Letter to the editor: State legislation threatens Edmonds’ single-family neighborhoods


Serious attempts to end single family zoning in neighborhoods in Edmonds and all of Washington State are moving quickly in the Washington State Legislature.  If you value your single-family home and your neighborhood, including trees and open space, it is imperative that you contact legislators immediately to let them know that you oppose this work.  To provide your input, go to Bill Information (wa.gov), type in the number of the bill, and click on the “comment on this Bill” bar to the right of the bill number.

Here are the bills of concern:

Please follow the links to read more about these bills:

HB 1782 – Creating additional middle housing near transit (including ferry terminals) and in areas traditionally dedicated to single-family detached housing. WA State House Bill 1782

This proposed bill, moving along in the legislative session and sponsored by Edmonds’ Rep. Strom Peterson and Rep. Cindy Ryu, would:

  • require cities with populations over 20,000 to allow duplexes, triplexes, fourplexes, attached and detached accessory dwelling units, cottage housing, stacked flats, townhouses, and courtyard apartments on all lots that are both currently zoned for detached single-family residential use and within one-half mile of a major transit stop, including ferry terminals.
  • require cities with populations over 20,000 to also allow development of duplexes and attached and detached accessory dwelling units on all other lots exceeding 4,500 square feet and for the development of triplexes on corner lots exceeding 5,000 square feet, in areas zoned for single-family residential use.
  • may not require more than one off-street parking as a condition of permitting development of middle housing for every three bedrooms on the lot within one-half mile of a major transit stop (including ferry terminals).
  • A city may not require zoning, development, siting, or design review standards for middle housing that are more restrictive than those required for detached single-family residences and the same development permit and environmental review processes that apply to detached single-family residences shall be applied to middle housing. This will do away with our local Architectural Design Board review process for these multi-family developments.

SB 5670 – (companion bill to HB 1782) Creating additional middle housing near transit (including ferry terminals) and in areas traditionally dedicated to single-family detached housing. WA State Senate Bill 5670  This bill is sponsored by Sen. Marko Liias and is similar to the one above and will allow up to sixplexes in single-family neighborhoods.

SB 5818 – AN ACT Relating to promoting housing construction in cities through amendments to and limiting appeals under the state environmental policy act (SEPA) and growth management act (GMA).  WA State SB 5818  This bill is also sponsored by Sen. Marko Liias, and limits appeals of the minimal environmental (SEPA) checks and balances on development.

Here are the areas of concern:

Density, the environmental impact, and loss of local control:

HB 1137, SB 5670 and SB5818 all push massive increases in density that remove land use decisions from local control without a holistic approach to environmental, topographical, or infrastructure needs.  If these bills are pushed though it could devastate Edmonds’ fragile environment.

The deleterious effect of increased density on our environment cannot be overstated. Edmonds has 4,772 people/square mile per the 2020 census, which exceeds the Growth Management targets. The truth is that our small town is currently over seven times the density of the region encompassed by Seattle/Bellevue/Tacoma.  If Edmonds, which occupies only 8.9 square miles, were to triple its density as promoted by these various bills, it would severely impact our runoff to the Sound, our climate, and Edmonds’ fragile environment. The citizens of Edmonds know best how to protect our environment. Therefore, it is critical that control over zoning in Edmonds remain local. The one-size-fits-all, state-mandated development in these bills could have tragic consequences. In California, similar forced up-zoning bills have the state scrambling to reverse the environmental degradation that tree canopy removal for property development has caused, along with the effects of climate change. Los Angeles must add an Urban Tree Canopy Element to “OurLA2040”

Protecting the Salish Sea and other sensitive areas:

Edmonds by virtue of its location on the Salish Sea plays a critical role in the environmental health of the region’s wildlife and marine life. In the 2019 City of Edmonds Urban Forest Management Plan (Edmonds WA UFMP 2019.pdf), it was noted that of 83% of our tree canopy is on private land, mostly single-family lots, the loss of which will cause our creeks to overheat and dry up. Water runoff containing pollutants will increase into the Salish Sea, warming the waters of the Sound and threatening marine life. We need these trees and open spaces to filter stormwater runoff (already over-capacity) that we absorb from Lynnwood and Shoreline.  Passage of these bills could mean we won’t have any salmon-bearing streams, a marsh or Perrinville Woods to protect!

