Lynnwood City Council proposes housing policy, celebrates police promotions

The Lynnwood City Council is considering development of a housing policy that would encourage the construction of more affordable housing for low- and moderate-income families. The official discussion for a possible city-wide policy began after the council ended its June 10 business meeting and then broke into an informal work session.

During the work session, the council decided it was time to begin defining what a housing policy in Lynnwood would look like. Council President Ben Goodwin said the implementation of a housing policy could help city staff address issues like homelessness and high-market-value housing in the city.

“There are some things we don’t do or can’t do, because we don’t have specific policies in place,” he said.

Currently, Lynnwood has no official policy requiring the city to accommodate affordable housing for low- and moderate-income families. In Seattle, for example, the Seattle Office of Housing works to increase housing opportunities through initiatives such as a voter-approved housing levy and incentive programs that encourage investors to develop and maintain affordable housing units.

With the Lynnwood Link light rail station opening in 2024, Councilmember George Hurst said an established housing policy would help to accommodate the city’s expected future population growth.

“If we don’t (develop a policy), it just won’t be a good future for Lynnwood,” he said. “We really have to have some control over how we look at housing.”

However, Council Vice President Christine Frizzell said that while more affordable housing may be needed in Lynnwood, the issue may be larger than a housing policy alone can fix. She pointed out that the city would also need developers willing to build quality homes and agree to rent them at affordable prices.

“What can we do to incentivize developers to build something that is truly affordable for the wonderful people of Lynnwood?” she asked.

Frizzell also suggested the council schedule a time to invite other external stakeholders, such as members of the city’s planning department and planning commission, to discuss a possible policy. The council will continue further discussion on the proposed housing policy at a later date to be determined.

In other business, the council unanimously voted to adopt an ordinance approving the city’s salary schedule for 2019. The ordinance included updated pay rates per the new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) between the city and the Teamsters Union.

The council also recognized three members of the Lynnwood Police Department who were promoted. Police Chief Tom Davis introduced Deputy Chief Rodney Cohnheim, Commander Cole Langdon and Sgt. Brian Jorgensen, and said their promotions were a milestone for the department.

“It makes a full transition to a leadership team in this community’s (police) department,” he said.

–Story and photos by Cody Sexton

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