-Sign the petition to protect Seattle houseboats from wasteful regulation now -
Seattle's Department of Planning and Development has been in the process of changing regulations to limit the number of houseboats in Seattle for some time now. Â Repeated reviews by the Lake Union community have created great criticism for the proposed regulations, but it seems that each new revision by the DPD takes one step forward and one step back.
Seattle's DPD believes that houseboats:
- Displace recreational vessels while marinas are at capacity
- Represent an environmental hazard with their liveaboard residents
As a real estate broker who has worked in Lake Union communities for years, the suggestion that houseboats are even a significant portion of the vessels on Lake Union is the first miscalculation by the DPD. Â There are many large "floating home" communities on Lake Union, but these are permanently-affixed homes with regular city electric, water, and sewer service. Â Floating homes, sailboats, and cruising vessels (with V-shaped hulls) dwarf the number of actualÂ move-ableÂ "houseboats" on the lake.
More importantly, there is no shortage of marina availability. Â TheÂ Lake Union Liveaboard AssociationÂ recently did aÂ study on the number of slip vacancies in Seattle:
- In the summer (the busiest season of the year), 24% of slips were vacant
- There are 9,790 slips in the Seattle shoreline management area
- 113 slips are occupied by houseboats (1.15%)
The DPD has decided that the shape of a vessel will determine whether or not it will fall under the new regulations. Â Clearly, this does not have the intended effect that was stated in the group's goals. Â There are far more sailboats and cabin cruisers with liveaboard residents on the lake than houseboats. Â If the goal is to evict a houseboat with a regtangular-shaped hull (the definition the DPD has for a houseboat currently), they can simply be replaced by liveaboard V-shaped vessels, and likely will be. Â There will be no effect on marina availability.
DPD is effectively spending hundreds of thousand of dollars on a campaign to remove a tiny number of houseboats, which will have no net gain for Lake Union, save for a gain in liveaboard sailboats. Â To be frank, there are a small number of DPD members have become so focused on houseboats that these new regulations have become their personal crusade. Â The politics have locked those involved into such set positions that they can no longer see the big picture.
The Seattle city council is now tasked with reviewing DPD's recommendations and taking a more pragmatic view. Â If we look at the DPD's stated goals, the new regulations against houseboats will clearly not achieve them. Â They will, however, create enormous legal and financial hurdles for a small portion of Lake Union's residents.
Houseboat owners can't afford to fight this legal battle on their own, and the city shouldn't burden them with it.Â The new regulations don't help the city, local marinas, or the local environment. Â At the very least, the city should grandfather in those houseboats which already reside on Lake Union and have been a part of the community since the city was first settled.
Let Mayor McGinn and the Seattle city council know that you support the historic houseboat community on Lake Union.
Sign the petition, and share it on Facebook.
Â©Â Seattle Homes, LLC: - Sam DeBord, Managing Broker, Realtor
Coldwell Banker Seattle: Coldwell Banker Danforth & Associates
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