Loss of single-family zoning will increase Edmonds’ carbon footprint:

Eliminating single-family zoning in Edmonds will enable for-profit developers to build two, three or up to six townhouses on a parcel that now has one home. Large swaths of green spaces that remove CO2 from the environment will be eliminated. The amount of impervious surface and number of roof lines will increase. Edmonds’ population will swell with more motor vehicles, more pavement, less greenspace, and fewer trees.  Temperatures in Edmonds will rise. Edmonds will produce more CO2 at this critical location along the Salish Sea, not less.

Proposed bills will not increase affordability or housing equity

The goals for this legislation on housing is to 1) address the housing affordability issue in Washington, especially Western Washington, as well as to 2) move to equity in housing. Yonah Freeman has conducted research in both Chicago and New York City with respect to outcomes from upzoning. His findings include the following:

  • The cost of housing built under the upzoning changes did not drop, rather it increased.
  • The first lots purchased for building duplexes, triplexes, and quadruplexes were the largest lots with the smallest homes. This resulted in a decrease in the affordable housing already in the area.
  • The first areas developed happened to result in gentrification of neighborhoods of people of color.

Upzoning Chicago: Impacts of a Zoning Reform on Property Values and Housing Construction – Urban Affairs Forum (urbanaffairsreview.com)

New MIT study suggests the Yimby narrative on housing is wrong – 48 hills

Current townhomes for sale in unincorporated Snohomish County with an Edmonds ZIP code are listing for $ 650,000 – $675,000 for 1,600 – 1,700 square foot townhomes. These are new construction with modest interiors and meant to meet middle housing needs. However, they are not affordable to someone earning the AMI in this area.

And from the well-respected Seattle Times editorial board:

Legislature should reject plan to upend single-family zoning (Jan. 25, 2022).

“What’s missing is any guarantee that this monumental shift in local land-use policy will actually reduce housing costs, let alone produce more places available for those living on the streets. Instead, developers are likely to cater to the top end of the market, making Seattle’s housing pressures even worse, at least in the short term.” Legislature should reject plan to upend single-family zoning | The Seattle Times

The Alliance of Citizen for Edmonds is urging you to act now; this Tuesday, Feb 15 is the next critical point in advancing bills; please join us to keep these types of decisions in Edmonds under local control.

The Alliance members are interested and involved residents of Edmonds who support responsible development that respects and complements the character of our small city on the shores of the beautiful Salish Sea.

We attempt to provide citizens with accurate information about land use activities and actions that allow them to distinguish between fact and rhetoric so they can make informed decisions and provide relevant input to our elected leaders.

Finally, we promote preservation of the natural environment of the city of Edmonds – its streams, trees, beaches, parks and open space.

Please go to aceedmonds.org to join or for more information about the Alliance.

We all can have a voice. Do not put off a response to your legislators. Use the “areas of concern” section in this letter to provide the foundation for your comments or simply craft your own. To provide input, go to Bill Information (wa.gov), type in the number of the bill, and click on the “Comment on this Bill” bar to the right of the bill number.

It is important to email or call local legislators to tell them what you want them to do to represent your wishes.

Rep. Strom Peterson, 21st District. Phone: (206) 556-3194 email: Washington State Legislature – Peterson Email

Rep. Cindi Ryu, 32nd District. Phone: (206) 466-5741 email: Washington State Legislature – Ryu Email

Sen. Marko Liias, 21st District. Phone: (360) 786-7640 or 1-800-562-6000 email: Marko.Liias@leg.wa.gov

It is also important to reach out to your Edmonds city councilmembers at council@edmondswa.gov or find their individual phone numbers by clicking on the councilmember’s photo at City Council – City of Edmonds, WA (edmondswa.gov)

Dr. Michelle Dotsch, President 
The Alliance of Citizens for Edmonds (ACE)


  1. Thanks for the reminder to contact my representatives again, to support HB 1782, and email everyone I know to do the same. Even with the striker, it’s a step forward.

