Port Gardner Residents Say Everett Has A “Supportive Housing” Loophole.

June 11, 2019

Everett

Editor’s Update Wednesday June 12th 4:00 PM: MyEverettNews.com received the following response from Sara Wilson at Housing Hope in regards to this story and I want to include that here. Leland Dart, Editor

I want to address two pieces of misinformation that were included in the press release from Residents for Norton Playfield. I know that the information I’m responding to is directly from the Residents for Norton Playfield press release, not your own investigating, but I still wanted to give you background information.

Regarding the statement about “any developer can build supportive housing of any size in R-1…” the reality is that there are two conditions for this procedure: The project must be supportive housing, and, the land must be publically owned. Privately owned property is not eligible.

And, the statement that “Housing Hope attended Port Gardner Neighborhood Association meeting a few months ago and chose to use their time to discuss the HopeWorks Station II project, not even mentioning this project” is misrepresenting the facts, which are:

· HopeWorks was invited by the President of Port Gardner Neighborhood Association to attend the March 11 monthly meeting specifically to provide an update on the HopeWorks Station project on Broadway.

· HopeWorks and Housing Hope are separate organizations. HopeWorks was invited to this meeting, not Housing Hope.

Port Gardner

A representative said there were more than 150 at the Monday night neighborhood meeting.

This is the field the neighbors are talking about in the 3600 block of Grand.

Signs have popped up throughout the Port Gardner neighborhood.

Original Story 6-11-19: Residents of Everett’s Port Gardner neighborhood are expected to make a strong showing at the Everett City Council meeting Wednesday night.

On Monday more than 150 residents were counted at the Port Gardner Neighborhood meeting. Most were there to hear about a planned housing development that could bring between three and six dozen multi-family housing units to serve students and families experiencing homelessness in the Everett School District.

The project came to light after the Herald newspaper reported a couple of weeks ago an agreement between Housing Hope and the Everett School District on a 75-year lease for the multi-family housing project.

That report triggered neighborhood awareness of the plan that had apparently flown under the radar for quite some time.

Neighbors in Port Gardner have started putting up yard signs, organizing meetings and pointing out what they say are flaws in the process and in the Everett Zoning code. This is an excerpt from a recent press release by the group calling itself “Residents For Norton Playfield.”

After getting blindsided by this project, we have quickly realized the following concerns with the proposed development:

Transparency:
Projects like this development take months, often years, to put together. At no point has Everett School District made any attempt to communicate to neighbors about this multi-family development. Projects of this nature typically require some type of public process. Housing Hope attended Port Gardner Neighborhood Association meetings just a few months ago and chose to use their time to discuss the Hopeworks Station II project, not even mentioning this project or that a critical vote involving the Port Gardner neighborhood was just weeks away. These type of back door deals simply make the public lose trust. This lack of transparency by the Everett Public Schools and Housing Hope is a cause for concern.

Zoning:
In a letter from the City of Everett to Brent Planning Services, LLC dated May 22, 2019, the Planning Director made clear that the multi-family homeless housing development, referred to by the city as ‘Supportive Housing’, would be allowed under Everett’s Zoning Code requirements subject to Review Process III (Hearing Examiner approval). This means that currently in the City of Everett, any developer can build supportive housing of any size in R-1, single family zoning anywhere in city limits without approval from the city’s Planning Commission, a vote from City Council or any zoning changes. Given that any private developer would not be permitted to even build a duplex or triplex in R-1, single family zoning, how is it that this zoning code was approved?

The loophole:
It’s our understanding that this Zoning Code change was made by Mayor Stephanson’s administration in preparation for the Berkshire Low Barrier project and approved by Everett City Council. Was this loophole opened and not closed back up OR did the City of Everett intend to allow multi-family homeless housing in single-family zoning city-wide? This means that every single-family neighborhood is at risk. Every green-space and every park in every neighborhood in the City of Everett could be permitted for a multi-family homeless housing development. This is the loophole that Housing Hope and Everett Public Schools have found to take away a neighborhood park and destroy the character of a 100-plus year-old historic single-family neighborhood.

The Everett City Council meeting is set for Wednesday June 12th beginning at 6:30 PM at 3002 Wetmore in downtown Everett, Washington. The meeting can also be seen online at Everett TV or the city’s cable access channels. No action on the housing plan is on the agenda but Port Gardner neighbors say they plan to make full use of the public comment period at the start of the meeting.



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About myeverettnews

My Everett News is a hyperlocal news website featuring breaking news and events in Everett, WA. We also cover City of Everett information and items of interest to those who live and work in Everett. It's written by Leland Dart a former Snohomish County based radio reporter born and raised in Everett.

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