John V. Fox, Seattle Displacement Coalition (Presented in December to Bar Seminar 2015)
Seattle now is in the midst of planning for development through 2035, under the Growth Management Act (GMA). The act requires numerous forums and hearings for citizen involvement to help determine where and how Seattle will absorb future growth over the next 20 years.
But in one very important respect, citizens were invited to the party after the cake was served. Seattle’s leaders already had met with electeds from around the region and agreed to accept a growth target for Seattle of an additional 70,000 residential units and 115,000 jobs by 2035.
There’s a near total lack of transparency and no meaningful opportunity to participate in the process or question the veracity of these targets. But once these targets are adopted, they’re wielded like a club by city planners and proponents of density to force further upzoning and cram more growth into the city, regardless of impacts on the physical and social character of our neighborhoods—including affordable housing.
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