  2. Making population denser in present residential areas of Washington State will reduce the carbon footprint of our State. Dr. Dotsch is misleading us to just focus on tree cover loss and other effects just in Edmonds. If all the people moving to our State in the next century sprawl out across the Puget plain, Kitsap and Olympic peninsula instead of filling in the present urban developments, the environmental impacts will be far greater.

    1. Mr. McMorrow,

      I’d be interested in seeing studies, as Dr. Dotsch has provided, substantiating your claim that “Making population denser in present residential areas of Washington State will reduce the carbon footprint of our State.” Any studies that support that would of course have to include the carbon cost of the following:

      – Tearing down existing single family homes and disposing of the waste. Note: the greenest building is one that is already built.
      – Manufacturing of and hauling of construction supplies to the site.
      – Carbon footprint of construction itself.
      – Removal of carbon sequestering trees and other vegetation from the property and replacing with impervious surfaces. Note: These proposals essentially allow lot line to lot line development.
      – The long term effect on our “carbon footprint” which would result in relaxing State Environmental Protection Act (SEPA) guidelines to allow such development to occur.

      Your statement assumes that the personal carbon foot print of occupants will be less because those who live in these newly constructed residences will utilize public transportation to get to work and services. I would also be interested in studies that support this conclusion.

      I have a feeling I will be waiting a long time for your reply.

      1. We do not have studies that have the complete scope of costs associated with different approaches to civilized living upon the entire ecosystem of the Earth and the economics. We do not have highly accurate information about all the species and the land, waters, atmosphere and celestial interactions that affect life. We have models of great utility that allow consideration of some of the effects of the differing choices of how civilization is constituted. But you and I will both be waiting for accurate studies that truly detail and proportion what happens in the future when humans behave in certain ways for a very long time I think. We do know that building auto-centric housing and associated infrastructure does raise the per capita carbon footprint of a States residents with some accuracy. But lets make it simpler. What is in good taste? ( My mother taught me that there was no crime worse than bad taste. Murder is bad taste. An acrid, heat trapping atmosphere and acid oceans are in bad taste). Is it good taste to expand residential, retail and industrial infrastructure until it covers all the flat lands with stuff about 20 to 100 feet tall? That is where we are headed if we don’t densify current cities infrastructure. Another consideration is automation is allowing many workers to work from home. This trend is likely to expand as more of the means of production and providing services become highly automated. But back to taste; I simply do not want to surrender what is left of the “wildness” in the surrounding Puget sound and Olympic peninsula to sprawling suburbia. I find it a horrid future with a lower quality of life guaranteed when access to environments that are less human modified is eliminated. (Now a related sidebar: Fermi’s Paradox asked why Earth is the only place we see animals with a complex technology. Nasa Planet Formation Study answered it: 93% of the Earth like planets have yet to be formed. Earth is the “Eden” planet. We are likely first or one of the first planets with technology). BYE!

        1. Mr. McMorrow,

          My parents taught me to “Waste not, want not.” It took me just a few minutes to find this article when I googled ‘cost of new construction’:


          From the article:
          “Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from new homes fall into two distinct sources: “embodied” CO2 given off during the housebuilding process, and “operational” CO2 given off from normal energy use in the house once it is occupied. The new homes each gave off 50 tonnes of embodied CO2. The refurbished homes each gave off 15 tonnes. Well-insulated new homes eventually make up for their high embodied energy costs through lower operational CO2 but it takes several decades – in most cases more than 50 years.”

          And there is still the question about whether additional housing near transit will reduce the home owners’ carbon footprints. Where is the data that demonstrates that increasing density will induce people to give up their SUVs?

  3. Thank you, Dr. Dotsch, for exerting the great effort required to put together such a comprehensive, helpful Letter to the Editor.

