LETTER: Community plan’s housing overlay will not cause significant changes

I would like to respond to the letter written by Frank Jackson in last week’s issue (“Comment on housing density,” Nov. 15). Even though I have met personally with Frank on several occasions and he has attended some of the Comp Plan update meetings while I served on that committee, he is still spouting fearmongering threats about the future of the community if a very small change to the Vashon plan goes through.

He states that over 100 people commented against the proposed overlay that could assist in creating more affordable housing on the island. He apparently doesn’t know that I delivered over 700 signatures to the County Council from islanders supporting such an overlay. These were from the working folks and elderly here who are priced out of our very high-cost rentals.

The overlay would not open the door to developers. We have no developers here except Vashon HouseHold, a nonprofit organization trying to accomplish at least one or two more projects for workforce housing and to help low-income elders on the island. The overlay would not impact the water issues at all, since only those who already have paid for water shares would qualify. So what Frank is saying is simply not true.

The cost of development here is extremely high. Only a nonprofit can create anything close to a new project. The Eernisse apartments certainly didn’t change the character of the island. They offered decent apartments for those who already live here and struggle with rental costs.

Most of the unbuilt property in the town core contains wetlands. Those parcels cannot be built out to their current zoning potential due to those critical areas. I have personal experience with doing feasibility studies on many of those properties, so I know that the potential for new affordable housing is extremely limited here, even if we get that overlay.

— Emma Amiad