Despite Reservations Everett Council Approves Low Barrier Housing Help

November 29, 2017

Everett Government

low barrier

Solar panels will cover the roof of the building. Drawing courtesy City of Everett presentation.

At tonight’s meeting the Everett City Council approved an interlocal agreement with Snohomish County that allows the two governments to work together to explore ways to build more low barrier housing in Everett. The agreement identifies Chemical Dependency and Mental Health Program funds from Snohomish County as a source for funding low barrier housing near Berkshire and Evergreen Way in central Everett.

Back on October 27th shared a letter Everett Mayor Ray Stephanson wrote to Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers asking for help getting the interlocal signed by the Snohomish County Council which would lead to the release of $1.6 million dollars to Catholic Housing Services for the project. The Snohomish County Council had been holding up passing through the funding until the city met requirements outlined in a motion passed back in 2016.

motion 16-168

Meghan Pembroke from the City of Everett explained in an email yesterday to how the funding process involved two steps…

The County’s funding ordinance requires an interlocal agreement between the County and City, and that’s what will come before City Council tomorrow. The items outlined in the County Council motion are included in the draft loan agreements between the County and Catholic Housing Services. Those documents are currently under legal review by both parties and are expected to go before the County Council for consideration on Dec. 13. The approved loan agreements are the documents required for the funds to be released.

While the interlocal agreement passed unanimously, an ordinance to give an eighty percent exemption on utility hookups to non-profits that build low-barrier housing in Everett ran into opposition. Both council members Scott Murphy and Brenda Stonecipher voted against the ordinance. It would cost about $2.5 million dollars over five years and while it would not immediately raise utility rates it was expected to add about $13 a year at the next renewal period four years from now. Council member Paul Roberts proposed a sunset clause that would end the exemption in 2021. With that clause the ordinance passed 4-2.

Catholic Housing Services had put the exemption into their proforma back in May of 2016 and after the vote said if it would not have passed tonight they would have had to come up with another $300,000.00.

On Friday the city plans to send all of the necessary documents to the city council members for their review. On December 13th there will be a briefing on the master resolution to surplus the property off of Berkshire, develop an agreement to transfer the property and approve the covenants and restrictions on the property for 50 years. On January 3rd there will be a public hearing on the surplus and master resolution.

January 15th is the approximate date for final closing and groundbreaking. Construction must start by May 21, 2018. Leasing would begin in March of 2019 with all 65 units full by July 2019.


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