    I encourage those interested do an internet search for a Seattle PI Guest Column titled “Density doesn’t make housing affordable”. The Guest Column was written in 2005 by David C. Bloom. At the time, the average price of a single-family house in Seattle had just exceeded $300,000.

    One argument that David C. Bloom makes is that changing the city’s zoning laws to allow greater density is more likely to hurt than help the affordable housing supply.

    Housing prices have roughly tripled since 2005, despite all the efforts of elected officials and their staff.

    I believe the problem is far more complicated than zoning laws. For example, state legislators can’t control all factors, such as the huge impact historically low interest rates (for years and years) and massive money printing has had on housing prices.

    If their ideas don’t make a difference, what will they propose next? Can we really trust that they know what they are doing? I think the changes we have seen since 2005 argue strongly that trust needs to be rebuilt.

  4. If we truly live in a free and equitable society, then private property rights need to be respected as much as possible within rules for sanitation, public health, communication, transportation and the perceived good of all the the citizens. We don’t want junk yards full of rats or people building structures that infringe on public lands, etc. in our towns of course. In Edmonds we don’t want people building view blocking giant structures as an example of rules that function for the good of all the citizens. When the state starts telling people what they can and can’t do with their private property in order to manipulate where people live and what they pay for their housing, we are on a slippery slope I think. What I know for sure is more and more people are going to be coming to our area for a variety of reasons, economic and esthetic, and housing prices aren’t likely to go down anytime soon for any housing anywhere here.

  5. The community has made it clear what we want and what we don’t want. The Edmonds Citizens Housing Commission’s first survey resulted in 78% of respondents reported they agree it is important that single family neighborhoods remain zoned as single family. And if you don’t believe those results for whatever reason, independently, Mukilteo, just had a Proposition on this past November’s ballot with an overwhelmingly strong 82% vote similarly favoring single family zoning. It’s extremely clear what our local communities want.

    These lawmakers are listening to the lobbyist representing the relators and developers who are pushing this through Olympia. Those who have no vested interest in our community other than to make a profit and run. We will become Seattle North if these laws are enacted.

    This is about maintaining local control of our destiny. I would expect our elected city officials to voice their concern too. Otherwise, why do we need them if they just want to cede local control to the State.

  6. The Federal Reserve owns 1/3rd of all residential mortgages.

    Government’s involvement in housing keeps making it worse and worse and worse. We are doomed. Liias is yet another stooge, like George Bush, making housing worse. Apartments were free in Communist Russia. Let’s just get there quicker so we can collapse already. We desperately need more rope to hang ourselves, instead of just enough to drag us along.

  7. When I tried the “Bill INformation” link highlighted above, I received a message “Invalid Bill Number” for whatever combination I tried for both the House Bill and the Senate Bill. Is anyone else having this problem?

  8. Please remember this travesty of a bill is sponsored by our own Democrat Senator Lilas and Democrat Representative Ryu. Elections have consequences and this is just another attempt to take away local control on zoning and growth issues. It will not be the last as long as the great social planners are running Olympia.

      1. Matt, the bill before the Legislature, to allow multi-family development in single-family neighborhoods in cities like Edmonds, that’s a separate issue from the Austrian Model for social housing. I read the two articles you link to, and I commend them to other readers here. Seems to me there’s a lot to like about that Austrian Model.

        1. Roger, the end goal of the Austrian Model is what I call “mediocrity as a virtue”. The end goal is condensed living arrangements where even a family having their own kitchen is an extravagance. The socialists what socialized kitchens and other common areas. I’m 41yo, conservative, explaining to my elders how this stuff just doesn’t work. Pseudo progressive ideas are how the Soviet Union collapsed.

      2. Matt, thanks for bringing this to our attention. I find it odd that our housing “experts” are going for the Austrian model…they really went all out to find something to fit their ridiculous model. It’s like saying that what goes for a blueberry is valid for a jackfruit: Austria is mountainous country, where lowlands are almost 32% of its 84k sq km area, while the rest are hills and mountains. Because the mountainous areas are very hard to access, much less develop, cities have the highest concentration of population, because that’s where most jobs, especially industrial jobs are. So it stands to reason that if you don’t have much choice where you place the factories and plants, which are (still) labor-intensive, those areas will have a housing crunch.

