Affordable Housing

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On September 14, 2021, City Council authorized the City Manager to apply for a grant from Washington State Department of Commerce in the amount of $100,000 to fund a Housing Action Plan.  The City has issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for consultant services from qualified firms with experience in housing policy, data analysis, public outreach, and general communications to develop this Housing Action Plan.  The work to be performed by the consultant consists of researching and developing a housing action plan, to be developed consistent with the requirements of RCW 36.70A.600(2).  Proposals must be submitted by 4:00 PM Friday, October 1, 2021.  View the RFP for additional information.


Increasing the amount of affordable housing and improving housing affordability generally are goals that permeate several elements of the Comprehensive Plan notably the Land Use, Housing and Economic Elements.  To achieve the affordable housing goals and policies in the Comprehensive Plan, City Council created a short-term Affordable Housing Task Force (AHTF) in 2017 to assist the City in prioritizing a variety of affordable housing actions. The City Council and Planning Commission held a special joint meeting on June 22, 2020 to discuss how to prioritize affordable housing work among other land use code updates.  The outcome of this joint meeting was the creation of an ad hoc subcommittee of three Councilmembers and three Planning Commissioners to assist in prioritizing affordable housing efforts and overlapping initiatives.  The Council/Commission subcommittee consists of Councilmembers Christy Carr, Kirsten Hytopoulos, and Michael Pollock and Commissioners Bill Chester, Kimberly McCormick Osmond, and Lisa Macchio. 

The Planning Commission has also restarted an affordable housing subcommittee consisting of Commissioners Jon Quitslund, Joe Paar, and Sarah Blossom to assist in prioritizing affordable housing work. 

2017-2020 Biennial Housing Report

The Department of Planning and Community Development presented a Biennial Housing Report to the City Council on Tuesday, July 6, 2021. The Report is required per the City’s Comprehensive Plan Housing Element Goals to show the progress the City is making on our affordable housing goals and includes data from 2017-2018 and 2019-2020.  An addendum to the Biennial Housing Report was sent to the City Council on July 27, 2021.  To view the report and addendum and/or watch the City Council discussion, click the link to the City Council agendas.

Affordable Housing Task Force

The AHTF met 2017 - 2018 and created small work groups to consider individual comprehensive plan goals and policies.  The AHTF gave an Interim Report to Council on March 6, 2018 and completed a final report with recommendations to City Council in July 2018 (see below).  On November 13, 2018, City Council dissolved the AHTF in recognition of the completion of the group’s planned work.

Inclusionary Zoning

On November 1, 2017 the AHTF voted unanimously to recommend to City Council that the City pursue an inclusionary zoning program.  That recommendation is also Priority Recommendation 1.A from the AHTF Final Report.  The City has hired firm ECONorthwest to provide economic analysis and feasibility study regarding a new Inclusionary Zoning program and adoption of a Multifamily Tax Exemption (MFTE).  Council discussed these issues on June 19, October 2 and December 4, 2018.  On February 19, 2019 ECONorthwest presented a final report to City Council (see below).  Council decided to continue consideration of adoption of an MFTE and/or an inclusionary zoning program and continued to make progress on these complex issues at their September 17, 2019 and February 4, 2020 meetings.  This topic was discussed at a special joint City Council/Planning Commission meeting on June 22, 2020.  

February 2019 Transfer of Development Rights and Inclusionary Zoning Assessment (ECONorthwest & Forterra)

Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) and Tiny Homes

City Council completed their policy discussion on common ownership of ADUs and tiny homes at their October 22, 2019 meeting.  Those policy changes are integrated into Ordinance 2020-02.  Planning Commission held a public hearing on Ordinance 2020-02 on January 9, 2020.  At that meeting, the Planning Commission formed a temporary subcommittee to discuss proposed rules for ADUs.  

The subcommittee submitted recommended changes to the ordinance at the February 13 Planning Commission meeting, including removing all references to tiny homes, and the Planning Commission as a whole directed staff to make the changes recommended by the subcommittee to Ordinance 2020-02. The Commission discussed and revised the ordinance again at a Study Session on February 27, 2020, and made additional non-substantive revisions to the ordinance. The Planning Commission held a public hearing on Ordinance 2020-02 on March 12, 2020, and after closing the public hearing, recommended approval of the ordinance to the City Council.

The Planning Commission recommendation of the approval for Ordinance 2020-02 returned to City Council for final discussion and approval.  The City Council discussed this ordinance on July 14, 2020. The City Council has assigned additional discussion of ADU regulations to the joint Coucil/Commission subcommittee.