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Read About our Priorities on Housing in the Comp Plan Update

April 23, 2024 in Accountability, Climate Change, Comprehensive Plan & Growth Management Act, Farmland & Forests, Housing & Transportation, Local Food Systems, Parks, Trails, & Open Spaces, Position Statements & Policy Recommendations

We provided public comment at the Population, Housing, and Employment Hearing today emphasizing two important points:

1) Nothing in the current studies, reviews, or discussions justifies any urban growth area (UGA) expansions.

    This position has been echoed by Clark County’s cities and by Community Development. Although both the Department of Commerce and Community Planning have emphasized the need over the next 20 years for thousands of new homes, with intelligent land use planning there will be no need for Clark County citizens to suffer the loss of the priceless, productive open space that not only do we all cherish, but that our county must keep intact to mitigate and adapt to the climate crisis at the scale and urgency required to best protect our children and grandchildren. The positions of Commerce and Community Planning merely convey the requirement for communities to “provide housing affordable to families and individuals with incomes between zero to fifty percent of the adjusted median income” and to stay within existing UGA’s.

     Furthermore, this county has already run the experiment of gobbling up and paving over productive agricultural parcels for housing, which resulted in the production of UN-affordable housing, as well as  a decline in public services and facilities as cities are stressed to serve uncontrolled growth within their boundaries.  

     Moreover, it is evident that smart planning within existing urban areas in order to accommodate housing growth is key to providing affordable dwellings for the next 20 years. Despite the claims  of the building and construction industries in southwest Washington, increasing development into expanded growth areas will result in more expense, weakened transportation and other infrastructures that are already strapped for funding, and will continue to negatively impact this region’s ability to reduce climate emissions and adapt to climate change.

     We insist on smart planning to identify sufficient land within existing urban growth boundaries for the types of housing as listed in RCW 36.70A.070(2)(c).

2) We support all efforts to develop plans for Affordable Housing Types. 

     It is critical that staff and councilors craft solutions and make decisions that accommodate the stated need: to provide affordable housing; that is, “over half of the new units needed over the next 20 years will need to be affordable at 80% or less of the area median income (AMI).” This includes: “government-assisted housing, housing for moderate, low, very low, and extremely low-income households, manufactured housing, multifamily housing, group homes, foster care facilities, emergency housing, emergency shelters, and permanent supportive housing within an urban growth area boundary” as listed in RCW 36.70A.070(2)(c).  

     Furthermore, FOCC believes it is the responsibility of Clark County’s government to hold developers and builders accountable for following the law and working productively to produce a healthy, sustainable, and affordable community for Clark County citizens.

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