        In addition, Austria is also a more socialist country than the US, taxes are higher, and authorities don’t seem to respect tax revenues as wealth for which people had to work: as we read in the “Austrian model”, in order to get an apartment, you cannot have a salary above a certain level, but if you live there and your lot in life improves, even well beyond the “subsidized housing” parameters, you are not asked to move, but can live there, subsidized by your fellow countrymen for the rest of your life. ..and this is why their housing authority claims that there are not enough dwellings for more people, and builds more and taxes more, and 60% (!!!) of Viennese residents live in subsidized housing. This is not rent control, this is where the Austrian govt actively subsidizes these peoples’ rents. In the US, we call people like that free loaders, this sort of scheme goes against our ethos as a country, and we’d change the law. Furthermore, here we have more space and choices as to where we we build industrial and economic centers, and people have a choice where to live. Austria represents 0.88% of US landmass, so pretty much what they do would not be a useful solution for us.

  9. Nationally, as density increases, so too does crime. Passing these rules will only further increase crime. We as a society have embraced historical amnesia.
    The famous 1962 study found that as population density increased, so too did deviate behavior. The term is “behavioral sink”. When a certain critical mass is reached, population crashes even with available resources.
    As far as “decreasing carbon”, but it does no such thing. The same number of people are still “consumers”. Just like Uber and Lyft do not decrease traffic but actually make traffic worse- as proven in studies. I would link to both, but when I link on this site, my posts get blocked.

  10. Wow, there’s a lot of fear mongering and assumptions being made in the comments about the potential negative effects of more flexible zoning laws. Growth is already here and it doesn’t show signs of stopping. I’m glad our state reps are pushing for these bills. We need more options in this town!

    1. The point is these Democrat state senators and representatives want to remove control of zoning laws from City Councils by imposing a state mandated outcome. Why? Why disrupt local control of our zoning laws? This is an effort to force higher urban density regardless of the desires of the local population. Please ask your state representative why they think they are smarter and more responsive to your housing density wishes than your city council members.

  11. This is really about the state protecting the supposed economic and aesthetic value of private property and the real question is whether or not that is something the state should be doing in a supposedly free and equal society. I have no real problem with doing away with the single family zoning idea or even zoning in general, as long as there are proper rules remaining regarding set backs, building heights, and sanitation (i.e no junk cars and garbage all over the place). The real considerations should be about the size of the lots where multiple family housing is being proposed and how that will impact the livability for other’s in the area. Will there be adequate parking and room for good traffic flow around the area for example?

    The governments should not be about protecting property values. That should be the business of planned communities with HOA rules, where people most highly concerned about their future property values should choose to build and live. The proper main concerns and focus of city governments should be sanitation, public safety and transportation.

    There is multiple family housing property across the street from us that was grandfathered in back in the 70,s and it is no problem whatsoever as far as we’re concerned. Very nice owner and very nice tenants. I’m tired of all these government sponsored one size fits all so called solutions because they generally just don’t work to solve real problems or help people live better.

  12. I look up and don’t see the sky falling, Matt! Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac do indeed underwrite many residential home mortgages. I assume that is what you refer to in the comment about the Federal Reserve. So what? What does that have to do with the topic here? You seem to imply some deep state conspiracy. I know of Larry, Moe and Curly as three stooges. Senator Liias doesn’t fit with them, but then you are entitled to your opinion. Representative Ryu may be unpopular regarding this housing issue, but she is also sponsoring a bill that attempts to stem the number of thefts of catalytic converters, which I think makes sense. Write and let your government servants know what you think about their work. Vote then out of office, but there is nothing positive to come from abusive talk.

