City Council extends cottage housing moratorium

  • Blair Wilson<br>Enterprise writer
  • Monday, March 3, 2008 6:43am

SHORELINE — The City Council voted 6-0 to approve the extension of the six-month cottage housing moratorium at a July 18 meeting. Council member Paul Grace was absent from the meeting.

The extension was recommended to the Council to allow the Planning Commission to hear all public comments and offer additional alternatives.

“If the Planning Commission feels they need more time, I think we should give it to them,” said Council member Bob Ransom.

The use, location and design of cottage houses are three key pieces that need consideration, Council member Rich Gustafson said.

The meeting included a public hearing in which approximately 10 residents addressed the issue.

“Today cottage housing is no more welcome than before,” said Bronston Kenney. “The large majority of homeowners in Shoreline recognize cottage housing for what it is … a crude gimmick to violate one of the most fundamental elements of zoning, density. I support the extension only as the alternative to letting the moratorium expire.”

The density issue is among the list of concerns expressed to the Council. Increased traffic, development size, distance between developments and off-site parking have all been mentioned by citizens as concerns.

Leslie Addis felt citizen concerns must not only be heard, but addressed.

“Such issues cannot be resolved by simply tinkering around the edges of the existing cottage housing ordinance, to use that wonderful old phrase, in my view, that’s just like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic,” she said.

Addis would also like to see “preservation of the integrity and the quality of life in our single family neighborhoods. Shoreline has beautiful neighborhoods and we want to see them stay in tact.”

La Nita Whacker urged the Council to disregard the Planning Commission’s recommendation.

“We have an excellent cottage housing ordinance,” she said. “In your file there is not one single objection from any person who lives in a cottage house.

“During this year-long moratorium you have put a stranglehold on the market… denying buyers the right to buy their homes,” Whacker said. “Zoning is the police power of the state. You as the elected leaders in this community must provide housing for a diverse community.”

Cottage housing requires a conditional use permit in certain residential areas, with regulations identified in the city’s development code. The ordinance expires Feb. 19, 2006.

Enterprise editor Brooke Fisher contributed to this article.

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