Critics and allies sounded off on controversial housing plan

The proposal would bring 34 low- to moderate-income units to Everett’s Port Gardner neighborhood.

EVERETT — A contentious plan to build low- to moderate-income apartments in the Port Gardner neighborhood continues to draw criticism from many neighbors.

A Thursday night meeting also drew a handful of supporters on the project proposed by Housing Hope and the Everett School District aimed at homeless students.

Earlier this year, the school district declared the lot in the 3600 block of Norton Avenue excess land and agreed to lease the property to the nonprofit for 75 years.

“We didn’t choose this site, it happens to be a property that is surplus, nobody planned this,” Fred Safstrom, Housing Hope’s CEO, told a crowd of about 20. “The school district saw this as an opportunity to use this land as a way to help these students get to school.”

Last year the district had 1,266 students experiencing homelessness.

The agreement with the school district includes 34 low- to moderate-income apartments. That number could potentially grow to 50, Safstrom said. Families experiencing homelessness with children at Sequioa High School would be given first priority, followed by homeless households with students in the school district.

A proposed early childhood center as large as 10,000 square feet has been dropped from the project.

The apartments would be spread across several two-story buildings, each containing three to four units.

“You aren’t going to see one monolithic structure here,” Safstrom told the crowd.

The project was halted in mid-June after the Everett City Council placed a moratorium on supportive housing in single-family residential zones. Before that action, the project as described to the city by the developer would have been allowed to go forward.

Housing Hope is also pursuing another route to move the project forward. The nonprofit filed a petition to amend the city’s comprehensive plan in September requesting an upzone of the site to allow multifamily buildings. The change wouldn’t be out of character for that area, which has both single-family and multifamily housing.

Under current regulations, a developer would be allowed to build between five to 10 single-family homes per acre on the 3-acre site.

Critics, many of whom felt blindsided by the proposal, said the the building would increase traffic along a narrow street and eliminate green space many neighbors use. They also worried the project would negatively impact their property values.

“I just don’t think this is the right spot,” said Jenni Christensen, who lives across the street and wants the school district and Housing Hope to consider other locations.

A few neighbors spoke in support of the project, many of whom have argued there’s plenty of green space already in the area. Doyle Park is about one block north of the proposed site.

“I know we need this,” said Julie Teigen , who lives nearby and across the street from another Housing Hope building, Crossroads.

Teigen said she’s seen families who have moved into that building change for the better. And since she’s lived there, she said, her property value has only increased.

Neighbors will have another chance to comment. A second meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Sept. 26 in the cafeteria of Sequoia High School, 3516 Rucker Ave.

Lizz Giordano: 425-374-4165; egiordano@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @lizzgior.

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Local News

People look out onto Mountain Loop Mine from the second floor hallway of Fairmount Elementary on Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2024 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Mining company ordered to stop work next to school south of Everett

After operating months without the right paperwork, OMA Construction applied for permits last week. The county found it still violates code.

Snohomish County Jail. (Sue Misao / Herald file)
Arlington woman arrested in 2005 case of killed baby in Arizona airport

Annie Sue Anderson, 51, has been held in the Snohomish County Jail since December. She’s facing extradition.

A Cessna 150 crashed north of Paine Field on Friday evening, Feb. 16, 2024, in Mukilteo, Washington. The pilot survived without serious injury. (Courtesy of Richard Newman.)
‘I’m stuck in the trees’: 911 call recounts plane crash near Paine Field

Asad Ali was coming in for a landing in a Cessna 150 when he crashed into woods south of Mukilteo. Then he called 911 — for 48 minutes.

The Nimbus Apartments are pictured on Wednesday, March 1, 2023, in downtown Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Snohomish County has the highest rent in the state. Could this bill help?

In one year, rent for the average two-bedroom apartment in Snohomish County went up 20%. A bill seeks to cap any increases at 7%.

A child gets some assistance dancing during Narrow Tarot’s set on the opening night of Fisherman’s Village on Thursday, May 18, 2023, at Lucky Dime in downtown Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Drive-By Truckers, Allen Stone headline 2024 Fisherman’s Village lineup

Big names and local legends alike are coming to downtown Everett for the music festival from May 16 to 18.

Sen. Patty Murray attends a meeting at the Everett Fire Department’s Station 1 on Thursday, Feb. 22, 2024, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Sen. Murray seeks aid for Snohomish County’s fentanyl, child care crises

The U.S. senator visited Everett to talk with local leaders on Thursday, making stops at the YMCA and a roundtable with the mayor.

Anthony Boggess
Arlington man sentenced for killing roommate who offered shelter

Anthony Boggess, 33, reported hearing the voices of “demons” the night he strangled James Thrower, 65.

Lake Serene in Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest. (U.S. Forest Service)
How will climate change affect you? New tool gives an educated guess

The Climate Vulnerability Tool outlines climate hazards in Snohomish County — and it may help direct resources.

A cliff above the Pilchuck River shows signs of erosion Friday, Feb. 9, 2024, in Lake Stevens, Washington. Lake Connor Park sits atop the cliff. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Hill erodes in Lake Connor Park, forcing residents of 8 lots to vacate

The park has just under 1,500 members east of Lake Stevens. The riverside hill usually loses 18 inches a year. But it was more this year.

Ken Florczak, president of the five-member board at Sherwood Village Mobile Home community on Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2024 in Mill Creek, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
How Mill Creek mobile home residents bought the land under their feet

At Sherwood Village, residents are now homeowners. They pay a bit more each month to keep developers from buying their property.

The I-5, Highway 529 and the BNSF railroad bridges cross over Union Slough as the main roadways for north and southbound traffic between Everett and Marysville. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
As 4-month closure looms, Highway 529 bridge to briefly close Sunday

The northbound section of the Snohomish River Bridge will be closed 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. The monthslong closure is slated for mid-May.

Ninth-grade program gets money, initiatives to get hearings

It’s day 47, here is what’s happening in the Legislature.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.