Ms. Dotsch’s Monday letter to the rditor misses the culprit behind the 3 ADU/lot discussion. Peterson and Lilas are simply following the path the state legislators have been on for 30 years. Most citizens don’t have a clue as to why this is/maybe happening.
State SB6617 and HB2570 are simple further implementation of the Growth Management Act (GMA) first passed in 1990. In and of themselves, the addition of the wording “may” rather than “shall” should take all of the concerns expressed with Monday’s discussion away. This Edmonds Council is not going to pass a requirement that allows triplexes next to single-family homes in all areas of the city. How can I be so sure? Because a previous Edmonds Council also refused to do it after the implementation of GMA in the early ’90s. But GMA is still with us and we should all expect to see similar sorts of legislation in the future.
The concept behind GMA is density in urban area like Edmonds, Lynnwood, Mountlake Terrace which, by definition, are within the Urban Growth Area. The original 1990 law envisioned all cities to essentially look like Brooklyn. The concept of four houses per acre (8,000-9,600 SF lots) was deemed “Urban Sprawl” and to be avoided in future planning efforts. Instead of driving your car to the grocery store or to work, GMA envisioned us getting on a bus or train to perform these daily functions. And since the 1990s other state departments worked to implement this concept in their own plans for the future. For instance, WSDOT put less emphasis on adding new capacity to existing highways. More WSDOT funding went to buses , bike lanes, sound walls, HOV lanes etc.
At its core, GMA envisioned the existing cities taking most of the density proposed in the plan and gave Snohomish County a quota of how much additional population they were REQUIRED to accept. The cities and county then met to “divvy” up that population. The South County cities, in my words, took what was easily melded into their existing land use plans. Typical were Woodway, which still wanted 1- and 2-acre zoning, and Lynnwood, which wanted 8,400 SF lots but, as I recall, did add some apartment house zoning. Snohomish County then had to accept all the population density remaining. And the county began aggressively up-zoning much of the zoning in the Urban Areas outside of the cities. The best nearby example is Esperance, which is still under county jurisdiction. Drive down 220th. The south side of the street are new homes on 3,000-4,000SF lots. The north side is Edmonds…8,000 SF lots.
So the problem I see with these two bills is not with them, but with a change to them next year, or the following year, or in five years… that change “May” to “Must.” Like boiling a frog…start with cold water and bring it to a boil and the frog will never know what happened.