Zoning is an inexpensive yet powerful tool King County has to affect the coming growth. A zoning variance is worth big money to a developer and New York developers have built schools, parks, and affordable housing in exchange for variances. Zoning also affects transportation. Walking to work is the greenest form of commuting and if King County promotes it, everyone in the county benefits from less congestion on the road.
Thousands work at Southcenter and surrounding industrial parks, almost all of them drive to work. If a parking lot (So many to choose from!) was rezoned allowing a residential tower atop a parking garage, with tenants limited to nearby workers, hundreds of commuters can be eliminated from the roads. A simple requirement of working within one mile for at least one year, with lease renewals contingent on continued employment, would guarantee less workers on the freeways.
Developers in association with area landlords could present proposals to the city or county and the best deal selected for the community. Since most of the potential renters are working class, developers would probably have to build affordable housing to attract tenants. If the first building was successful, others could follow. If developers cannot make it work financially, they will not be interested. If they can make it work, it would be a unique opportunity to direct growth into green commuting and create affordable housing.
Often, peoples’ coworkers are often more racially diverse than their neighbors. This is also a chance to create a more diverse community as well. Communities often oppose lower income housing, but this proposal specifically requires a steady job to be eligible. These renters already work in the community, I hope the citizens of Tukwilla would accept them as neighbors as well.
Thanks for reading