Prioritize affordable housing

We are asking the voters of Anacortes to support an ordinance that authorizes the collection of the Affordable Housing Sales Tax. This is an exciting and important step toward providing more affordable housing for our Anacortes residents. No one likes new taxes, but if we want to address this critical issue, we as a community are going to have to find new sources of funding.

Affordable housing is defined as housing that doesn’t cost more than 30% of your family income. This definition has been in use for close to 70 years and is the figure that financial institutes use in determining mortgage eligibility. In Anacortes, according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) data, 33% of our residents are paying more than 30% of their income for rent and utilities.

To be a vital community, we need a variety of housing types in a range of prices. The three proposed projects — the Anacortes Family Center’s new apartments, the Anacortes Housing Authority’s 19th Street townhouses and the Olson building renovation will help Anacortes provide safe, affordable housing for those who need it.

Please give this proposal your serious consideration.

Marc L. Estvold

Anacortes

 

Important to support housing

I support the many different efforts in our community to increase the availability of housing.

We have a housing vacancy rate of less than 1%. We need more single-family homes, townhomes, condos and apartments of all sizes. We need market rate housing, affordable housing and/or low-income housing. We need the housing for our teachers, health care providers, seniors and low-income families.

Think of the consequences of being unable to recruit or retain new teachers, policemen, shipyard workers, etc. because there is no housing.

I support the small sales tax increase that will help provide affordable housing units. And the bonus is that the state will rebate a small percentage if we pass that measure.

I also support Anacortes’ efforts to attract developers to build market rate housing. Height increases and property tax abatement incentives make Anacortes competitively attractive for investors.

Yes, we need to figure out the neighborhood impacts of increased heights. But at the same time, realize that Anacortes has only a very narrow strip of land on either side of Commercial Drive that is zoned to allow multifamily housing bigger than a triplex; the most cost-effective housing. We must make the most of what’s available.

Let’s do this on Feb. 11 and vote yes.

Martha Schoenthal

Anacortes

 

Vote yes on housing tax 

I would like to encourage everybody to vote yes on the Affordable Housing Tax Measure on Feb. 11. As a member of the Anacortes Housing Authority Board, I see firsthand the urgent need for affordable housing. We currently have a four-year backlog for housing in Anacortes. We have 183 units occupied at 99.7% year-round.

We are getting ready to add five units on 19th street and start renovation of the Olson Building on Commercial Avenue.

We also have other properties ready but with the lack of funding, they are on hold.

Bill French

Anacortes

 

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