One strategy of this housing element is to focus a significant percentage of the Island’s projected growth into the Town Center. This strategy puts less growth pressure on existing single family neighborhoods; provides opportunities to address some of the community’s changing demographics (e.g. smaller households, aging population); and multifamily development can help meet the City’s housing affordability goals.
If as predicted, a significant portion of future housing permits are for multifamily housing, it would not significantly impact Mercer Island’s existing nature of being a predominantly single family community. For example, if 70 percent of the City’s 20-year growth target was achieved with multifamily units as predicted in the 2014 Buildable Lands Report, the overall proportion of single family housing would only decrease from about 72% to 65% of the City’s total housing supply. The change in single family to multifamily proportion is minimal because projected growth will only be a relatively small part of the predominantly single family housing supply.
This Housing Element plans for projected growth in ways that will mirror the City’s existing residential character of single-family residential, multifamily residential in multifamily zones, and multifamily and mixed-use in the Town Center.