There are two bills quickly and quietly working their way through the legislative process in Olympia this week to radically change local city control over massive redevelopment.
One bill (SB6617), sponsored by our own local Senator Marko Liias, and the other bill (HB2570) sponsored by another local representative, Strom Peterson, would allow for up to two additional smaller houses on all single-family lots. What this means is that these smaller homes, attached and detached accessory dwelling units, would not be required to have any parking requirements if located even just somewhat near transit. In addition, there would be no requirement for owner-occupancy, literally opening all single-family residential neighborhoods to Airbnb, short-term rentals, excessive surface street parking, increased noise, increased traffic, loss of private backyards, green spaces, and loss of privacy and views, among the irreversible outcomes if one or both of these bills pass. There are no infrastructure nor architectural requirements in the bills.
Currently, local control over these types of zoning decisions allows for Edmonds to reasonably grow in its 40% of non-single-family neighborhoods to currently exceed the recommended growth the GMA suggests. If ADUs are permitted by the City of Edmonds, with local control of the process, it would most likely come with the protection of environment, safety and the impact on neighbors. Our community quality of life will be protected when control comes at the local level and not through a forced universal approach by the state. As most neighborhoods in Edmonds have no to very limited sidewalks, the safety of children and pedestrians would be greatly diminished. State-mandated ADU zoning in all neighborhoods would most likely put our iconic and cherished small town on a quick path to development on a scale like that is happening in high-urban communities such as Seattle.
A recent change recommended to one bill to say cities “may” vs “must” is alarmingly more likely to increase the chance of this bill passing now.
However the next inevitable step will be to make this a requirement as has already been done in Seattle and statewide in both California and Oregon.
You must email your legislators today at the links above directly about the bills or at https://app.leg.wa.gov/DistrictFinder as these bills are closer to getting a full vote this week. Email our Edmonds City Council at email@example.com as well to let them know your thoughts about this potential tool for excessive growth. Even if one or both bills don’t move on this year, please understand that these high-density redevelopment tools are being promoted by our own elected politicians and they need to hear from their constituents or else this will become a reality soon.