Upzoned

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August 4, 2021  

Sustainable Source of Income Snatched Away from Seattle’s Black Churches

August 4, 2021

"Seattle Black Faith Leaders Urge Mayor Durkan Not to Sign Amended Density Bonus Bill," says a recent article from The Urbanist. Since the passage of HB 1377 around 18 months ago, black churches in the city anticipated being able to use their valuable land by providing affordable housing for their communities, as the bill would grant density bonuses to them in exchange for doing so.

However, this initiative has been threatened by a recent decision made by the Seattle city council to introduce a last-minute amendment to the bill. Initial research found that turning churches into housing units would be feasible with income requirements at the 80% area median income level (AMI) but unviable at the 60% AMI threshold. Well…this is precisely what the amendment to HB 1377 does: it shifts the income requirement from the 80% AMI threshold to 60% AMI.

This week on Upzoned, host Abby Kinney is joined by Strong Towns Program Director Rachel Quednau as they "upzone" this story—i.e., they look at it through the Strong Towns lens. They examine how city leaders in Seattle have essentially shut out minority religious institutions from utilizing this piece of legislation, and why other churches around the country need to pay attention to this story.

Then, in the downzone, Rachel predicts a tomato downpour, and Abby does battle with snakes and spiders.

Additional Show Notes