Reader view: Time to act on latest amended housing bill

A major housing bill along with the others are moving through the process in Olympia, targeting single-family neighborhoods in Edmonds and across the state. HB 1110 passed the House only so far and is now open for public hearing input on the Senate side, so please take action today. It can still be defeated or at a minimum, have better amendments come out of the Senate.

The amended E2SHB 1110 will subject all single-family lots, no matter where located in the state of Washington, to an exponential increase in growth and building density. It has been voted out of the House and will be heard at a public hearing in the Senate Committee on Housing at 10:30 a.m. on Friday, March 17.

Please take a few moments to show your opposition to E2SHB 1110 by signing in “con” by 9:30 a.m. on Friday, March 17.

– E2SHB 1110 is a developer-friendly bill that will allow random, uncontrolled, and virtually unlimited building in traditional single-family neighborhoods.

– E2SHB 1110 will allow up to four housing units in place of one on a lot in Edmonds, depending upon location and other factors.

– E2SHB 1110 limits required off-street parking to between zero and two spaces per housing unit, depending on lot size and location. This will force possibly half of vehicles in residential areas off private lots and into the streets.

– E2SHB 1110 ignores local planning and conditions. Blanket, state-coerced upzoning is not a reasonable solution to housing affordability nor to sustainable density.

– E2SHB 1110 ignores lot sizes.

– E2SHB 1110 will cause significant loss of tree canopy, especially in larger, dense  cities, given existing small legal lot sizes allowed in some jurisdictions.

– E2SHB 1110 will cause displacement, especially affecting BIPOC, low-income, fixed-income and elderly people, due to increases in tax assessment because assessed valuations are based on the development potential of a lot, not actual use.

– E2SHB 1110 fails to exempt all national and state residential historical districts, which will be irretrievably eroded and lost under its provisions.

– E2SHB 1110 preempts planning at county and city levels expected to be done in accordance with the Growth Management Act and their Comprehensive Plans.

This bill will supersede, preempt and invalidate any conflicting local development regulations. Read the 13-page bill report here.

Each of the five housing bills stack upon the others, so all require you and everyone you know in Edmonds and other Washington cities to seize these opportunities to participate and comment.

Sign in con here

  • Select “Housing” for Committee
  • Select “3/17/23  10:30 AM” for Meeting
  • Click on E2SHB 1110 Middle Housing
  • Enter information to complete sign in:
  • Select your type of testimony [Note to simply register con, click on “I would like my position noted…”]
  • Enter your position on E2SHB 1110: con
  • Fill in your information and testimony if you doing written testimony
  • Check “I’m not a robot” and click “Submit Registration”

Forward this to as many people as you know to comment oppose to this far-reaching bill attempting to supercede local planning control of our single-family zoning. Please act now.

Thank you for advocating on behalf of our cities to keep local control of land use decisions and for preserving our single-family neighborhoods!

— By Dr. Michelle Dotsch

Michelle Dotsch is president of the Alliance of Citizens for Edmonds (ACE).

  1. Isn’t this bill meant to help with the shortage of affordable housing? It passed with bipartisan support, a rarity these days, so I would think there is some redeeming value in the bill. Please explain how E2SHB 1110 is developer friendly.
    Thank you.

  2. Homes that are being built on these smaller lots tend to be townhomes of 3-stories with no yards and no trees. They list in the range of $ 700,000 – $ 1,100,000. That is not affordable housing. It does allow developers to maximize their return on the investment they made in building those homes; hence it is develop-friendly legislation.

    We do need affordable family housing in this area for those who earn under 60% of the average mean income. This bill does nothing at all to accomplish that goal.

  3. The laws are stacked in favor of the developers in the transaction between the average homeowner and developer in the process of buying/selling. My husband and I experienced this in 2020 selling our house in Shoreline. In order for us to safely make the sale, we had to hire a real estate lawyer. It was still a very financially precarious situation. We survived ok. Many of our neighbors were not so fortunate and suffered financial harm dealing with the developers. I am not opposed to increased housing and it is much needed but there has to be a more even playing field put in place between the homeowner/developer buying/selling process before this bill is passed. Otherwise the only folks that will benefit will be the developers and the average homeowner could lose a lifetime of financial stability.

