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Comments on the One Seattle Plan (Comp Plan)

American Enterprise Institute

May 6, 2024

1) Seattle has been underbuilding for the last decade (and likely even longer) and it needs to build more housing than the targets set in the comp plan.
2) Seattle can legalize the building of more housing by embracing the lessons of its past and expanding on them. During the 1990s, Seattle upzoned parts of the city and over the years, it has made other smaller reforms that have resulted in more housing construction. These reforms brought forth substantial new supply when zoning is made by-right and regulations are kept short and simple. On the other hand, when Seattle introduced complexity, homebuilding faltered.
3) In the context of the One Seattle Plan, enabling more townhomes and other small residential structures will help Seattle achieve many of its goals set in the new Comp Plan such as meeting the supply challenge presented by growth, creating homeownership and wealth building opportunities for BIPOC communities, and reducing displacement pressure that helps drive homelessness.
4) Some of the goals and strategies discussed in the Seattle Comp Plan introduce unneeded complexity which will constrain supply growth and not help Seattle achieve housing abundance.

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