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Old 03-03-2018, 10:39 AM
 
Location: State of Transition
86,970 posts, read 80,304,025 times
Reputation: 89976

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Quote:
Originally Posted by xPlorer48 View Post
Do you live here? If you do, then perhaps you are not aware of the friction between the pro-D-ADU crowd and those against. Bellingham has okayed A-ADUs which are attached rooms to existing houses in all neighborhoods. What the current SJWs on the city council now want is to make the detached variety legal in all neighborhoods. Some neighborhoods like Happy Valley (although not all residents) are in favor and want to be a pilot project. Other neighborhoods are saying, whoa, not so fast. We want to determine what we will allow in our own area. Back in 2009, the city okayed the attached dwelling units but demurred in the detached variety and promised that they would not be a part of the infill tool kit. Now, councilwoman April Barker is saying that those who own single family homes are “privileged”. BS.

People don’t want a 20’ tall 800 square foot building that will shadow their garden or invade their privacy. These also add more traffic, need more parking, remove trees and natural areas and add more people and noise to our already crowded neighborhoods. They also destroy the character of these neighborhoods and if you haven’t lived here then you wouldn’t understand.
I wasn't talking about detached units. Seattle didn't approve that; it approved ADU's in attached rooms or basements. So, apparently B'ham already allows that, so I'm not sure what the problem is, then. I'm from Berkeley, where the detached unit thing took off like gangbusters long ago, illegally, because of the skyrocketing property values there. People did illegal conversions (billed as "remodels") of small 1-car garages on their property, into expanded two-story duplexes.

B'ham is a long way away from such an extreme situation, such a huge disparity between wages and property taxes, as the Bay Area, even in the 80's and 90's. But you're right that the issue of detached units is a very tricky one, and shouldn't be rushed into. If you want to see the extremes to which homeowners will go with such units, take a stroll around Berkeley streets. I don't think this is a road you want to go down, unless there are restrictions on height, percentage of the lot taken up (to avoid overcrowding) and other considerations (parking).
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Old 03-03-2018, 12:55 PM
 
Location: Forest bathing
2,384 posts, read 1,433,239 times
Reputation: 5282
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruth4Truth View Post
I wasn't talking about detached units. Seattle didn't approve that; it approved ADU's in attached rooms or basements. So, apparently B'ham already allows that, so I'm not sure what the problem is, then. I'm from Berkeley, where the detached unit thing took off like gangbusters long ago, illegally, because of the skyrocketing property values there. People did illegal conversions (billed as "remodels") of small 1-car garages on their property, into expanded two-story duplexes.

B'ham is a long way away from such an extreme situation, such a huge disparity between wages and property taxes, as the Bay Area, even in the 80's and 90's. But you're right that the issue of detached units is a very tricky one, and shouldn't be rushed into. If you want to see the extremes to which homeowners will go with such units, take a stroll around Berkeley streets. I don't think this is a road you want to go down, unless there are restrictions on height, percentage of the lot taken up (to avoid overcrowding) and other considerations (parking).
Take a look at Ballard. Bellingham neighborhoods have seen what can happen to a once livable neighborhood. And, because WWU hasn’t built student housing in decades so now we get soulless brick rabbit warrens blocking views (State street and N. Forest). At least, this may free up housing for those who are apartment hunting. But, since the landlords who are in the rooming house business where they put 2 students to a room won’t give up their cash cow and WWU plans to add more students, that probably will be a temporary solution.
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Old 03-27-2018, 03:01 PM
 
Location: Embarrassing, WA
2,180 posts, read 1,553,327 times
Reputation: 2505
I have to argue that Bellingham is a long ways from an extreme wage/cost of living disparity. We do not have the income potential of Seattle or California here, so our "ratio" is nearly the same or even worse.....an average home costs 8-9x the average family income when general mortgage guidelines are only 3-1/2X that income from responsible lenders.
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Old 04-02-2018, 04:54 PM
 
Location: Embarrassing, WA
2,180 posts, read 1,553,327 times
Reputation: 2505
[b]A link, if I may, to a local newspaper article on housing costs. Please note, that we already have nearly double the % of the population in rentals compared to the national average and apparently it's on track to get even worse.

Whatcom housing rental rates rising faster than Seattle's | The Bellingham Herald

"The median rental rate in Whatcom County was $1,623 a month in February, a 5.6 percent increase compared to a year ago, according to a new report from Zillow.com. Seattle's median rent rose 4.9 percent to $2,204 a month.

Rental rate increases are actually slowing down in Seattle and the Bellingham metro area, but Seattle is slowing down at a faster rate, said Skylar Olsen, a Zillow senior economist.

"Seattle renters are exhausted by poor rental affordability and are looking for alternative, more affordable places to live," Olsen said. "And that could be Bellingham."

While Seattle residents may see Bellingham rents as a deal, they need to consider Whatcom salaries. In the fall of 2017, the average weekly wage in Whatcom County was $858, while in King County it was $1,626, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Olsen expects rent in Whatcom County to continue rising in the coming months, but at a slower pace than recent years. With mortgage interest rates expected to keep rising this year, it could further price people out of buying a home, creating more demand for rentals. Housing inventory for buyers also remains low, keeping some would-be buyers in rental units.

