Groups challenging two ordinances implementing the Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA) program chose not to appeal the Growth Management Hearings Board (GMHB) decision that upheld the legislation. Petitioners had a deadline of January 29 to appeal the GMHB decision to Superior Court. The MHA ordinances were adopted by City Council in March 2019.
Under MHA, developers are required to either produce a set amount of workforce-level affordable housing in their projects or contribute to a City affordable housing fund.
“My team has been proud to defend the City’s efforts to prioritize affordable housing production in the face of ever-increasing rental housing prices,” said Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes. “This marks the end of two years of nearly continuous litigation, starting with the appeal to the City’s Hearing Examiner in late 2017, and I couldn’t be happier to move forward.”
“The City of Seattle is taking another step forward to create more affordable housing for our low- and middle-income neighbors throughout the city,” said Seattle Mayor Jenny A. Durkan. “I applaud the efforts of Pete Holmes and his team of attorneys who worked for more than two years to bring the ambiguity around this critical issue to an end. Today, we can move forward with urgency, fully implementing this critical tool to help bring online thousands of homes for the people of Seattle.”
The GMHB issued a 78-page December decision, which rejected all claims brought by the petitioners. Assistant City Attorney Jeff Weber led the City’s legal defense, representing the City in twenty-one days of hearings, managing tens of thousands of pages of document discovery, and submitting hundreds of pages of legal briefs.
“The language from last month’s GMHB Order was decisive enough to end the seemingly never-ending challenges,” added Pete Holmes. ” We owe a huge thanks Assistant City Attorney Jeff Weber and his team who tackled a massive amount of briefings on some extremely complex issues. MHA is now definitively established and unchallenged.”
More information about the City’s Mandatory Housing Affordability program is available here: https://www.seattle.gov/hala/about/mandatory-housing-affordability-(mha)