By Bob Throndsen
Edmonds Citizens Housing Commission 

Affordable housing for Edmonds – the real story | Guest View


Last updated 3/18/2021 at 9:39am

The future of Edmonds is up to all of us!

Our neighbors should be our police, firefighters, teachers, nurses, and all who make Edmonds a real city.

Our seniors should be able to downsize and still afford to live in Edmonds.

Our housing should provide more affordable options: small duplexes; cluster-style cottages; multifamily units with provisions for lower and middle-income families; detached accessory dwelling units (DADU); housing young families can afford; housing for veterans and those with disabilities.

When the city created the Citizens Housing Commission in 2019, it defined our mission: "Develop, for council consideration, diverse housing policy options designed to expand the range of housing (including rental and owned) available in Edmonds – irrespective of age, gender, race, religious affiliation, physical disability, or sexual orientation."

For 18 months, two dozen Edmonds residents, selected by City Council, listened to the public, researched housing issues, investigated future needs and worked as a team, with public input, to create those "options."

The Housing Commission sought more public input than any other Edmonds commission:

– Four open houses: one in-person, three online (COVID curtailed our ability to meet in person);

– Four citywide surveys from February-December 2020

– Every meeting was live-streamed, every action posted on the city website;

– More than 2,000 residents participated in the open houses and surveys; and

– Their input and the questions raised in the open houses helped form the proposals.

The Commission did not create new laws or zoning. Only the council can do that. We provided options the city may consider.

Housing option types

Of the 15 policies submitted to the council, several focused directly on housing types, including to:

– Develop design requirements/zoning changes to allow homeownership of two attached single-family homes (duplex or two-unit townhouses) in single-family residential areas compatible with those neighborhoods.

– Establish new single-family zoning that allows construction of zero-lot-line duplexes, triplexes, and fourplexes of only one or two stories located near or along high-volume transit routes; next to Neighborhood Business (BN) zoning districts; and close to schools or medical complexes.

Business loans for edmonds

– Develop subarea plans like the one at Westgate, to rethink areas zoned Business Neighborhoods, such as Five Corners, Perrinville, and others. Subarea plans can create unique, thriving residential, social gathering places and shops to integrate "missing-middle housing" and business and protect our environment.

Mukilteo Wine Walk

– Add cluster/cottage housing as an option in single-family or multifamily areas.

– Allow one attached or detached accessory dwelling unit on a single-family property with development requirements on size, ownership and parking.

– Strengthen current design standards for new multifamily dwellings to maintain and enhance the unique characteristics of Edmonds.

Let the City Council know that you support these policy recommendations and all of the Edmonds Citizens Housing Commission proposals.

Send your council emails to [email protected]

To see all commission proposals:

We hope the City Council will consider our policy proposals and tailor these recommendations to fit our community. The Commission's proposals are the beginning of planning a welcoming and diverse community for all.

Bob Throndsen and Edmonds Citizens Housing Commission members and alternates Tana Axtelle, Jess Blanch, Judi Gladstone, Tanya Kataria, Greg Long, Alena Nelson-Vietmeier, and Rick Nishino


Reader Comments(1)

Theresa Hollis writes:

Thanks to the citizens commission for their volunteer efforts, and to the author for this brief description of the highlights of the recommendations. There are some mis-informed Edmonds residents who believe the Council is considering redefining city wide zoning for single family residences. This article clearly describes the recommendations as being neighborhood-specific. Not all neighborhoods are homogeneous today. For instance, my street looks like a homogeneous neighborhood of single family homes built in the 50’s as you drive the 4 block long course, but in fact there are 3 adult family homes on my street, and when you turn the corner, the next home has a family run business operating out of it. I think we need to have a deeper knowledge of the inventory of buildings and their uses in the Edmonds neighborhoods with residential zoning before the Council considers changes that will has a long standing impact.


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