Letter to the Editor: Affordable Housing

To the Editor:

Now is the time for bold action on affordable housing.

This year’s statewide elections are over, and our elected officials are confronted by a severe shortage of affordable housing, and the attendant problem of homelessness.

Anyone familiar with the basic concept of supply and demand knows that this shortage has inflated prices, and that increasing supply is the answer. What’s holding us back?

Without a doubt, it is government. Complex and bureaucratic zoning codes, land use regulations, environmental studies and inexcusable permitting delays add an estimated 200K per unit of housing in Seattle, according to the UW. Bestplaces.net estimates a whopping 435.7% cheaper cost of housing in Houston, TX as opposed to Bellevue.

One might ask – why is this the case? Market Urbanism.com has the answer – Houston does not mandate single use zoning, regulate density, mandate large minimum lot sizes for single family housing, or prohibit “tiny living”.

Our state, county and local representatives have a responsibility to the people of Washington to reduce, simplify and streamline every land-use law and regulation this legislative session and stop our slow descent towards becoming another San Francisco.