Limit made on homeless housing sites in Everett
EVERETT — The Everett City Council voted Jan. 29 to ban multi-family homeless housing in some neighborhoods.
The vote was 4-1 in favor of restricting supportive housing from single-family neighborhoods. Councilmember Liz Vogeli opposed the restrictions, giving a “resounding no” as she voted.
“I do believe affordable housing is paramount to having a truly livable city. Not only are we on climate crisis but we are in a housing crisis,” Vogeli said. “Our entire community can feel the effect of those crises in one form or another. Without the option of affordable housing for people in personal crisis, with services ready for our neighbors where they are, we will not get out of this predicament.”
In the spring, housing advocate group Housing Hope expressed that they planned to build a supportive housing site on a plot zoned single-family in the Port Gardner neighborhood. Neighbors opposed it, worrying that these new residents would be a danger to their community, councilmember Paul Roberts said Wednesday. The council responded by setting a moratorium on building of multi-family units in single-family zones.
Community member Christopher Glans didn’t agree with the council on their reasoning.
“Anything we’re doing as a city council that’s going to block, or hinder, or stop people from getting affordable housing is wrong,” Glans said. “I don’t care about zoning or all these legalities, parking permits and all that kind of crap, I just think people need to get housed. Because it’s going to get worse before it gets better.”
Prior to this week’s council vote, Everett Mayor Cassie Franklin said that as a council member she was supportive of this housing.
She voted in 2017 to allow the donation of public land to be used for the purposes of supportive housing.
“I admittedly am very sad to see it go away, if that’s the vote tonight,” Franklin said.
Roberts struggled to get behind the proposal to allow Housing Hope to build. Roberts believes that projects like this should go through a public rezoning process, he said.
“It’s about respecting the underlying land use process,” Roberts said. “If we’re going to alter that, we have to have public involvement. This is not about the Housing Hope project, this is about how these land use zoning types work together. I’m not sure I can support what we have in front of us.”
Community member Angela Di Filippo advocated for supporting the Housing Hope project.
She argued that there was a large amount of land within these single-family neighborhoods that could be used to house many people suffering from physical or mental health issues.
The majority of the council, however, said that public land in single-family neighborhoods can’t be used to build multi-family buildings because that would mean compromising the underlying land use process.
Council members Jeff Moore and Scott Murphy were absent from the vote.
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