  4. I would like to express my extreme anger over this approach. The “missing middle” problem is real.. Olympia has lost their minds. This bill WILL NOT create any desperately needed middle housing! It will allow developers to subdivide without review for parks, historical sites, permanent loss of tree canopy, and environmental concerns. This bill is a give away to developers.

    The current GMA goals will meet the expected growth of a million new homes in the next 20 years. I do think there should be a well considered adjustment to the mix of required housing. Olympia could instead create incentives for more middle housing. Use a carrot instead of a sledge hammer!

    The elimination of a SEPA overview risks housing that is environmentally damaging and contaminated. Without a SEPA review, homes may be built on contaminated sites! Who will be legally responsible when we build several more “Love Canal” developments here in Washington State?

    Please! We must be smarter than the problem! Let the local experts do their work with better goals. Olympia should provide incentives to encourage a better mix of housing, not just trample the careful Urban Planning that is the foundation of the Growth Management Act.

  5. I am opposed to over-sized structures as exemplified by the recent ongoing construction project on Sunset Dr.

    Any new construction must include available on-premises parking, not on public streets.

  6. Statewide bipartisan grifter politicians keep trying to sell politically convenient but divorced from economic reality that these housing bills are going to create all this affordable housing, egalitarian and environmental utopia. That’s why I’ve stated before that it seems that the main assumption they have that is that the electorate is too busy, too lazy, or just plain too dumb.

  7. If there is any doubt that the developers will profit most from this abomination of a bill look at some of the people who spoke in committee hearings in support of it.

    Alex Hur, Master Builders Association of King
    and Snohomish Counties; Jacob Vigdor; Brent Ludeman, Building Industry Association of
    Washington; Dave Andersen and Joe Tovar, Washington Department of Commerce;
    Hugo Garcia; Mike Ennis, Association of Washington Business;
    Rachel Smith, Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce; Andrea Reay, Tacoma-Pierce
    County Unity Chamber; Bill Clarke, Washington Realtors;

    There is plenty of land in Washington for new lower cost housing. The problem is jobs. Drive from Wenatchee to Spokane. Lots of developable land but, not a lot of jobs. Maybe Bezos should open a Yakima campus. Maybe State could offer tax incentives to do so instead of ramming this bill down every citizen’s throat.

    1. Yep. I am not surprised. And you are correct there is a lot of land in this state and you don’t even have to go all the way to Eastern WA. Although ya never know Bezos might like that idea. There are many other ways to handle this situation. First they are assuming and speculating that so many will want to live here? If Seattle succeeds and it is trying many will say lets give Seattle another chance as well they really want a city just not the crime. WE have our own crime now here and major issues galore so maybe Seattle won’t seem so unappealing as it did for a while.?

  8. John is right. However, the sledgehammer analogy is way too tame. It’s more like a BULLDOZER. Any modest housing will be the first to be scraped from the inventory. The bare land will be packed with wall to wall townhomes on 2000 square foot lots going for upwards of $1,000,000. These bills will do nothing for the missing middle!

    Taking away local control of zoning will leave cities with no way to guide development. We will be up to the mercy of the profit driven developers. Just look south at Ballard to get a partial glimpse of our future. These bills go way beyond what is necessary. There is no thought about increased stress on infrastructure and environment. We are not built to handle unbridled increases in density.

    Yes, more is needed but this isn’t the way to do it. The State should raise the GMA requirements and let municipalities figure out how to accommodate the increased density. Edmonds can and will rise to the challenge and bring forth a mix of housing options that meet density requirements. Please pump the brakes on these bills and keep local control. Give us a chance to control our own density and destiny.

    1. “Any modest housing will be the first to be scraped from the inventory.” Greg, that’s an understatement. I remember how Cash-for-Clunkers took all the inexpensive used cars off the roads creating a crushing void of much-needed used vehicles and a glut of new cars instead. I like my little home. It took me a LONG time to find my little home among all the behemoths here. Little homes are an integral part of a community for the people on each end of the housing spectrum: first-time buyers, and us older folks with empty nests. Save the whales, sure. Save the beach, sure. But let’s not forget to save the Rambler!

  9. I’m sure ‘My Edmonds News’ published a counter argument to this ‘Reader View’ since they would never want to be accused of being a biased outlet. Can someone link to that submission please?

