Some Seattle houseboat owners worrying about evictionon October 23, 2012 @ 2:58 pm (Updated: 4:30 pm - 10/23/12 )
There are about 500 floating homes like the one made famous by the film "Sleepless in Seattle," which are fixed in place, hooked up to the sewer and regulated by Seattle's Department of Planning and Development.
About 150 others however, are skirting city oversight by calling themselves boats, DPD spokesman Bryan Stevens tells Ross and Burbank.
"Some have just put outboard motors on the back of their floating home type structure and said hey I'm a boat and therefore I'm not regulated," Stevens says.
Stevens says the 300 pages of new regulations are being proposed in response to the state Department of Ecology's order for all cities to update their shoreline guidelines and balance between recreation, business and residential uses.
"You need to balance the type of uses you want to see there the type of uses that need to be there in order to operate versus the uses that want to be there," he says.
Stevens says the new rules will prohibit any new floating homes, and the city will force those that don't comply to move.
"Living on the water is a very attractive thing, we need to manage that," he says. "We have approximately 150 of these potentially illegal houseboats in addition to the floating homes that we have in the city so it could be 150 today, it could be 500 more tomorrow [if we don't act]."
"So, what are we gonna do?" asks John Chaney, Vice President of the Lake Union Liveaboard Association, in an interview with KING 5. "Are we gonna float away somewhere else? Will our vessels be worthless? We have mortgages. This is where we live."
A city council committee will discuss the proposed new regulations at a meeting October 26.
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