On April 19, citywide Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA) legislation became effective, implementing affordable housing requirements throughout the City of Seattle. The legislation amends the Land Use Code in many ways, but specific to the green building standards, it changes the triggers for when the green building requirements apply. The Land Use Code does not make green building mandatory. The code does make green building a requirement when a project exceeds floor area ratio (FAR) thresholds, and when gaining extra floor area and height in specific zones.
On March 18, City Council voted unanimously to adopt zoning changes and Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA) in urban villages and commercial and multifamily zones around the city. The legislation expanded ten urban villages within a 10-minute walking distance from transit stops such as light rail stations. The Council also passed a companion resolution requesting several work items including design guidelines, updates to historic inventories, and historic review protections. The Mayor signed the legislation on March 20. It becomes effective on April 19.
The Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA) upzones are coming soon! The City Council is considering changes to the zoning designation and development standards for property throughout Seattle. The proposed MHA upzones will allow you to construct larger buildings than what is currently allowed. After an MHA upzone, your property will also be subject to the MHA requirements and you may need to contribute to an affordable housing fund or provide affordable units as part of your development.