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Attention Water Protectors

There’s an issue right here at home. It affects all of us. There is a recommendation for our community plan update to allow “density bonus” zoning in the town of Vashon that far exceeds our water availability. It represents a big and unsustainable change in density from what is currently allowed in the town of Vashon. There simply isn’t water to supply this level of development. If we build out beyond what our water resources can supply, what happens?

Unfortunately, it’s being presented as a necessary response to the serious affordable housing crunch we are experiencing on Vashon. Friends, seniors, young families, people who make a difference and contribute to the character of our community can’t find a place to live – yes, we’ve got a problem.

I’m concerned too – and support more flexible and creative solutions to encourage affordable housing that align with realities of water availability. Let’s recommend setting guidelines that are definitive about the priority to safeguard our water while advocating for flexibility in building codes, financing, better use of accessory dwelling units – maybe there’s some way to discourage the conversion of rental housing to airbnb or vrbo.

Surely there is a scale of development that is appropriate to our needs and consistent with what is sustainable – for community, individuals, non-profit or entrepreneurial business, the land, the water, the earth.

You can’t squeeze water from a rock – or in this case from a pile of glacial till. In our upcoming community plan update, let’s make sure to include a policy that clearly states that development on Vashon MUST be in quantity and scale that is consistent with protecting our natural resources. Let’s make a commitment to support better business models and creative alternatives to provide affordable housing at a scale that is consistent with what the Rock can actually provide.

Please look into this yourself. Review the recommendations that are being proposed. Send comments to Bradley.Clark@kingcounty.gov and cc: JoeMcDermott@kingcounty.gov. Attend the community forum on Feb 23 at McMurray.