I am firmly convinced that the proposed Wright’s Crossing development is not only a devastating agricultural and environmental concern, and an overload on our roads and infrastructure, but also is not an apt proposal for affordable housing, which we do need. The proposed price frames are out of reach for folks in need of affordable housing. Affordable housing is not single family dwellings.
I am disappointed in the City of Oak Harbor, the mayor and the city council, for not having been pro-active with this need and for not being willing to consider options for a real solution.
I would like to share a few of the actions that the City of Bellingham is taking to address similar concerns:
• The city provides road, water and sewer to allow new housing to be built as well as incentives for both residential and commercial buildings.
• The city is the steward of the Bellingham Home Fund, which provides dollars for low-income housing construction, rehabilitation of existing low-income housing and services to help people stay in their homes.
• Council members have convened a work group on the continuum of housing with the goal to make recommendations for the Cities Consolidated Plan and a potential new housing levy.
• The city council has been discussing affordable housing, including hosting a town hall meeting and conducting a series of planning committee work sessions on residential rental barriers.
• Living-wage jobs are essential and the city works to support businesses to help them succeed.
There’s more, but this provides a glimpse of what a city’s role and responsibilities include. I encourage the City of Oak Harbor and all of our Island communities, to adopt such a direction for the welfare of those in need, and to intelligently address growth while protecting what it is we love about our island.