At the moment, Larry Farr is the sole candidate for the Ward 3 council seat to have responded to my emails. He has spoken to me on several occasions at Samish Neighborhood meetings and appears interested and engaged. I have had no response from Barry Buchanan on this issue. Perhaps he would like to respond now.
I received the following from Candidate Farr on 7/25/2007. He is responding to the concerns of a resident of the Samish Neighborhood whose questions appear below in light green italics. Mr. Farr's comments are in blue italics.
“Currently there is a code on the books to protect the integrity of the single family neighborhood from group/rooming houses, put there by the city council. The city administration now claims it is unenforceable and refuses to do anything. My neighborhood (R1 zoned, single family residential) is being destroyed with rooming houses and a clean and safe house. Property values are dropping (who will knowing moved their family next to a rooming/group house), long term neighbors are putting their homes up for sale to get away. When you have a group of folks moving into a neighborhood who have no interest, loyalty or ownership in a neighborhood, its apparent what happens. In many cases animal house
Question is: What will you do as a city administrator to protect the integrity of the single family zoned neighborhood?
Thank you for allowing me to better explain the question. I will await your response. Good luck on your campaign.”
(Note Mr. Farr’s response begins here.)
"In response, the quick answer is, that we must protect the integrity of the single family zoned neighborhoods unless the neighborhoods provide input into where this should/could be changed. This is your neighborhood and you purchased your property in an area zoned for single family residents – the only way this should change is if you provide input into this change. Without your approval as a neighborhood, the residential zoning should not be changed.
Now the longer answer… that goes after your situation.
Each neighborhood is currently zoned for a specific purpose and density. Your neighborhood was zoned R1 residential for the reason of (and I am just guessing at this point) when it was laid out the specific lot size minimums and maximums were established and put into law that this would be a residential area for the current and future use. Any changes or exceptions to the current code would require, (as established by the code itself), that a conditional use permit be sought and obtained by due process. The conditional use permit process includes having neighborhood input to seek the desires of the neighbors who live in the area and are impacted by the change.
(Here is the code statement showing the process)
Changes in the boundaries, general use type (also called the "zone" in BMC 20.00), use qualifier or density of each "Area" shall be considered through the rezone procedure in BMC 21.10. Changes in permitted uses and/or density rules that modify the general use type, use qualifier or density shall be considered a rezone, regardless of the topic category in which they appear in the BMC 20.00. All other amendments to BMC 20.00 shall be considered through the development regulation amendment procedure in BMC 21.10.
- to see if there was a conditional use permit in place,
- how was this process determined
- and if the neighborhood were informed
Hope that answers a bit for you, if not, then fire me back another question.
We should not confuse enforcement of the single family zoning code with compliance with the Fair Housing Act, a federal statute which speaks to housing for the disabled and includes those recovering from substance abuse. As unnerving and irritating as it may be, such group homes may appear on your block without warning and there is precious little you can do. See http://www.mrsc.org/Subjects/Legal/gathe.aspx for additional information. Nor is the issue that of in-home businesses, which the city seems to be able to enforce occasionally, as far as I have been able to determine. A complaint I registered with the city regarding such a business in a home on my street was promptly and effectively acted upon and the business was shut down. The issue remains non-enforcement of the single family zoning code. I “hounded” the last mayor on the subject and was told that my only recourse was a civil suit (on my dime, of course) based on some poorly written covenants on the properties on my street. Most homes in