  10. Thank you Michelle, for informing the people of Washington about these bills. We know what will happen to downtown Edmonds if these go through. Think downtown Bothell, Kirkland, Ballard. It breaks my heart to think about 65ft buildings a half mile around transit areas such as the ferry (basically all of downtown Edmonds). These bills give no thought to our environment or other major impacts to our smaller communities. We do need more housing, but we can do better than this destructive, one size fits all approach. Hopefully people will voice their opinions to our district representatives on Saturday, March 18th, 10:00am at the Waterfront Center in downtown Edmonds.

    1. Yes, Jean! I hope everyone who is concerned about the damage these bills will cause to our beautiful, special, historical, seaside town will come to the Town Hall Saturday morning! You have a chance to address our representatives face to face about how they justify seizing local land use and zoning control away from us and replacing it with one size fits all blanket up-zoning. Our community has been committed to protecting and preserving our small town charm, Sound views, waterfront and trees for over 100 years. We have also met and exceeded the Growth Management Act requirements. If the State wants more density, it should raise the GMA requirements and allow us to guide our own development. If these bills pass we will lose control and end up resembling other cities. This is unacceptable. Edmonds is the Gem of Puget Sound and must be carefully protected. Representative Strom Peterson lives in Edmonds and was once a councilmember. He of all people should respect our community and local control. Please come out and let him and the others know that!

  11. This will continue to happen under “local” control, which is what happened in the photo. Were I the owner of that single family home, I would be angry, feel ignored and sell to the highest bidding corporate investor/ developer when I got a chance. That is what will happen regardless of local or state control. Those in the non~favored neighborhoods will have developments going in next door or across the street…living a peaceful life in single family residence will be sacrificed for “affordable housing” and single family home homeowners will just sell up and leave. How sad is that? But that is what has happened will continue to happen either way. People do have choices. So much for Edmonds charm, which was largely in part to single family homes up the hill. Stop the silly debates and handwringing. The choice by electeds is about tax revenue: both local and state.

  12. It’s not unusual for someone to build a new 4,500 square foot house in Edmonds. Clearly, some recently built large houses are more attractive than others. Then why should it be a problem to build a 4,500 square foot building with four townhouses or apartments on a similar lot?

    The housing shortage in the Puget Sound area is real. In 1990, Washington voters passed the Growth Management Act that restricted development of undeveloped land, and encouraged growth of existing urban areas. Now a few NIMBYs in Edmonds want to restrict growth here. The problem is, with population growth, we can’t have it both ways. We can’t restrict growth to existing urban areas, then use use existing zoning laws to prohibit that growth.

    Developing high quality, enforceable design standards, and a city plan that is built around transportation and allows for livable development can prevent that blight. It’s not that difficult.

    1. Over the past five years according to Redfin and Zillow to only a very small handful of houses (very unusual) have been built that are 4500sq or larger in Edmonds and that’s a pesky fact. You need to work on your story there because telling the truth is not NIMBY.

      1. Implying that someone is lying is rude and counter-productive. One may make a mistake and not be dishonest (if you’ve never made a mistake, then I guess you can throw the first stone). Even so, you seem to neglect to come to terms with Jeff’s point in the second and third paragraphs- a mistake?

        MY two bits is that with parking in Edmonds very inadequate, and mass transport close to nil, those issues need to be addressed before much more housing is created.

        uh-oh – two topics in one letter. A bad editing mistake. I must be a liar.

        1. OK, fair enough I apologize, though his facts about built housing size are wrong, mistaken, misinformed, so uses falsehoods to insult others by calling them NIMBY.

  13. I was wondering myself where all of these 4500 sq ft homes are being built? I am sick of the NIMBY being used to describe homeowners who have paid prop taxes etc for years. Citizens who have spent a fortune to improve homes and yards creating a beautiful and pride in ownership community, years before many of these people, who think they can insult at will, were ever born. Nicest HS’s in the County. FOR THEM. A voice that is listened to, we gave that. Now it seems all of the worker bees are no longer important to this group of people. Better get 2 jobs because if you get all of us out you will then be the victims of all of the taxes and grants and all that many of you cannot afford.

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