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Mercer Island has 270 developable acres left
J. Jacob Edel
Mercer Island Reporter
The Island can hold about 850 more living units before it reaches its maximum capacity, according to a report released by the county last fall.
The 2007 King County Buildable Lands report states that a total of 856 living units could fit on the Island in the 269 acres of vacant and redevelopable land. Mercer Island has a total land area of 3,981 acres.
In the county’s report, the amount of residential development, buildable land supply and capacity on Mercer Island was published along with the results for the entire county.
Last year, 46 Island homes were demolished and a total of 56 were built, leaving 10 new homes for the year. A total of 123 additional homes were added to the Island since 2003, according to data from the city’s development services department.
In the 121 remaining gross acres of vacant land on the Island zoned for residential uses, 66 acres were suitable for development after deductions for critical areas, public use and market factors. The report also stated that 203 homes could fit in that space under current zoning. The Island also contains 275 gross acres of redevelopable land, of which 158 acres were developable with a capacity to add 653 living units.
Within the amount of available land on the Island, the number of multi-family units which the city can accomodate in redevelopments was 444. The report does not include units in the Aljoya project nearing construction nor the recently approved redevelopment at the old Safeway in the Town Center. Those projects will add 277 new living units to the Island’s downtown. The report also indicated that vacant areas available for adding new multifamily units can accommodate 32 new living units.
According to George Steirer, the city’s senior planner, the city must review its capacity and growth targets every five years under the state’s Growth Management Act. Every 10 years, those growth targets are reviewed and the county puts out an annual growth report.
Overall, a total of 546 units of the Island’s capacity was located in single-family zones, or 31 percent. More than 1,200 units exist in multifamily zones, or 69 percent. Finally, about 58 percent of the city’s housing capacity is located in mixed-use zones, according to the report.
The total housing capacity for Mercer Island in 2006 — including potential development on vacant and re-developable lands, major projects in the pipeline, and accessory dwelling units — totalled 1,765 units. These units could accommodate an estimated 1,688 households, 816 more than necessary to attain the household growth target of 875 for the remainder of the planning period of 2006 to 2022.