Seattle residents organize petition to curb housing development

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by TERESA YUAN / KING 5 News

NWCN.com

Posted on March 11, 2014 at 9:12 AM

Updated Tuesday, Mar 11 at 10:55 AM

SEATTLE -- Frustration is growing over rapid development and lack of affordable housing around Seattle. Concerned citizens are organizing from West Seattle to Capitol Hill to Phinney Ridge. The latest group is “Livable Ballard.”

“This is really turning into a really citywide movement of people demanding some representation. It feels like our city is being given away to developers,” said Tess Stelzer with Livable Ballard.

The group is asking people to sign a petition demanding the City of Seattle address zoning issues and close developer loopholes.   

Many residents take issue with so-called four-pack townhouses popping up right next to single family homes.

But developers tell city leaders they're providing much needed inventory to meet the housing demand. Seattle has been seeing tremendous job growth and an increased need for homes.

Seattle Council member Nick Licata says all council members are struggling with this very political issue, trying to balance development and urban growth while preserving neighborhoods

Licata’s recommending a special city review option for community’s to consider

“If a neighborhood has exceeded growth goals, which we know Ballard has exceeded it’s growth goal by more than 200 percent, then we should set up a special review in that community to look at how city investments are made and which additional ones maybe needed," said Licata.

Homeless and low-income advocate groups like Seattle Displacement Coalition are also working on an open letter to Seattle’s Mayor Ed Murray and City Council to take action and require developers pay "impact fees" like other major cities.

“In my 35 years of following the housing market in Seattle, it is unprecedented the rates of growth, the rate of displacement and gentrification, the rise in homelessness -- unprecedented,” said John Fox with Seattle Displacement Coalition.

Livable Ballard and Seattle Displacement Coalition are working to hand in their petitions, signatures and letters soon to city leaders.

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