Looking at ways to bring affordable housing to Whidbey

New government regulations adding to costs

Streamlining permit reviews and reducing fees for qualified housing projects are some steps being considered to bring more affordable housing to Whidbey Island.

A 30-member Affordable Housing Task Force discussed ideas recently during a Council of Governments special session.

Oak Harbor City Councilman Rick Almberg explained how delays in reviewing permits for proposed construction by local governments often drives up costs. Additionally, meeting some state and federal requirements that are not pertinent to local conditions yet must still be followed add to expenses, he said.

One such “onerous” regulation, Almberg noted, is the state’s stormwater requirements for Western Washington, regardless of local rainfall patterns. The regulations are designed, in part, for flood control and environmental protection.

“The net effect of this policy will likely result in a $30,000 increased cost to each single family residence,” Almberg said. Negotiating more cost-effective alternatives that are still environmentally sound might be a possibility.

Island County Commissioner Jill Johnson also said theres been many lengthy discussions on the impact of regulations.

“Many of the environmental protections that we value are directly linked to driving up housing costs, so we are exploring the balance between the two needs,” she said.

More in News

‘Bipartisan’ lawmaker faces challenger

When it comes to campaigning, state Rep. Norma Smith and her challenger… Continue reading

Burglar burned hole in door

A 17-year-old Mukilteo boy is accused of staying at a rental house… Continue reading

Fingerprints lead to suspect

Fingerprints led police to a suspect in the burglary of a South… Continue reading

Dryer fire extinguished

A swift response by South Whidbey firefighters saved a structure after a… Continue reading

DNA leads to burglary suspect

DNA evidence led to charges being filed against a man who allegedly… Continue reading

Langley council resolution supports carbon fee measure

Langley’s city council members voted Monday to support the state carbon emissions… Continue reading

Photo provided
                                The Shifty Sailors play at the Tall Ship Festival in Riga, Latvia in 2003 aboard the German sailing vessel Seute Deern. Pictured are Jim Amis, Mike Thelen, Wylie Vracin, Karl Olsen, Clarke Harvey, Vern Olsen (accordion), Ray Loe, Bruce Bardwell, Denny Armstrong (guitar), Jack Moeller and Peter Lawl.
Shifty Sailors celebrating 25th anniversary

The maritime-themed musical group Shifty Sailors will celebrate their 25th anniversary with… Continue reading

Haunted Petting Zoo hosted by 4-H club

This month Island County 4-H’s Kool Kritters will morph into Kreepy Kritters.… Continue reading

Author’s new book looks at dying at home

‘It’s my passion to demystify hospice’ — Karen J. Clayton

Most Read