Backs affordable housing policies

COURTESY TO THE BELLINGHAM HERALDMarch 28, 2014 

A recent letter to the editor expressed unhappiness with current development rights transfer discussions in front of the County Council. I think it's high time we discuss linking expanded urban growth to transfers of development rights. For decades, our county has handed out "free up-zones" to properties on the edge of cities, and by the author's claims we should then have ample affordable housing; yet we do not. A few property owners get a lucky windfall profit, while housing affordability is still an enormous problem, with far too many people paying a too-large portion of their income each month in housing costs. I agree the county should assist with the process of affordable housing. A good way to continue doing that is to support the use of the Economic Development Investment Program for both owner-occupied and rental housing. Housing construction provides living-wage jobs, and the existing program has proven successful, with EDI funds going to public facilities costs and being paid back over time. Affordable housing is good public policy and good for our local economy. And linking development rights transfers to expanded urban growth areas is consistent with our county's efforts to support affordable housing.

Samya Lutz

Lummi Island

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