LETTER: Resident opposes increasing housing density in Burien


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[EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is a Letter to the Editor, written by a Reader. It does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The B-Town Blog nor its staff:]

Although I often read your Blog, this is the first time I have contacted you.

I am a former president of the Shorewood on the Sound Community Club. (1997/98). During my time on the board there was a push by the City of Burien to increase density in residential neighborhoods to meet the requirements of the King County Growth Management Act. Burien would have allowed many single family lots to be subdivided for increased density.

If I recall correctly, our neighborhood of around 540 residences would have been allowed to increase by around 140 more homes. Our club joined with Lake Burien, Hurstwood and Maplewild groups to gather signatures against this proposal, which led to a change and shifted our density increase to the downtown core where we now have new residential properties.

Now the state legislature is considering new legislation to again increase density by allowing more units of housing on single family lots.

Below is an excerpt of a Seattle Times editorial about it:

“Washington legislators must resist attempts to override local planning, prevent environmental reviews and eradicate single-family neighborhoods.

“A suite of bills in Olympia would set a terrible precedent by micromanaging planning and disallowing local decisions about what’s best for cities and counties. It’s shocking that progressive legislators would do this in ways that benefit rich and powerful special interests, tipping the balance in local matters where ordinary residents are already disadvantaged against paid lobbyists.

“Even worse, a handful of Seattle City Council members are giving legislators false and misleading information as they lobby for bills that would be the death knell for single-family neighborhoods.

“The bills would force Seattle and other cities to allow subdivision of single-family lots into multiple units for rent or sale by investors. The bills — Senate Bill 5812 and House Bills 1797 and 1923 — include measures prohibiting cities from regulating parking, exempting projects from environmental review and blocking citizen appeals.

“This is done under the guise of allowing more backyard cottages, or accessory dwelling units (ADUs), which Seattle has allowed for years.

“A recent city study concluded that easing ADU restrictions would have only a marginal effect on affordability. Mostly it would create pricey rentals in expensive neighborhoods, which the city has in abundance. Nevertheless, advocates, including developers and labor groups, continue spinning this as a social-justice imperative.”

Our Representative, Joe Fitzgibbon, is a proponent of this legislation. I hope neighbors can weigh in on this issue and hopefully fight it.

Thanks,
Marv Jahnke

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