    1. Mike, no I am not talking about underwriting by Freddy and Fanny. What I am saying is completely unprecedented at a scale unimaginable. The Federal Reserve bought maybe 1/8th of mortgages during the 2008 banking crisis, then continued open market purchases of mortgages until they tried [and failed] to taper. Mortgages are maturing on the Fed balance sheet, and they are rolling them over into new open market purchases. Buying and securing houses, preventing their sale on the open market, artificially drives up the price. Houses are worth less than half what they cost by this measure. The “Big Unwind” might be impossible at this point.

      Check it out:

  13. Go to: apps.leg.wa.gov which is the Detailed Legislative Reports – Topical Index: 2021-22
    It’s under Homes and Housing, look for Housing, middle housing types on certain lots near “major transit stops”, role of cities under GMA: HB 1782, SB 5670.

  14. Your “famous” study, Bill, provides just the answer we are looking for. Let’s just make sure that we all live far apart. Abracadabra, no more crime! According to the “legitimate statistical” information from James O’Brien, we will also enjoy the advangage of getting rid of the two party system deplored by so many..
    For the sake of argument, let’s go one step further and assume that we will not be living further apart. We could take this leap because all demographic indications point to an increase rather than a decrease in population. There are eartquakes and tsunamis in our Pacific Northwest future. Still, I would put my money, if I was a betting man, on the increase. So the obvious question, unless one plans to colonize outerspace, is how do we live closer together civilly?

  15. This bill will not reduce housing cost .Just talk to the builders who are building 4plexes and what they are charging. Cities should have the right to set their zonong codes. Tired of big brother trying to tell us what to do

  16. Evelyn Drexel – if y SB or HB is put in front of the number, the search machine does not work properly. The site does not make this clear to users.

  17. Letter to Editor
    Marko Liias, Cindi Ryu and Strom Peterson have introduced three bills in the state legislature to change the zoning laws in Washington State although they are well aware that the majority of the their constituents oppose these changes. They are effectively taking local management of the communities they are supposed to represent and putting them under the control of the state. A controlling bureaucracy will inevitably appear which will have no interest or concern about the wellbeing of Edmonds. What our elected legislators don’t understand (or seem to care about) is that they were elected to represent the citizens of Edmonds (and other communities in their district) not to achieve what they imagine to be some higher goal. The residents of Edmonds should have the right to manage the community in which they live.
    While their stated purpose is to provide high density, low cost housing in Edmonds (and elsewhere in the state). However, they know that the new, high density housing they support will not be affordable; it rarely is. One example is the new “high density” complex near Perrinville where the units start at $600,000. The bureaucrats in Olympia will respond to lobbyists representing developers, builders and realtors; the Edmonds citizens and local government will have no voice.
    These bills must be defeated.

  18. In other housing bill news – the ADU bill just passed in the House today, 50-48. HB 1660. Already working the email/phone to round up some Senate support 🙂

  19. Oh my gosh (OMG for the youngsters)! We have had to adapt to the European traffic circle. Now Matt Richardson warns us of the invasion of the Austrian housing complex. Does he believe we Americans have nothing to learn from anyone?

  20. Thank you, Dr. Dotsch and My Edmonds News for this very helpful list of legislation currently under consideration! I’m on it! And thank you to all the shops, restaurants, and public institutions that make Edmonds such a vibrant place to live! We’re doing our part to get you the customer base to thrive — a community who walks. It’s wonderful to hear that adding housing here and freeing up housing elsewhere does so much to lift property values. It’s a win-win for the region and for Edmonds homeowners.

  21. The proposed legislation is more about environmental virtue signaling than it is about serving the best interests of the local citizens.

  22. This Bill is simply a Townhouse proliferation bill regarding how it would translate to Edmonds’s future developments. Per our own codes they are one in the same. Duplexes =2 Townhomes, Triplexes = 3 Townhomes, and Fourplexes = 4 Townhomes.

    My primary concern now is the clear lack of open green space being mandated in all new developments across all shapes, sizes and types in Edmonds. I feel Edmonds could use some more density strategically injected. Townhomes are the future of first-time homebuyers in our region, in my humble opinion. Recently a Lynnwood Townhouse at around 1500 sqft, sold for +$900k.

