Letter: Developer is promising what he cannot deliver


I read, with interest, your article (April 23) on the special Langley City Council meeting concerning the proposed Coles Valley development. As the developer of this proposal has to date not found a partner to develop the affordable housing component, I am reminded of an old joke.

A tourist stops at a farm stand and notices a bushel of apples for $9. He finds the owner of the stand and says, “$9 for a bushel of apples? The stand down the road is selling them for $3 a bushel!” The owner then asked “Did they have any apples?” “No,” replied the tourist. The owner then said, “When I don’t have any apples, I sell them for $2 a bushel.”

If I were the developer and had no one willing to build the affordable housing, I would offer at least 60% percent of it as affordable. I would suggest that Mr. Schissler is promising something he cannot deliver today.

Further, one could argue that what South Whidbey and Langley needs is not affordable housing but low income housing. We need places for the store clerks, waiters and waitresses, cashiers, farm hands and seasonal help. If you are working full time at $20/hour, 30% of your monthly income is only about $1,000. The median income in Island County is $6,000 per month. If the rent is affordable for people earning 80% of the median income then that rent will be (6000×0.8×0.3) $1,500 per month. For the low income workers on the island, affordable housing is just not affordable.

David Stenberg