Northwest NEWS

March 1, 1999

Front Page

Kenmore City Council addresses affordable housing, parks, school fees

   by John Phelps

   The Kenmore City Council held its regular meeting Monday, Feb. 22, followed by a study session.

   Mark Thonetz of DASH (Downtown Action to Save Housing) and Len Brannen of Shelter Resources (a for-profit corporation) spoke to the Council about their proposal to build a 107-unit housing project between 181st NE and 182nd Streets west of the police precinct. This project would have 46 units of affordable housing and would later include a separate building with 51 units for independent elderly housing. Both projects would share street access, parking facilities, public open space, and possible community meeting facilities.

   The partnership of DASH and Shelter Resources is seeking a letter from the City Council indicating that the proposed location has been targeted by the city for affordable housing therefore enabling them to receive an allocation of tax credits from the Housing Finance Commission. In addition, they hope to receive below-market rate loans from King County and the Washington State Housing Trust Fund.

   Although DASH is funded by contributions from several Washington cities, Kenmore has not yet donated to the organization. But the other contributing cities are willing to build low-income housing in Kenmore because they feel affordable housing is a regional concern and that people do not necessarily live and work in the same city. For that reason, DASH is willing to locate affordable housing in Kenmore.

   Kenmore is considered an ideal location for high-density housing because of pre-existing King County Building Codes. The housing project was begun before Kenmore incorporated. The Kenmore City Council will study this matter at their next study session on March 1.

   In further business, Kenmore is negotiating with the Northshore School District to have them collect School Impact Fees directly and free the city from the financial accounting involved. Currently, the school district performs this service for other Northshore cities including Bothell. These fees are levied by the school district and used for the construction of new buildings.

   Kenmore has engaged John Webley to coordinate the transition of six King County parks located in the city to the Kenmore Park System. This includes both local and regional parks. Webley was formerly director of Parks and Recreation for Renton, parks superintendent for the City of Yakima, and the deputy director of parks for King County and has handled the transition process for several new cities.

   The city and county have yet to determine which parks are local and should be maintained by Kenmore and which are regional and should be the responsibility of the county.