Shoreline supports Affordable Housing in Transportation Fee Ordinance

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Housing advocates from the Housing Development Consortium were successful in shaping a new City of Shoreline ordinance that exempts affordable housing from transportation impact fees. 

Affordability is defined as not paying more than 30% of one’s income for housing. Income eligibility was set at up to 60% ($47,640 for a three person household) of the King County median income. 

Many cities in Washington have enacted measures, under authority of the Growth Management Act (GMA), to impose impact fees to help pay for infrastructure improvements, such as roads and sidewalks, necessitated by new developments. During the 2011-2012 legislative session, the Housing Development Consortium and others advocated for and helped pass new legislation that granted cities the authority to exempt affordable housing projects from the payment of impact fees. 

Testifying before the City Council at its July 21, 2014 meeting, housing advocates representing the North Urban Human Services Alliance, the Housing Development Consortium and Ronald Commons, among others, thanked the City Council for its previous support of policies that encourage the development of affordable housing and urged the Council to adopt the impact fee exemption for affordable housing.

Kayla Schott-Bresler, Policy Manager for the Housing Development Consortium, representing non-profit housing developers, cited the growing need for affordable housing in Shoreline, evidenced by 26% of Shoreline renters paying more than 50% of their income for housing.

Ed Sterner, a member of the North Urban Human Service Alliance Policy Committee, pointed out that residents of affordable housing make greater use of public transportation and will have less impact on streets and roads.

Ballinger Neighborhood resident Kevin Osborn spoke in his role as Manager of Hopelink’s Shoreline Center, of the number of people he counsels who are facing a crisis due to a shortage of affordable housing.

The Shoreline City Council unanimously adopted the transportation impact fee ordinance that included an exemption for affordable housing. Exemption from impact fees is one of many tools cities have used to encourage affordable housing. Examples of other tools include incentive zoning (providing incentives for developers to include some affordable units in a project) and mixed use development (which creates economies through shared costs for parking, building operation, maintenance and security).


Anonymous,  August 4, 2014 at 12:32 AM  

Subsidized housing is the worst thing you can do for people with low incomes, or people who cannot find affordable housing (and let's not sugar coat this; they're poor). Anytime you single out a low income group for subsidy you penalize the group just above the cut. Think about it. Let's take to fictitious breadwinners. We'll call them Robin and Pat. Robin's income is just above Pat's (actual amounts do not matter), such that Pat happens to qualify for the subsidy, while Robin (who makes slightly more) does not. What is the result of Pat being subsidized? Pat, who had less income than Robin to begin with, ends up with a real income greater than Robin. Starting to see the picture? Robin pays what Pat doesn't have to, leaving Robin with less than Pat. Robin is penalized for making more than Pat. The threat of that penalty does not go unnoticed by Pat. There is no incentive for Pat to make as much as Robin. Ever. The result is the poor stay poor. They're poor, but they are not stupid.

You want to continue to elect candidates like Chase and Eggen, who continue to stick it the poor by passing legislation that they say is intended to help them? Or do you want to elect someone like Bob Reedy who would rather give the poor a hand up than a handout?

I'm ready for Reedy.

Anonymous,  August 4, 2014 at 1:33 PM  

I'm not convinced that excusing developers from paying impact fees creates more affordable housing. The occupants will drive, will use transit, will walk and will shop. They will need and use all the infrastructure we all need - water, electricity, pavement as roads and sidewalks. (Take a look at the side streets in North City since the large complexes (with on-site parking) have been constructed. The occupants do drive - and have multiple cars per unit, as shared housing continues to be more "affordable".)

Shoreline will raise my "fees" in order to make up for those that are excused - The developers make a profit regardless of the type of property they build - you can bet they wouldn't build it otherwise.

Excusing developers from the fees to create affordable housing is another example of the tail wagging the dog...

Anonymous,  August 5, 2014 at 9:23 AM  

The developers who build the low income housing make out like bandits after they get done getting their state and federal tax breaks, it was not necessary to pass this amendment at all. The taxpayers are the ones who are giving the money to the developers and now the local taxpayers are going to gift them some more on some emotional appeal that our clueless city council fell for again.

Anonymous,  August 5, 2014 at 11:31 AM  

The developers in this town are smart cookies, and they have our city council by the shortbreads. The rich are not moving here. Only the poor. City policy is to blame, and a powerful group of pro-development speculators are the big donors to the controlling regime's campaigns.

Anonymous,  August 6, 2014 at 7:22 AM  

To those that previously commented. This was nothing about individual subsidies. It was also not a waiver for developers that are for profit. Research a bit about what happened before commenting.....

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