Letter to the editor: A proposal to ensure equitable density across Edmonds


The Edmonds Citizens Housing Commission recommended that single-family residential areas be rezoned for one duplex or two townhouses to increase the supply of affordable housing in Edmonds. Edmonds single-family residential parcels are zoned from 6,000 to 20,000 square feet.

If that recommendation is adopted, the following should be implemented to ensure future equitable density in all single-family residential neighborhoods.

Zone two townhouses or one duplex for every 3,000 square feet in all single-family residential areas regardless of parcel size so neighborhoods with larger parcels near Puget Sound have the same density increases as neighborhoods in areas with smaller residential parcels.

Unfortunately for equity and inclusion, developers are still going to gravitate toward less-expensive residences on smaller parcels in the eastern part of Edmonds, as the more expensive houses on larger lots near Puget Sound will not “pencil out” for development.

To avoid that unfortunate result, a zoning equity enhancer (a term I invented to advance the cause of equity) should be applied to the more- expensive, larger-parcel, single-family residential areas. Neighborhoods adjacent to Puget Sound that will not be developed due to the prohibitive costs of securing those properties should be zoned for even more numerous units per parcel to ensure those projects “pencil out.”

If there must be increased density in single-family residential neighborhoods, it must be accomplished in an equitable manner so that all neighborhoods, not only the less-affluent ones, can equally “enjoy” the myriad “benefits” of increased density in Edmonds.

Eric Soll

  1. Please leave your hands off our residential zoning. Families move to Edmonds to enjoy the safety neighborhoods offer, while raising families. Knowing your neighbors and having commitment to the community makes a huge difference in the whole community.

  2. Thanks for asking Jim.

    Of course, the article is satire, but with an important underlying point. I have been against any up zoning of any single-family residential neighborhood from the beginning and continue to be so.
    But if there is going to be any up zoning of single-family neighborhoods in Edmonds, it must be accomplished so that every neighborhood, not just the less affluent ones with smaller parcels in the Highway 99 area are equally impacted. If we must impose increased density – all neighborhoods need to participate together in an equitable way. Thus a “zoning equity enhancer” evaluator tool can easily be developed that would ensure all areas have equal density when all is said and done.
    Ideally every single neighborhood in Edmonds should strive to have the same number of residences per square mile, so that increased traffic, noise, pollution, loss of vegetation and loss of privacy is equitably distributed. It can’t be “equity only for thee but not for me” predicated upon where one resides.


    1. Eric I am just afraid that those that want higher density will take your idea and run with it. That truly is the best use of the word equity I have seen scary.

      1. Jim

        Those residents with their expansive views of Puget Sound become agitated when someone plants a tree that may block some of their view. They certainly are not going to countenance a multifamily development in front of them blocking most of their view. Furthermore, they are not going to support having the same density as those areas zoned for 8000 square feet on the east side of town, even if their view is not blocked. Propose true equitable density requirements for all Edmonds neighborhoods, including view and large lot properties and watch how fast the talk of increased density in single family residential areas disappears.


    2. That is complete crap (I’d love to use harsher language). There is nothing equitable about forcing density on communities that don’t desire it. All such forced social engineering leads to inequitable results – read your Hayek – the “Road to Serfdom” is a good start. Social coercion is the name of equity is just that – coercion. Yes, let us find clear choices for people to elect from about their own living arrangements, not support or enforce discrimination of any kind. Personal choices and the aggregation of those choices are more equitable than any “expert” guiding hand of government.

      1. John

        It is my understanding that the official policy of Edmonds is to view any and all decisions it reaches through the use of equity lenses. If there is to be any increase of density in Edmonds, it has to be equitable. All I am doing is suggesting a roadmap to achieve the city’s vision of equity utopia for all.


  3. The problem with your satire , Eric, is that the EID idiots in Edmonds will try to take your ideas and run with them.
    Equity = Collectivism = Evil.

  4. So, speaking of equity in housing, where are the design standards (equivalent to the long winded discussions of aesthetics of roof top decks)? You know just like in the bowl. Do the neighbors get to have input about the designs they would like to see in those behemoth boxes? You know, light pollution, blocked views, excess parking, green space requirements, community village sorts of stuff, or is it just okay near 99 to build outsized complexes and give a tax break if the developer (mostly corporate deep pockets from other urban areas) calls it affordable housing it is then okay to do whatever? Just because people in the “uptown” areas generally work for a living, generally have less interest and time ( because they are ignored when Edmonds spends money anyway …think $400K for civic field and they cannot even get proper street lights all while putting up with high crime rates ) doesn’t mean they don’t care as Edmonds (the bowl) looks to expand its tax base on their backs. It should happen, that kind equity, without those residents having to waste time fighting with City Hall. It just never does. Happy to spend their taxes money elsewhere.

  5. Mr. Demme – I have spent years working in and with the aftermath of collectivist inspired governments – Burma’s “Burmese Path to Socialism” that left everyone poor and oppressed but for Ne Win’s family; in Cambodia before the Khmer Rouge were removed altogether – death, oppression, poverty all in pursuit of “Year Zero” equity; the early remains of Vietnam’s disastrous experiment with collectivism before invoking Doi Moi; and many others, including Deng’s suppression of the Gang of Four. That has been my “lived experience”. Do you have a positive actual experience to relay regarding collectivism that doesn’t ultimately involve coercion and loss of liberty? If so, say so. Otherwise, leave your transparent ad hominin attacks.

  6. Thank you Diane and Eric!
    We who lives in uptown Edmonds deserve to have the same treatment/ benefits as the rest of Edmonds does.

  7. Mr. Pierce, I do not understand your comment? Seems from reading your “lived experience” that we are on the same page regarding collectivism and it’s relationship with the EID movement.

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