Housing Action Plan
The City of Anacortes is developing a Housing Action Plan, described in RCW 36.70A.600(2), that will define strategies and actions that promote greater housing diversity, affordability, and access to opportunity for residents of all income levels.
Why a Housing Action Plan?
Housing affordability is a high priority for all residents of the City. While there have been discussions about housing policies at both the local and county-levels, a comprehensive local strategy with policies, regulations, and codes is needed. The Housing Action Plan will maximize existing policies, create strategies to fill needed gaps, and present a unified housing vision for the City today and beyond.
By developing a Housing Action Plan, the City will develop effective and achievable policy recommendations, based on a thorough housing needs assessment, supported by both city leadership and residents.
Resulting Housing Action Plan strategies will be used to further inform and develop the Housing Element of the Comprehensive Plan, which is required by State law to be revised in 2036.
The goal of the HAP will be to encourage construction of additional affordable and market rate housing in a greater variety of housing types and at prices accessible to a greater variety of incomes. This plan will include (but won’t be limited to) strategies aimed at the for-profit single-family home market.
To identify and develop the strategies and actions to address these opportunities, the City of Anacortes applied for and received a grant in the amount of $75,000 from the Washington State Department of Commerce (under E2SHB 1923). The City is working with Makers Architecture & Urban Design to create a well-developed plan.
Previous housing planning efforts:
- In 2016, the City Council adopted a new Housing Element of the City’s Comprehensive Plan. Those goals and policies will help establish the foundation for the Housing Action Plan's strategies and recommended actions.
- In 2017, the City Council adopted an Affordable Housing Strategic Plan, developed by the City Council Housing Affordability and Community Services Committee (“HACS”). HACS has been actively engaged throughout the Housing Action Plan process, collecting information from service providers and citizens to identify missing services. The Committee will work directly with the consultant to provide their findings and provide recommendations as appropriate.
Elements of the Housing Action Plan project:
To provide a Housing Action Plan which delivers effective and pertinent strategies and recommended actions, several vital elements need to be addressed. In addition to a balanced and functional document for use by the City, the Housing Action Plan will include specific items to satisfy grant requirements. The following are key elements:
- Existing Conditions and Housing Needs Analysis Report (will be included when complete): Identify demand for housing types among current population with a focus on special needs housing, supportive housing, and the needs of cost-burdened residents.
- Public Engagement Plan (will be included when complete): The Public Engagement Plan will include forums to receive valuable public input, working with the Housing Affordability & Community Services committee, interactive website, assembly of citizens and stakeholders to obtain input, and frequent staff presentations to the Planning Commission and City Council.
- Evaluation and Development of Policies and Tools for Increasing Housing Diversity: Investigate the specific strategies identified in the Comprehensive Plan Housing Element and the Affordable Housing Strategic Plan including inclusionary zoning and fee-in-lieu strategies, inventory of surplus public land, fee waivers/reductions, and review of permitted housing types and zoning standards.
- Housing Needs Assessment (will be included when complete): The Housing Needs Assessment is a comprehensive study of Anacortes's demographic and workforce profile, income, housing market supply and condition, and land capacity analysis. The Assessment's purpose is to examine all pertinent existing and projected data to identify housing trends, needs or gaps which would need to be addressed.
- Housing Action Plan (will be included when complete): The Action Plan combines and synthesizes all the information and proposes strategies and actions designed to meet and potentially satisfy the identified trends, needs, or gaps.
The following list includes the steps for Action 1 of the Deliverables outlined in the contract with Makers. January through June 2022 is the expected timeline for Steps 1.1-1.7
- 1.1 Analyze population and employment trends, with documentation of projections.
- 1.2 Quantify existing and projected housing needs for all income levels, including extremely low-income households, with documentation of housing and household characteristics, and cost-burdened households. Update analyses and findings from the draft Affordable Housing Strategic Plan with 2020 Census data.
- 1.3 Collect data on type, size, cost, and age of housing in the City. Collect data on rental properties (e.g., type, size, cost, and age) and percentage of housing stock. Include inventory of the Anacortes Housing Authority, Anacortes Family Center, and any Section 8 sites.
- 1.4 Review and evaluate the current housing element and other policies regarding housing, including an evaluation of success in attaining planned housing types and units, achievement of goals and policies, and implementation of the schedule of programs and actions.
- 1.5 review the effectiveness of current programs, development regulations and permitting processes related to housing development. Review quantity of new units built, and associated pricing data as available from housing built since the 2019 unified development code update.
- 1.6 Review land capacity analysis and review ability of existing zoning to provide for housing needs and all income brackets
- 1.7 Identify areas that may be at higher risk of displacement from market forces,
This list will be updated as the project moves forward. To see the full list, access the Scope of Work outlined in the contract between Makers and the City here.
For example, 30% of MFI is a $624 monthly payment or a $113,000 purchase price.