Pacific Publishing/Coalition for an Affordable, Livable Seattle | Carolee Colter and John V. Fox | posted: January 2014
Every ten years, the state’s Growth Management Act (GMA) requires the Puget Sound four-county area (King, Pierce, Snohomish and Kitsap) to adjust projections for future growth, and set targets that determine where and how growth will occur. The aim is to concentrate the region’s growth within urban areas, prevent sprawl, curb global warming, and protect the state’s rural lands and natural environment.
Twenty-year employment projections are made and then housing targets are set for each county. It is assumed that for every two jobs anticipated in a given county roughly one new housing unit will be added. Through negotiations, cities in turn accept a share of the county’s targets. Then each city is responsible for adjusting its comprehensive plan and assigning a portion of its new target to each neighborhood.
In 2005’s adjustment, Seattle was obligated to provide another 47,000 housing units – about one-third of King County’s residential target—by 2024.
So is Seattle meeting its responsibilities? The most recent city data indicates that through 2012, Seattle has added 43,309 units, including units now going through the permitting process. In just 8 and a half years we’ve reached 94% of our city’s 20-year regional growth target.