Bellingham’s Critical Housing Affordability Policy Failure

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Everyone knows there is an acute housing shortage in town, especially those who are looking for digs. We’ve had some recent shenanigans over policies originally designed to protect neighborhood communities. There are ever-present forces whose single focus is to squeeze money out of town by adopting land-use policies to trigger transitions that lead to proverbial “highest and best use” syndrome - in other words to more profitable zoning.

We’ve already wrecked it up to here, why shouldn’t we get to wreck the rest? People not only need a place to be, they usually prefer that they have a say in how it is. We’re not doing that.

The York Neighborhood is taking the bull by the horns. Read this to find out more.

Regular folks involved in neighborhoods and comprehensive planning often shake their heads in dismay at the usual outcomes, wherein the “shoulds” and “mays” supporting neighbors putting down roots and building community are always overwhelmingly outweighed by the “wills” and “shalls” supporting those willing to cut and run.

Over the years, we’ve systematically perfected designs for stupid housing, but consistently legislated smart and affordable housing out of existence. The original Bellingham Plan contemplated the neighborhood associations and neighborhood based planning. The city instead has stripped neighborhoods out of the process, to the extent that one has recently thrown in the towel (later article).

Now, many are trying to innovate their way into affordability, with methods that don’t rely on government action or subsidies. Guess what? Government adjusts and makes them impossible or illegal.

You can get some regional perspectives here and here.

Or just google around a bit.

But do your homework and consider showing up to be heard.

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