Op-Ed: The Middle is Missing and We Need to Find It

Saturday, March 11, 2023

By Donna Hawkey

There is a middle housing crisis, and Community Land Trusts (CLT) can help solve this problem in perpetuity.

I’ve lived in Lake Forest Park for over 25 years - yet, if I were to try to move here now, I could not afford it. 

I have seen smaller, more affordable houses torn down and million-dollar houses go up in their place.

From a demographic standpoint it means our community is becoming less diverse as millennials, workers such as teachers, social workers, and our own city workers are no longer able to afford to live in many of our communities.

Community Land Trusts (CLT) are one solution that allows one to afford a house and gain equity at the same time.

How? The land the house is on is not part of the cost of buying the house. As a result, the buyer only pays for the house, not the land. The house gains equity and in seven years on average a homeowner can sell their house and buy a new house at market rate. Unlike the traditional housing market, CLT homes remain affordable for every new buyer.

Want to learn more?

Tuesday March 14, 2023 at 7:00pm Kathleen Hosfeld, Executive Director of Homestead Community Land Trust will present to The City of Lake Forest Park Planning Commission. 

Homestead, a non-profit 501(c)(3), has been in existence for 30 years strengthening communities throughout the Puget Sound region by making housing dreams happen.

The March 14th Lake Forest Park Planning Commission meeting is a hybrid format for both in-person attendance and via Zoom. https://www.cityoflfp.gov/109/Planning-Commission

If you know of a property owner who could benefit from a possible tax incentive through a donation to a CLT please contact Kathleen Hosfeld at Kathleen@homesteadclt.org.


Anonymous,  March 11, 2023 at 10:22 AM  

Thank you for this OpEd! Lots of people used to start with a small house and move up as income and needs change. With all the McMansions around and no cute houses (for first time buyers AND empty nesters) we're stuck with what we bought 20 years ago, even if it no longer works for us.

We need more small or 'cottage' housing. Cute houses like the one in the photo!

Anonymous,  March 12, 2023 at 10:05 AM  

An alternative is to construct an ADU ((cottage-small house) in your back yard, rent it out for extra income, when you decide to downsize, move into the ADU and rent your house.
You can stay in place, on your property and now enjoy much more income to take cruises!
Some cities are offering free plans that are pre-approved to make it easy to get permits.
Your financing will be paid from your rent with enough money left over to pay taxes, pay for vacations, etc.
Ask your city officials what plans they have to help you simplify the permitting and offer pre-approved selections.

Anonymous,  March 16, 2023 at 7:57 PM  

What does infill housing look like? It looks like the corner lot near my house.

About five years ago, a 25,000 sq ft lot with a single house on it was sold to a developer. This developer bulldozed that house and built four enormous two-story box houses on the property with a single access to the street. What once might have housed a family of four can now house four families of perhaps sixteen.

But this came at a terrible cost. I watched with horror the day that the loggers came and cut down four Douglas firs, three western hemlocks, and two western redcedars. All of these trees were a minimum of 60 years old. All of these trees were well over 100 feet tall.

Density requires defoliation. There's no getting around it. It's time for density advocates to acknowledge that their policies directly lead to loss of tree cover and to be held accountable for it.

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