Supporters and opponents of a moratorium on supportive housing in single-family areas packed the Everett City Council chambers during a public hearing Wednesday night. (Lizz Giordano / The Herald)

Supporters and opponents of a moratorium on supportive housing in single-family areas packed the Everett City Council chambers during a public hearing Wednesday night. (Lizz Giordano / The Herald)

Everett residents weigh in on a ban of supportive housing

The moratorium has put on hold a plan to build 34 units for homeless public school students.

EVERETT — Critics and proponents of a moratorium on supportive housing packed the Everett City Council chambers during a public hearing Wednesday night.

Public comments were split over an emergency ban affecting single-family zones, which passed the council unanimously on June 12.

The move was taken after the Everett School District and Housing Hope proposed to build affordable apartments for homeless students in the Port Gardner neighborhood.

The school district in May agreed to a 75-year lease with the housing nonprofit for a 3-acre plot in the 3600 block of Norton Avenue. Preliminary designs call for 34 units of housing for low- to moderate-income families with students enrolled in Everett public schools. The building could include an early childhood center as large as 10,000 square feet.

When the plan was announced, it was criticized by some in the Port Gardner neighborhood who worried the project would negatively impact the neighborhood and take away green space. They also felt the school district and Housing Hope blindsided the neighborhood with the proposal.

Resident Michelle Fessler argued against the moratorium and for the Housing Hope project Wednesday night.

“We need to place people above property value,” she said.

There is plenty of green space already in the area, Fessler added.

Amy Frost, who lives down the street from the site, urged the council to keep the ban, saying that pushing higher density projects into single-family zones is problematic.

“Downtown has plenty of vacant buildings,” Frost said.

During more than an hour of public comments, audience members on both sides clapped to show support for speakers.

“We did not choose this location, it just happened to be where surplus land was located,” said Fred Safstrom, chief executive officer for Housing Hope.

Supportive housing is very difficult to do, even with a donation of land, he said.

The Everett school district had 1,266 students who experienced some degree of homelessness last year, according to data from the state Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction.

Councilmember Jeff Moore, who is the executive director of finance for the school district, recused himself from the council discussion and public hearing.

The moratorium lasts for six months but can be extended.

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

Talk to us

More in Local News

Jeremy Fuerst (Northwest Washington Synod)
Everett pastor dies while mountain climbing in Colorado

Pastor Jeremy Fuerst, 44, came to Central Lutheran Church in 2015.

Capt. Kate Songhurst demonstrates proper CPR during the PulsePoint launch press briefing Tuesday morning at Kasch Park in Everett on September 14, 2021. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
In heartbeat, app now hails citizen CPR in Snohomish County

Ambulances can only drive so fast. PulsePoint alerts nearby trained citizens when there’s a medical emergency.

Work related to improvements at the intersection of Highways 9 and 204 will close a road and reduce lanes in Lake Stevens through Oct. 1. (Washington State Department of Transportation)
Road disruptions starting around Highway 9 in Lake Stevens

Lane reductions and closures are part of the work to improve the intersection at Highways 9 and 204.

Rebecca Haskins (Everett Police Department) 20210913
Missing Everett teenager located

Rebecca Haskins had last been seen the morning of Sept. 4. Police reported her found Wednesday.

Sultan police looking for tips after rash of car prowls

On Sunday, the department responded to 20 reports at Sportsman Park and trailheads near Gold Bar.

Arlington man allegedly killed by son is identified

Nicholi Melum, 63, had an argument with his son, Garner, last week and was shot.

State Supreme Court to hear case of Edmonds gun-storage law

In February, an appeals panel said state law pre-empts the city from enacting its own firearm rules.

Exterior of the Van Valey House on Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2021 in Everett, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Everett giving nonprofit museum historic Van Valey House

The Everett City Council agreed to transfer ownership of the Colby Avenue home on Wednesday night.

In this Sunday, Sept. 12, 2021 photo made available by SpaceX, from left, Chris Sembroski, Sian Proctor, Jared Isaacman and Hayley Arceneaux sit in the Dragon capsule at Cape Canaveral in Florida, during a dress rehearsal for the upcoming launch. The fully automated Dragon is the same kind that SpaceX uses to send astronauts to and from the International Space Station for NASA. But the chartered flight won't be going there. (SpaceX via AP)
Everett man launched into space for 3 days of orbiting Earth

Chris Sembroski and three others will soar 100 miles higher than the International Space Station.

Most Read