Zillow estimates the Bellingham neighborhoods with the highest year-over-year rental rate increases are Cornwall Park (up 9.2 percent in the past year), Columbia (up 8 percent) and Alabama Hill (up 7.9 percent).
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Old 04-09-2018, 12:01 PM
 
Location: Embarrassing, WA
2,180 posts, read 1,553,327 times
Reputation: 2505
Some new information is out, from a realtors post on average sale prices of homes for February 2018. For the first time in history, the average tipped over the $500K mark.
New information collected on the part of what is now being called a housing crisis, found that the housing costs have become so disconnected from income that only the top 13% wage earners can afford a median priced home here. This is getting pretty ridiculous.
Positions like Nurses, Professors, Teachers, and other higher level professions shouldn't be priced out of a home here.
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Old 10-14-2018, 01:43 PM
 
115 posts, read 264,467 times
Reputation: 167
2018 Bellingham...it's a ultra-liberal college town that would make San Francisco blush. Legal pot, bars, and alternative lifestyles are the centerpiece. The secondary deal is a large retirement community of mostly Californian ex-civil servants.

Western Washington University is comparable to Evergreen State College except in a much smaller town. Its influence is greater because of the smaller city setting.

If you aren't in education, medicine, or a bum, it has nothing for you. The high real estate and rental prices are being driven up by out-of-town buyers who see this town as an investment opportunity. They're slum lords, make no mistake.

The city is finally authorizing large apartment complexes to be built, but many of those are low income. The liberals love it, but don't live in them. The low income housing is driving up crime rates exponentially. Compare the crime rates using City-Data. Bellingham is less safe than Los Angeles.

Many homes are for sale. Why are they for sale is the question you should be asking. 7000 homes were sold (Zillow) this year in a town of 90,000 souls.
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Old 10-14-2018, 04:33 PM
 
Location: Out West
463 posts, read 296,079 times
Reputation: 1119
Baldy, I'm curious where you get your data. Zillow shows a total of 2,714 home sales (including homes, lots, condos and townhomes) over the previous 12 month. The 7000 figure goes back several years. Northwest Multiple Listing Service shows something just north of 3,100 total home sales in 2017. These figures include, by the way, several hundred new homes, condos, etc.

For each one of these sales there was a willing buyer who is choosing to move to, or remain in Bellingham. Some of the sales were local residents upsizing to a newer/larger home, or downsizing in retirement.

We currently own two properties into which we have poured thousands of dollars to improve, using local tradespeople, mom and pop businesses and materials. The condo we own got $10,000 in improvements this summer, and multiple applicants were jumping at the chance to live there. Once we have tenants in a place we rarely raise the rent, address all issues immediately and our tenants typically remain with us for many years. So I take exception to being generalized as a slum lord.
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Old 10-15-2018, 12:32 PM
 
Location: Embarrassing, WA
2,180 posts, read 1,553,327 times
Reputation: 2505
I agree, you can't classify every landlord as a slumlord, but with the lack of housing the trend is families out and students in. Even on my street, I've noticed a trend(cancer) happening to family homes, first a garage/estate sale, then the house for sale, moving van in driveway, sign says "sold", front lawn is converted to more gravel driveway, soon it's for rent, then driveway and street parking is full of cars. Of course we don't like it and aren't going to look at these landlords in a positive light, how would you like it if your neighbors did this and all of the sudden instead of a family you've got 8 students crammed into the house next door, coming and going at all hours, street parking all filled up with cars, noise, parties, etc?

Theft and violent crime is up. A man with a long rap sheet of drugs and violence punched a woman, stabbed another man, and then *murdered* a retired City of Bellingham water department worker walking the trail by Whatcom creek.
This man was living in state subsidized housing.

https://www.bellinghamherald.com/new...219643470.html

https://www.bellinghamherald.com/new...219789370.html
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Old 10-15-2018, 12:41 PM
 
Location: State of Transition
86,970 posts, read 80,304,025 times
Reputation: 89976
Quote:
Originally Posted by rkcarguy View Post
I agree, you can't classify every landlord as a slumlord, but with the lack of housing the trend is families out and students in. Even on my street, I've noticed a trend(cancer) happening to family homes, first a garage/estate sale, then the house for sale, moving van in driveway, sign says "sold", front lawn is converted to more gravel driveway, soon it's for rent, then driveway and street parking is full of cars. Of course we don't like it and aren't going to look at these landlords in a positive light, how would you like it if your neighbors did this and all of the sudden instead of a family you've got 8 students crammed into the house next door, coming and going at all hours, street parking all filled up with cars, noise, parties, etc?
This happened in Berkeley, in the neighborhoods near campus, the east side of campus in particular. But Berkeley survived. Now, co-op housing has been built to prevent the problem from taking over more of the city. The city's main problem has been, rather, the takeover of the City Council by junior Marxists from the 70's onward, who don't support local merchants (not realizing that their pay comes from business taxes to a great extent), and allow crime to take place on the sidewalks in the main commercial areas near campus.
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Old 10-15-2018, 03:19 PM
 
Location: Bellingham, WA
1,249 posts, read 1,340,123 times
Reputation: 2325
Bellingham in 2018: Like other desirable and scenic towns its size around the country (Asheville, Missoula, Flagstaff, Boulder, Bend, etc. etc.) it faces certain challenges- like a lack of affordable housing, lack of high-paying jobs, and homelessness. As evidenced by some of the posters on the thread, though, it clearly continues to be an apparent kryptonite of sorts to some conservatives and/or longtime residents, who preferred industrial explosions, low real estate values, large, dilapidated sections of town, and smelling like a pulp mill to today's climate. Yes, those were the days.
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