The April FlashVote survey by the City’s Planning and Development Services department designed to get input on housing issues in University Place garnered a 61 percent participation rate. Here is a look at the responses to the survey’s four questions:
Please rate how inexpensive or expensive you think housing is in University Place?
- Very Expensive – 42.0%
- Slightly Expensive -36.2%
- Neutral – 8.0%
- Very Inexpensive – 7.6%
- Slightly Inexpensive – 2.5%
- Not Sure – 3.6%
How should the City plan to accommodate the forecasted population growth? (Choose up to three)
- New single-family homes in existing neighborhoods – 47.2
- New accessory dwelling units (cottages, in-law units) in existing neighborhoods – 44.1%
- Larger multi-family developments along major streets – 34.3%
- The City should not plan to accommodate more people – 34.3%
- Small multi-family developments in existing single-family neighborhoods – 32.7%
- Other – 12.2%
The population in University Place is becoming older. What do you think are the best options for housing as you age? (Choose up to four)
- Stay in your existing single-family home – 64.7%
- Move to a smaller single-family home – 54.1%
- Move into an age restricted single-family or multi-family development – 40.8%
- Move into a condo or apartment building – 40.8%
- Move out of University Place – 29.0%
- Build (if necessary) and move into an accessory dwelling unit or cottage house on your property – 6.5%
- Move into an accessory dwelling unit or cottage house on someone else’s property – 16.5%
- Other – 10.2%
One solution to housing shortages and a?ordability is to allow “missing middle” housing, which is a range of multi-family or clustered housing types that are designed and scaled to be compatible with single-family neighborhoods. Examples include townhouses, cottage courtyards, and small multiplexes with between 4 and 8 units. Which of the following types of “missing middle” housing would you ?nd acceptable in your neighborhood, if any? (Choose all that apply)
- Duplex (2 units attached together in one building) – 55.1%
- Cottage Courtyard (up to 8 cottages arranged around a common courtyard) – 5.3%
- Townhouses with up to 8 units attached – 31.5%
- None of these – 30.7%
- Triplex (3 units attached) – 22.0%
- Fourplex (4 units attached) – 19.7%
- Multiplex apartments with up to 8 units – 9.4%
David Swindale, the City’s director of Planning and Development Services, said that prior to the survey, 20,000 postcards were sent to residents in two zip codes requesting comments on the Housing Action Plan. Residents were also invited to request hard copies of the HAP if they did not have internet access.
?“We received 15 requests for hard copies of the HAP and I have also received several emails with comments in addition to the survey comments,” Swindale said. “We’ve also seen numerous hits on the City’s Housing Action Plan web page. This level of citizen engagement is encouraging and will be considered as we move forward.”
Townhouses please! Lower income, affordable housing units, not townhouses that will be priced “starting at $375K”!
The average unit should be no less than 1100 sq ft, have 3 bedrooms and 1.5 bathrooms, a two vehicle garage, and a courtyard area of green space or small individual patio/courtyard areas between the home and the stand alone row of garages.
This concept of row homes or town homes has been in use and highly successful all across the United States. Regionally, it can be seen in Lacey and Vancouver, Washington Even Tacoma about 15 years ago knew to attract builders of these units and offer low barriers to build or own eg. repurpose city owned land, offer publicly backed low interest, zero down mortgages to lower income applicants, property tax abatements for builders and future owners.
The lack of comprehensive community planning and land use future growth planning has hit North Pierce County hard. Get smart community leaders and Pierce County Council members – promote and make haste to attract builders that will use currently unutilized city/county lands to build low income, affordable, safe, livable family friendly townhome communities.
This is not just necessary in University Place, but also in Lakewood, Tacoma, Puyallup and smaller places in between. Townhomes will generate more property tax income per land used than the currently still being allowed and build big box single family homes. Townhomes will get more residents to literally be invested in each community – not be transient renters. This is good for each community and for the families in these communities that are at risk of becoming unhoused due to the immense cost of shelter in North Pierce County.