    So, let’s be realistic, a local developer is rarely going to build duplexes, triplexes, and fourplexes to provide rentable units in Edmonds, the value proposition and utilizing limited building resources is driven by profits and the quick sale. Developers are currently and will continue to simply build and sell massive amounts of townhome clusters for amazing profits with little to know open space requirements (Perrinville recent townhome development is a prime example). This bill, as is the case in most housing type legislation, once again heavily favor’s property DEVELOPERS, with little to know balance to our local sensitive environmental concerns. Edmonds is currently 30% tree canopy, and this bill does not address protecting our environment. This bill has some benefits for sure, but at great environmental cost. This Bill needs a lot of work, greater “Open Green Space” requirements could be a nice idea. It’s very mind-boggling that we as a society allow entire parcels to be devoured into density with little to know open green spaces being required.

    The pandemic has proven/reminded us that humans want open green spaces, not clusters of boxes and housing squished into each other. Moderation and balance would be a nice compromise, but I know that’s not the most profitable venture, so I will not hold my breath. I challenge our local reps to inject some local environmental protections/control into this bill. The Lorax movie is coming to mind here folks.

  23. OK, Matt, now that I know what you are talking about regarding the Federal Reserve, again I say, “so what?’ How does this relate to the topic of discussion here? All I take from the reference is an attempt to scare people.
    Likewise, how does the search by representatives from New York City for ideas in Vienna, Austra about affordable housing hurt Edmonds in its attempts to deal with zoning for single-family dwellings? Have you been to Vienna? I have and it is a lovely city. I am sure it has its problems, If some of its residents prefer to live in buildings with shared kitchens, then so be it. Perhaps it beats living in a tent along the side of an expressway!

    1. What does my comment have to do with anything? This article is about housing and allowing single family zones to be developed. Now, say this article was about Beanie Babies. Let’s say everyone needed a Valentino the Bear Beanie but the Federal Reserve owned 1/3rd of them… I don’t know what else to tell ya- keep going about how you’re going.

  24. This is a map of Seattle showing the percentage of single-family homes – 69%! My guess is that the surrounding neighborhood cities including Edmonds, Shoreline, Lake Forest Park and Mountlake Terrace have even higher percentage. This is a big part of the reason why people cannot find housing in the Seattle area. Compare the percentage of single-family homes in


    Seattle’s population size is 724K (2019) versus San Francisco (874K) that has 31% of single family homes.

  25. Everyone has an opinion and we are all biased but when you look at numbers and facts, it’s easy to see how disproportionate our single-family homes are compared to other cities. (Boston – almost 700K population has 14% single-family homes)

    Being a single-family homeowner myself, I can understand the resistance against more density and what that may bring to neighborhoods. But it’s important to do a gut check about how realistic our fears are. What are the facts? I see this zoning change as an inevitable part of our area’s growth. I hope we can do it in a mindful way.

  26. Not sure the info I pulled up on google is accurate but part of the story of all this is the geographical size on which to put people and their house type. Others have pointed out that Boston, San Fran and Seattle have about the same population but different precents of single-family homes. They also have different geographical size.
    City …………………….Boston …………….SFO …………………….. Sea
    Population ……….. 700k ……………..874k ………………………724k
    Single Fam…………14% ……………….31% …………………………69%
    Size sq miles …..89sm ……………..47sm ………………………142sm

    Seattle simply has more land and careful, thoughtful land development can increase density over time without eliminating SF homes.

    South Snohomish County (Think of the Edmonds School District footprint) can accommodate more people with careful planning without a wholesale change of SF zoning.

    1. There’s been a massive boom in housing construction. No boom in population. Population has been slow steady growth for decades. Seattle build more aapartment in last 3 years than prior 50 years combined. We are over built.

      1. No Matt, this region is not “over built” when it comes to housing. If that were the case, rents would be declining significantly~ what happens when supply exceeds demand; Econ 101 stuff, which you ought to be familiar with.

