The Alliance of Citizens for Edmonds (ACE) was created by concerned residents in 2004. ACE supports responsible development that respects and complements the character of Edmonds – its small town atmosphere and its generally low-level architecture. ACE promotes preservation of the natural environment in our City – its streams, beaches, parks and open space. ACE also provides citizens with accurate information about land use activities that allows them to make informed decisions and provide relevant input to our elected leaders.
The Edmonds City Council has proposed a Citizens’ Housing Commission resolution containing several key elements. ACE fully supports an open process and makes the following recommendations for the initial planning stages. First and foremost, the commission process needs to ensure both community outreach and public input.
|City Proposal:||ACE Recommendations:|
|A.1 — The mission of the new Citizens’ Housing Commission proposed to be: Develop housing policy options for Council consideration designed to expand the range of housing (including rental and owned) available in Edmonds; options that are irrespective of age, gender, race, religious affiliation or sexual orientation.||A.1 — This is a very vague charter and would be improved if there were more specifics. Edmonds citizens should see a list of housing options upfront (ADU’s, DDU’s, various multi-family options, etc.). In addition, the charter should call-out housing needs (senior housing, disabled persons housing, veteran’s housing, low-income housing, etc.).|
|A.2 — The Commission will complete its work by 12/31/2020 and have a sunset date of 1/1/2021.||A.2 — A defined sunset date will serve to focus the Commission’s work. This could be extended by the Council only if necessary.|
|A.3 — Commission applicants must be current residents of Edmonds.||A.3 – ACE agrees.|
|A.4 — The Commission will meet at least once per month at a time and day agreeable to the Commission.||A.4 – Frequent and regularly scheduled meetings are essential for the process. The larger the Commission, and the longer the duration, the more challenging to manage ongoing attendance and quorum meeting requirements.|
|A.5 — The Commission shall host public outreach sessions (open houses, town halls, etc.) once per quarter and provide updates on its progress in developing housing policy options and recommendations. The Commission will define locations in Edmonds for these meetings and focus on moving to various locations.||
A.5 – The language should be edited to read, “The Commission shall host public outreach sessions
(open houses, town halls, etc.) once per quarter to allow public input and
provide updates on its progress in developing housing policy options and
recommendations. The Commission will define locations in Edmonds for these
meetings and focus on moving to various locations.”
— There should be a defined
plan to record public comments at Commission meetings, as well as scope and
manage public comment.
— How will meetings
be recorded and records kept?
— The Commission
needs to be able to ask for any needed expertise during the process.
|A.6 — Status of the development of expanded housing options shall be updated regularly on the city’s Housing website.||A.6 — It will be important to keep Edmonds citizens informed throughout the entire Commission meeting process via City website postings and quarterly news releases, email bulletins and various media avenues.|
|A.7 — The Commission shall report progress to Council at least once per quarter.||A.7 – Or more often as needed. Monthly may be better. — The Commission facilitator and department head assigned to the Commission should jointly report updates to the Council.|
|A.8 — Each applicant must identify which of the seven “zones” he/she lives within (see attached map describing the seven geographic zones of Edmonds which will be attached to the Commission application form).||A.8 – We instead recommend that each Councilmember appoints one member from their to-be-assigned district AND one at-large Edmonds resident. This will help provide knowledge and expertise needed for the city-wide Commission.|
|A-9 — The Commission will consist of fifteen voting members and each Councilmember will select two appointees and one alternate and the mayor will select one appointee and one alternate. The mayor’s selection will be from the remaining pool of applicants after Councilmembers have made their selections. Ex officio members may be added at Council’s discretion.||A.9 — The language should be edited to read, “The Commission will consist of fifteen voting members. Each Councilmember will appoint two Commissioners, and the mayor will appoint one Commissioner. The mayor’s selection will be from the remaining pool of applicants after Councilmembers have made their selections.” — Manage the size of the Commission by having only two to four alternates appointed jointly by the Council and Mayor. — It is not advisable to try to appoint new members or alternates to the Commission once the process has started. Trying to play catch-up would be very disruptive. — We see no value in having Ex Officio members on a commission of this size. Instead, it is better to bring-in subject matter experts temporarily when needed.|
|A.10 — Each of the seven Councilmembers shall be assigned a particular zone at the Council President’s direction and will be responsible for assessing applications from that zone. Each Councilmember will select two appointees from his/her assigned zone.||A.10 — The language should be edited to read, “Each of the seven Councilmembers shall be assigned a particular zone at the Council President’s direction and will be responsible for assessing applications from that zone. Each Councilmember will select one appointee from his/her assigned zone and one at-large appointee.”|
|A.11 — Two Councilmembers shall be assigned to the Commission as Council Liaisons in an advisory (non-voting) role.||A.11 – One Councilmember assigned to the Commission as a liaison is sufficient. With one Councilmember Alternate. Other council members always may attend any and all Commission meetings. The language therefore should be edited to read, “One Councilmember shall be assigned as a Councilmember Liaison update the Council on Commission status and progress. An alternate Councilmember Liaison also will be designated.”|
|A.12 — Business Items – a quorum needs to be established. A minute taker will be needed.||A.12 – ACE agrees.|
|A.13 —||A.13 – (New) ACE proposes adding language that, “The Housing Commission will be the appropriate venue for all housing issues with the exception of homeless issues not to be evaluated as part of the Commission’s work.”|
|B.1 — In regard to the Commission application process, the following standard Commission information will be requested: – Occupational status and background. – Organizational affiliation. – Why are you seeking this appointment? – What skills and knowledge do you have to meet the selection criteria?||B.1 – We recommend adding: – home address – make it voting age – What skills and knowledge do you have to meet the selection criteria? Instead say, “What skills and knowledge do you have that will make you an effective member of the Commission?”|
|B.2 — List any other Board, Commission, Committee or official position you currently hold with the City of Edmonds||B.2 – We recommend instead saying, “List any other Board, Commission, Committee or official position you currently hold or have formerly held with the City of Edmonds, include approximate dates.”|
|B.3 — The following additional information will be requested of Housing Commission applicants: – How long have you lived in Edmonds? – Do you rent or own your home?||B.4 – We recommend adding a question, “Are you a landlord in the City of Edmonds?”|
|B.4 — To ensure full citizen awareness of the opportunity to apply to participate in the Citizens’ Housing Commission, it is proposed a post card mailing be sent to each Edmonds household announcing the application process and deadlines. This mailing will be in addition to the process normally used to publicize Commission application availability (e.g., City website announcements, articles in local media, etc.) (Approved Unanimously) Remaining questions regarding the Citizens’ Housing Commission process: · Should the Council obtain the services of a community engagement/process facilitator for the duration of the Housing Commission’s efforts to develop housing options recommendations? (Approved Unanimously) · Is Council willing to appropriate funds to engage a community engagement/process facilitator? (Approved Unanimously) . Is Council willing to appropriate funds to underwrite a post card mailer to alert residents of the Housing Commission application process? (Approved Unanimously)||B.5 – ACE agrees with the amendments highlighted in red from the March 19, 2019 Council meeting.|