When debating the causes for the lack of affordable housing, the “usual suspects” are trotted out for public condemnation. Those erroneously vilified corporations and individuals are always the developers, landlords and the so-called NIMBY single-family homeowners.
The one group that has actually contributed to the crisis of escalating home prices and rents throughout the U.S. but are never chastised are legislators who have enacted various “smart growth” schemes.
The Washington State Urban Growth Management Act legislated that Puget Sound population growth be directed to existing cities to retain the rustic essence of rural areas. Numerous new arrivals settled in established urban areas of Puget Sound.
What could possibly go wrong?
What went wrong was that due to simple supply and demand, the price of residential parcels skyrocketed, and all housing costs significantly increased. To be profitable, developers constructed much larger houses, and “starter” single-family houses were no longer feasible.
Nationally and locally, this phenomenon was observed years ago:
Housing prices in Seattle increased $200,000 14 years ago due in part to smart growth and other regulations.
As a result, Edmonds homeowners may be required to sacrifice their single-family residential neighborhoods, as well as their small-town suburban environment to accommodate dramatic increases in density as a result of that legislative legacy. While rural areas in Snohomish County are safeguarded, cities such as Edmonds are afforded no comparable legislation to protect their small-town environment.