        1. Those big sticky things are called “cranes”. Dos tings that are coming out of the ground are called “buildings” (My Cousin Vinny). Clean that filthy screen.

          This area is #1 in the nation for Housing Inflation. Austin, TX is up there. We beat Clark County Nevada. Don’t we think that there are some market fundamentals that aren’t normal here? I’ve lived here for 12 years. It’s been continuous development. Huge growth in units on highway 99. Post office developed. Marvel Marbel lot. 12 units with no parking on third. People aren’t having babies this fast. Older folks aren’t moving into townhomes very fast. Household sizes are plummeting. What’s a camper or a Dodge Sprinter van cost these days? Something fundamental is broken, and that is where malinvestment goes. But yea Roger… these real estate developers have been just sitting on the sidelines of the fastest year over year real estate price grown in the nation and saying to themselves, “Let’s not build too much housing. We don’t wanna make too much money.” They’ve been building as fast and as much as they can. Dum Matt, who just told Mike Molly about the Fed’s open market purchases and Roger about the Austrian Model, jus don know what he’s talking about. I doubled the information in your head, but I’m still wrong.

      2. Rents aren’t coming down because for two reasons:
        1) Real Estate is no longer a supply demand model. It’s fundamentals are broken. It’s a bubble. Mal investment drives the price up.
        2) An entire generation [my generation] is locked out of the market. We saw our parents lose their houses, we saw a bubble again and didn’t get in again soon enough. Now it is too late and we are locked out. We are renting, thus rentals are in short supply. Ironically, the most productive age group, the age group most likely raising kids, is the most locked out of single family homes.

  27. Boston, Chicago , New York and other eastern cities are very old and became populous well before there was any transportation other than foot and horse driven carriages. Even San Francisco grew very explosively around the time of the California gold rush and had little in the way of public transportation early on. People were forced to live where they could easily access goods and services. Thus the density was and remains high As we see, some people still like that arrangement.
    Thus comparing Edmonds to these large cities is not appropriate. Edmonds was a small rather isolated lumber town but became a suburb. It would make more sense to compare the density of Edmonds with other suburban areas such as Mercer Island, Oak Park, Illinois, Scottsdale, Arizona and the myriad of less dense suburban towns and cities in the country. These suburbs largely grew after cars became affordable and the roads and highway system were adequate to allow people to easily commute longer distances. They did so to escape the density that is now being encouraged and now mandated by the currently proposed legislation. They didn’t want to live in densely populated communities and most of us in Edmonds still don’t.

  28. Keeping in character with the Growth Management Act, our state representatives, Liias, Peterson and Ryu sponsored bills 1782, 5670 and 5818 that would create increased density in our community. These bills take local zoning controls away from our locally elected officials.

    Remember, the Growth Management Act RCW36.70A.011 reads, “… this chapter is intended to recognize the importance of RURAL lands and RURAL character to Washington’s economy, its people, and its environment…” (emphasis added by me). The GMA does not consider the importance of urban character, economies, people or environment.

    During this session, Rep. Peterson also sponsored HB2017 that restricts the use of a conviction history as a reason to deny housing. Rep. Peterson’s vision is more state sanctioned multi-housing projects, like the 24 unit apartment building recently considered in downtown Edmonds, available to anyone with a criminal history. This could bring more criminals (and crime) to downtown Edmonds. Lets oppose these bills (and the GMA in general) to preserve the character, economy, people and environment of Edmonds.

  29. Thank you Michelle for laying it all out, and especially for the clear and excellent explanations of the impact on our city by each proposed bill. I am convinced that your letter has cleared up all the smoke, mirrors and innuendoes about these issues, not to mention the misleading virtue signaling, and that your letter has spurred on enough people to call and voice their opposition to these bills. It definitely motivated me.

    I thought that in a representative democracy, our representatives are elected to actually represent us, not undermine us and ignore our wishes, especially when they knew that about 78% of the residents were against upzoning. Performance on the job has consequences, so we’ll make our displeasure known in November.

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