Whitten goes off the deep end on affordable housing

It was a perplexing comment in The Sammamish Review profile of Nancy Whitten, seeking election to her third term on the City Council.

Here’s the bizarre portion of the article:

Whitten said she is also concerned about Town Center’s requirement that 10 percent of a development’s housing units be “affordable,” in that they can be rented by a family with an annual income of about $54,000. Having grown up in Chicago, she points to the infamous Cabrini-Green public housing project as an example of the downfalls of clustering affordable housing together.

“I question, socially, if we want to pack that much affordable housing in that small of an area,” she said.

I, too, am from Chicago (the Western suburbs) and know well the history of Cabrini Green. In the heart of Chicago, the place was a notorious housing project owned and operated by the City–not privately-owned units administered by a local organization like Seattle’s Arch. It was a densely-packed project for thousands of people of low income.

Chicago’s Cabrini Green. This is no Sammamish.

The affordable housing plan for Sammamish is a required 10% of the 2,000 units throughout the Town Center (with an option to go up to 20% of any given project), and families would have an average income of $54,000–which in their dreams, nobody residing in Cabrini-Green remotely made (except through illicit activities, perhaps).

The Chicago Housing Authority so mis-managed the “projects,” as it was known, and crime was so rampant, that the projects were eventually torn down.

Sammamish’s affordable housing plan doesn’t bear the slightest resemblance to Cabrini-Green, and Whitten knows it.

In fact, the Town Center Plan doesn’t even remotely resemble the one once advanced by the Lake Washington School District, which owns 15 acres in the Town Center (not all of which is buildable). LWSD once proposed 144 units on this site, all of which would be affordable, for professions like teachers, police officers and fire fighters. Insofar as the proposal came very early in the Comprehensive Plan process, it was deemed premature and LWSD withdrew the plan.

The Town Center plan calls for a minimum of 200 and a maximum of 400 units, scattered throughout the 100 buildable acres.

What is Whitten thinking?

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One Response to Whitten goes off the deep end on affordable housing

  1. Bert says:

    It wan’t the housing authority mis-management that made the Cabrini project a mess, it was the animals who lived there that did that.
    Why isn’t your neighborhood a disaster, because of City Hall management? Go to any big city inner city neighborhood – city mis-management makes it unsafe for the good people that live there, not the 10% low life’s that terrorize the rest?
    Check out the police blotter and tell me where the highest car break-ins are in Sammamish… maybe the rental apartments? Wonder why… city mis-management?
    You’re right, it’s a bad analogy comparing Cabrini to low income housing in Sammamish, especially since $54000 a year doesn’t sound like low income to me.

    So, what’s the point of a city dictating what a builder has to build?

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