Common Cause Housing Balance for Sammamish-Part 2

Part 1 may be found here.

  • How to attain sustainable housing affordability, create vast community wealth and improve driver experiences.

Paul Stickney

By Paul Stickney

Guest Contributor

Article Two of Three

I am beginning Article Two with five transparent Position Statements:

  • Traffic concurrency should limit additional single-family homes in most of the City, that we have Internal oversupplies of; and Traffic concurrency should NOT limit adding smaller and different homes in our Centers that we have Internal undersupplies of.
  • It is not who’s right, it is what’s right for the majority of Sammamish residents over time.
  • In Sammamish, our Internal Housing ‘Needs and Wants’ deficient supply gap numbers are from 2-4 times the size of our External growth target number.
  • As a City, we should make a paradigm shift from “Keeping all Housing to a minimum within Sammamish” to “Ensure Housing supply reaches optimum sustainability within Sammamish.”
  • We, as a community, are HOLISTACALLY far better off with Housing Balance, then without

Please, evaluate these five position statements as you read and critique this series of articles.

Simplicity and Complexity

An important fundamental principle to share is “The Simplicity the Far Side of Complexity.”

Some famous people who have used this principle in notable quotes include Oliver Wendell Homes Senior and Junior, Alfred North Whitehead, Winston Churchill, Albert Einstein and Steve Jobs.

Basically, there are high value simplicities that emerge and/or are revealed from intense study of a topic.  After studying Housing Balance for many years, what I am sharing with the community in these articles are the Simplicities the Far Side of Complexity relevant to Housing Balance.

What is Internal Housing Balance for Sammamish?

Here is its ‘Holistic Summary’ in one four-part sentence, that is certainly a mouthful:

Sustainable Housing supplies within Sammamish that are optimally balanced–to the Internal, recurring Cycle-of-Life Economic and Demographic Housing ‘Needs and Wants’–of all those living and/or working within our great City–for enriched lives, inclusiveness, housing affordability, vast four-sector wealth, alleviating several significant issues, unrivaled connectedness and enduring consensus on community

Tenets of Housing

The ‘Tenets’ of Housing Balance:

  • Ensure that everyone within the community has the opportunity to live in an affordable home throughout their Cycle-of-Life for both planned and unplanned changes that occur.
  • One’s home is the foundation for the things that matter in life —  physical and mental
    health, safety, educational achievement, job security, stable family and community.
  • Sustainable, Balanced Housing creates the foundation for our community to continually thrive.

‘Principles and Outcomes’ of Housing Balance:

  • Optimally decrease additional large single-family housing, car trips and sprawl in 97% of the City.
  • Optimally increase smaller & different housing supplies in our Town Center and other Centers.
  • Reduce car use well below that planned and zoned for. Improve driver experiences.
  • Create tremendous ‘4-Sector Wealth’ for our Community – short, as well as long-term.
  • Alleviating or resolving several significant issues that our community is up against.
  • Housing sustainability and affordability – optimized for Internal recurring Cycles-of-Life.
  • Enrich our overall quality of life and attain enduring consensus on Community Character.

Who is Housing Balance for?

  • It’s for you, your family and extended family.
  • It’s for your friends and neighbors within Sammamish.
  • It’s for all the households within our City.
  • It’s for those working in the City, that cannot afford to live here.

Housing Balance is Temporal:

  • King County policies, actions and their consequences from before 1960 to 1999.
  • Sammamish policies, actions and their consequences from 1999-2017.
  • Sammamish Comprehensive Plan 2015-2035.
  • Recurring 80-year Cycles-of-Life for perpetuity.

What are Underlying Issues?

  • Our Housing Supply is out of balance with the Internal ‘Needs and Wants’ of all those living and/or working within Sammamish, over recurring Cycles-of-Life.
  • Presently, our community has Internal oversupplies of large single-family homes and Internal undersupplies of smaller and different housing.
  • Our Comprehensive Plan only fully plans for one kind of ‘Number’, rather than all three:
    • Fully plans for our City’s negotiated External regional Growth Target.
    • Does not fully plan for absolute zoned capacity for additional single-family homes.
    • Does not fully plan for Internal Economic and Demographic Housing ‘Needs and Wants.’

About Housing Balance:

It’s About Housing Affordability and Affordable Housing

Housing Affordability is when supply meets the ‘Needs and Wants’ of all economic and demographic groups living and working within Sammamish, at 30% of household income. Affordable Housing is a minority subset of Housing Affordability that needs subsidies for income levels below 100% AMI.  Affordable Housing is about 20% of our total deficient Housing Affordability ‘Needs and Wants.’

It’s About Optimum, not Minimum

All housing has been kept to a minimum by Sammamish. Single-family housing, through the net density ordinance and environmental controls.  Multi-family, by only considering the Growth Target rather than Internal Economic + Demographic ‘Needs and Wants’ over recurring Cycles-of-Life. Optimizing calls for further reductions in single-family homes citywide and increasing multi-family units in Centers.

 It’s About “Inside Out,” not “Outside In”

“Inside Out” refers to the ability of those living and/or working here to remain in the Community as situations change and different housing is needed or wanted. Housing Balance is not about “Outside In”, there will be very little demand from newcomers to live in the multi-family housing in our Centers. Our Economic and Demographic makeup won’t be artificially altered and our community will improve.  

 It’s About Reasons Driving Numbers, not Numbers Driving Reasons

When it comes to housing in Sammamish, there has been an obscure and consistent pattern to keep comprehensive and impartial objective facts and fully informed public opinion out of housing policies, planning and their enabling zoning and regulations. It is time to obtain complete factual data about housing, then, along with thoroughly informed public opinion, make Housing Balance a reality. 

 It’s About Positive Increases and Positive Decreases, not Growth

When it comes to housing in Sammamish, most people feel “Growth” is negative. Growth can be positive, for example, our parks have “grown” from about 50 acres to well over 600 acres. I submit that when it comes to housing, it’s not about Growth.  It’s about combining over 40 ‘Positive Increases’ and ‘Positive Decreases’ – spanning Transportation, the Environment, Financial and Social sectors.

 Article Three will have seven supporting documents available for download about Housing Balance. Combining those corroborating materials with this series of three articles–I will share viewpoints, recommendations, question/action and my conclusion.

Paul Stickney grew up in Southern California. Stickney attended the Wilderness Survival School near Georgetown Lake Montana in 1969. He has a Bachelor of Science in Resource Conservation from University of Montana (Missoula) School of Forestry in 1976 and has been a residential real estate broker since 1977. He moved to the Seattle area in 1990, specializing in the Eastside markets. 

 Editor’s Note: The views and opinions of the writer do not necessarily reflect those of Sammamish Comment. This column was edited for spelling, style and grammar content but otherwise appears as it was submitted. The content and conclusions are solely the product of the author of this column.


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