Affordable housing: There are no easy solutions to growing problem

I read with interest the letter from Saul Fortunoff and Wesley Rodgers in last week’s paper. (“Island might lose rural character,” Dec. 13). I have known these lovely people for many years and have the greatest respect for them. I know that as neighbors of the nonprofit Creekside Village project, they have concerns about it. However, they also need to read closely the community plans of the past to understand that the town core is the only place zoned for multi-family housing on the island, and further, that the community involved in over 50 years of planning wanted it that way.

Concentrating multi-family housing in town allows for a pedestrian-friendly village, where residents can walk or bicycle to services and stores. This project as well as others in the past have targeted our low-income seniors, handicapped community members, veterans and lower-income workers. These folks are leaving the island because they can’t afford to live here any longer. We are fast losing the diversity we brag about so much. We are facing a major exodus of elders and workers who are leaving our community because it has become totally unaffordable. The ideas suggested by Saul and Wesley, although thoughtful, have been fully explored by multiple committees and community planners. I have been among those involved in community planning for over 30 years, and there are no simple, easy answers.

I fully support both the Creekside Village project on Gorsuch and the Vashon HouseHold project on 188th. One fact that most detractors never understand is that to do any such project, you must be in the town core, have enough water shares, raise copious amounts of money and most importantly, have a seller willing to work with a nonprofit and wait years for their money. It would be easier to just sell on the open market for immediate cash. But both property owners sought out nonprofits to provide for affordable housing in our community. What a gift to us.

— Emma Amiad

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