Editorial: Roseballen situation provides an opportunity

The conflict over a botched paving job at Roseballen is unfortunate — coming, as it does, not long after 19 families poured untold hours into making their dream of home-ownership a reality. The people who live at Roseballen worked harder than most of us could imagine to put roofs over their heads and obtain mortgages that are manageable. This turn of events is understandably discouraging and dispiriting for some.

But some sort of post-construction conflict is not unusual in this day and age — nor are the lawsuits. What’s more, the fact that King County has now stepped into the picture in an effort to force the developer’s hand suggests that sooner or later the issue will be resolved. If necessary, the county can seize the developer’s bond and see to it that the road that wends through Roseballen is brought up to standard.

Meanwhile, though, it’s important that the organizations that helped bring Roseballen to fruition discuss the issue openly with the residents. Vashon HouseHold and Northwest Housing Development — both nonprofit organizations that have done much to create affordable housing in our region — need to recognize that some residents are confused and frustrated.

A simple meeting with the residents or a letter to each one could go far in defusing some of the tension that has built up. It’s called community relations, and it’s in order at Roseballen.

And, of course, none of this changes another reality: The small housing development is strikingly beautiful. The houses are well-crafted, nicely situated and bounded by wetlands and farmland. It’s a classy and innovative undertaking and stands as a regional model for the kind of affordable housing needed throughout the region.

Vashon HouseHold and Northwest Housing Development are now working on another sweat-equity housing project — Sunflower, on Bank Road. It, too, promises to bring much-needed affordable housing to Vashon.

By navigating this situation at Roseballen thoughtfully and well, the two organizations will continue to have in Roseballen what every developer wants — a fine, living example of just what it is they’re trying to achieve.

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