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By Andrew Morgan
Edmonds resident 

Zoning changes will increase carbon footprint | Guest View


Last updated 3/10/2022 at 9:04am

The City of Edmonds consists of a mere 8.9 square miles with a shoreline of 5.2 linear miles. If we eliminate single-family zoning, we will have smaller homes in Edmonds with a smaller carbon footprint per person and per home.

Some say this will be good for the environment. Let's look at this claim carefully.

While it is true that the carbon footprint per home and per person would be smaller, does that mean that the total carbon footprint of the 8.9 square miles of Edmonds would be smaller? The answer is emphatically no!

Eliminating single-family zoning in Edmonds will create two, three, or four homes on a parcel that now has one home. Large swaths of green spaces that remove CO2 from the environment will be eliminated.

The updated tree canopy report for the City of Edmonds reinforces the fact that the vast majority of tree canopy is on single-family residential land. The amount of pavement and rooflines will increase.

More people will swell Edmonds population, with more motor vehicles and boats. With more pavement, less green space and fewer trees, temperatures in Edmonds will rise. Edmonds will produce more CO2 for this world – a critical location along the Puget Sound – not less.

Water runoff into the Puget Sound with pollutants will increase, warming the waters of the Sound, threatening marine life.

Edmonds' housing per population is over four times denser than King County, and over seven times denser than the Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue metropolitan area. On average, Snohomish County has 392 people per square mile while Edmonds has 4,778 people per square mile.

We are already doing our part well beyond what is being recommended by the Growth Management Act.

Diversity of housing in Edmonds is happening right now, with around 800 new units of a variety of housing types permitted over the last two years, using our current zoning. This is based on information given to council from the last report in 2021 by the previous development director.

The residents of Edmonds by a wide majority, 78%, replied to a Citizens Housing Commission survey that they do not want to change single-family zoning. The majority in Edmonds do not want to allow up to three to four housing units citywide in place of single-housed lot neighborhoods as promoted in the equity housing policy put forth and approved by some on the Citizens Housing Commission.

If we in Edmonds really care about the environment, we should keep doing what we have been doing rather than change our zoning to accommodate more high-density housing.


Reader Comments(1)

Deborah Arthur writes:

I agree with the article as it is all true. We need to find open lot areas that are already without trees and homes and packed in streets. We have houses behind houses all over from set backs and easements. I worked with a builder once in Real Estate. I do want housing the kind they are asking for but if we put it somewhere that needs green space built in and then build a complex with Decks in areas all over the city we could find places. The Bowl has some flat places left to the North E of the water. I think. We would make just as much in sales tax or if they are for subsidized I think the big one on 99 will help with that. Never will there be a vacancy at the one we have with what 20 units rented until eternity. I think we can do this without disrupting and creating more environmental problems then we already have.


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