Alliance of Citizens for Edmonds (ACE) Comments Regarding Mayor’s Housing Strategy

  1. Increase the supply of market-rate multifamily housing


City Recommended Strategy Actions: ACE Comments:
1.1       Support transit-oriented development along current and future transit corridors. TOD corridors should be strictly defined. There is concern that the City proposal would bring more MFTE zones.
1.2       Allow greater flexibility in multifamily zones. Not in support. Must maintain current building heights. This seems like a “big city” solution leading to higher density without benefit.
1.3 Reduce residential parking requirements in targeted areas. Already a problem in Edmonds.
1.4 Provide for a fast, predictable, and user-friendly permitting process. Permitting costs must be fully supported by the fee, for equity and fairness to all applicants, and integrity to the codes.
1.5 Provide density bonuses for projects that set aside income restricted units. Not in support. This means building heights increase. The current practice should be maintained. The fee in lieu option is too vague.
1.6 Explore the application of “micro-housing” style developments. Not in support.
1.7 Advocate for state legislation to promote condominium development. No position.
1.8 Coordinate communication and outreach to the development community. No position.


  1. Expand housing diversity in the “Missing Middle”


City Recommended Strategy Actions: ACE Comments:
2.1 Allow more flexible requirements for accessory dwelling units and backyard cottages. There are many elements that ACE would want to see the details on before endorsing this element on the topics of: Owner-occupation being required, onsite parking requirements, lot size should be adequate, existing setbacks, and tree canopy loss studied more.
2.2 Allow for more housing diversity in some single-family areas. Not in support. Similar concerns as section 2.1, less the owner-occupied requirement.


  1. Support the needs of an aging population


City Recommended Strategy Actions: ACE Comments:
3.1 Pursue partnerships to support aging in place. Needs data to support this recommendation.

What is recommended by senior services about best practices and what they want to see? Options – shared housing, transport, rec/social opportunities, yard care, care mgmt., legal counsel.

3.2 Examine property tax relief and utility rate/tax relief programs. Currently in place – not a priority.


3.3 Reduce barriers to group homes and housing for seniors. The use of the word “barriers* See Pp 4”, throughout this planning document, is vague. Greater specificity is needed before ACE could support.


  1. Increase the supply of subsidized affordable housing


City Recommended Strategy Actions: ACE Comments:
4.1 Conduct an inventory of public and nonprofit land suitable for affordable housing development. In support.
4.2 Allocate City resources to support new affordable housing development targeted at 0-30 percent AMI. City resources should be identified before ACE could comment on this action. Would the property tax exemption be included as a supportive resource?
4.3 Pursue Section 8 voucher allocations. In support.
4.4 Encourage the use of available grants and tax credits for affordable housing development. In support. But unrealistic.
4.5 Expand the multifamily tax exemption (MFTE) program. ACE is not in support of this strategy as it currently exists. Without financial analysis and greater community transparency, this tax exemption appears to be a big tax give-away to developers. Suggest changing either/both the number of years tax exemption is in place and/or the percentage of units required.
4.6 Explore the development of an inclusionary zoning program. Not in support of and strongly recommend removing these actions.
4.7 Keep development fees for low-income housing. Not in support of and strongly recommend removing these actions.


4.8 Support community land trusts. In support.
4.9 Expedite the permitting process for affordable housing. In support, but improve efficiency without sacrificing quality and consistency with code, standards, etc.
4.10 Support the use of Historic Tax Credits. No need for changes.
4.11 Coordinate with organizations to address special housing needs in the community. Need specifics and clarification – why are artists and live/work included?


  1. Participate in South Snohomish County strategies to reduce homelessness


City Recommended Strategy Actions: ACE Comments:
5.1 Explore partnerships with the County, South County cities, and nonprofit service providers. In support of regional solutions based on data driven results.
5.2 Explore opportunities to support and reduce barriers to the development of permanent supportive housing. What is considered permanent supportive housing? ACE has concerns. Would need successful examples and more specifics. See comment on “barriers”. * See Pp 4.
5.3 Consider reducing barriers to single room occupancy housing. Not supportive of this strategy action. See comment on “barriers” * See Pp 4.
5.4 Consider reducing barriers to the development of temporary shelters such as tiny home villages. Not supportive of this strategy action. See comment on “barriers” * See Pp 4.
5.5 Explore partnerships to keep and expand winter shelter programs. Not supportive of this strategy action.


  1. Provide protections for low-income tenants


City Recommended Strategy Actions: ACE Comments:
6.1 Create requirements to provide fair housing information. Already in place thru civil laws.
6.2 Create anti-discrimination requirements for tenants. Would support enacting rules against the discrimination based on source of income.
6.3 Provide rental housing inspection programs. Likely impracticable for the City of Edmonds to implement – too costly.
6.4 Develop a tenant relocation assistance program. Shouldn’t the first goal of the City’s strategy be to help enable tenants to stay in their current places of residence?


*The use of the term barriers has different and specific meanings when applied to different scenarios, e.g. – housing issues for seniors vs housing issues for addressing homelessness.