development potential of areas where growth should have already occurred and could support more rent-restricted housing in the coming years.

Harrell’s draft plan is under a 60-day comment period, which wraps up next month, after which revisions will begin.

The 24 proposed neighborhoods are: 

NE 130th Street
23rd & Union–Jackson
Aurora–Licton Springs
Bitter Lake
Columbia City
Crown Hill
Green Lake
Lake City
Morgan Junction
North Beacon Hill
North Rainier
Rainier Beach
South Park
Upper Queen Anne
West Seattle Junction
Westwood–Highland Park

This post was based on information found on Seattle Times.

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