Gross: Candidate fights for Bothell’s ‘character’ after state’s housing density law

Sep 8, 2023, 6:19 PM

Image: A school sign is seen at Bothell High School on Feb. 27, 2020 in Bothell, Washington....

A school sign is seen at Bothell High School on Feb. 27, 2020 in Bothell, Washington. (Photo: David Ryder, Getty Images)

(Photo: David Ryder, Getty Images)

A Bothell City Council candidate is fighting to keep the city accommodating for single-family homes.

Mark Swanson, who is running for the city council seat in Position 4, has a platform centered around the housing density crisis. Bothell’s downtown once had a charming small-town feel. But it has since taken been overridden with cookie cutter apartments.

“If people haven’t been here in Bothell, for the last three or four years, they’d be absolutely surprised at how the essential character and nature of Bothell has been partly destroyed. And as shocking as it is now, they’ve only just begun,” Swanson told the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH.

State legislation backed by several Democrat lawmakers is one of the driving forces behind this issue.

House Bill 1110 was crafted with the intended purpose “to create more homes for Washington by increasing middle housing in areas traditionally dedicated to single family detached housing.”

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The bill had bipartisan support. However, several conservatives in the state legislature were opposed to the measure. Rep. Jim Walsh (R-Aberdeen) was one of 18 people who voted against it in the House.

“One-size-fits-all zoning policies don’t serve the people’s best interests,” Walsh told the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH. “Ultimately, they’re bad for housing inventory. For development. For property values. For everyone.”

This legislation is attacking the personality of Washington’s unique communities. On top of that, these high-priced luxury apartments do little to help with the housing crisis in King County and across the state.

Complexes in the downtown core offer rent starting at $1,800 for a one bedroom space. That is higher than the median rent price for a one bedroom in King County by $200, according to RentData.org.

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Swanson says this law goes in direct conflict with part of the city’s vision statement as well. One of the city’s values is to “convey a single family residential character while offering a range of housing types and prices.”

The City of Bothell is not responsible for the passage of HB 1110. However, officials seem to more than happy to watch large scale apartment buildings be erected.

“One of the people I met (has) lived in the same house since he was born in 1955,” Swanson said. “They built a five-story apartment that turns their backyard into a fishbowl. Well, that can’t happen. It’s got to end.”

Swanson also argues that these structures not aesthetically pleasing and are bad for the environment.

Bothell has already declared its intent. The city and state have shown they have more allegiance to corporate landlords than longtime residents and homeowners.

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Gross: Candidate fights for Bothell’s ‘character’ after state’s housing density law