Letter to the Editor: The LFP City Council is planning to bring multi-family housing to your neighborhood
To the Editor:
The [Lake Forest Park City] council is revising a Variance Ordinance entitled “Conservation Cluster Housing.” It would allow up to ten multi-family units to be built on single-family lots anywhere in LFP. This new ordinance, if allowed as written, will change the character of Lake Forest Park, decrease property values, invade privacy, increase traffic, create neighborhood parking problems and, most important, destroy the unique quality of life Lake Forest Park has provided to families for over 100 years. Look at your neighbors’ homes. How would you react to having them replaced with 3 or 10 two- story mini houses? Instead of living next door to one couple you would suddenly have 10 or 20 people next door. Is this density OK with you?
Why is the council creating this type of land use? For one thing, they state that it will allow multiple housing in exchange for 50% of the lot being set aside for permanent conservation, but the facts are that the setbacks currently in place do the exact same thing without allowing multiple housing. The current development setback requirements assure that conservation inside the setbacks is preserved. Increasing the density of people living on the same piece of ground increases the stress on the natural environment rather than preserving it.
The council also states that multiple houses will be affordable for first home families, for seniors wishing to downsize and will add diversity to the citizen base. The reality is that the estimated sale price will range between $450,000 to $650,000. Seniors wishing to downsize are not likely to buy a two-story home due to stairs, and we already enjoy a diverse, engaged citizen base of all ages, all ranges of incomes and good turnover of home sales for those wishing to live here.
The facts are that the neighboring property values will decline due to the high-density cluster housing dropped into the neighborhood. The conservation of critical areas is already in place and new regulations are redundant. Multiple housing can be achieved in the Town Center and in areas zoned (vs. a variance process) for multiple housing near transit lanes and community services.
A few key people on the council are promoting the push for multiple housing. There has been confusion and conflict on the council and the council chambers have been packed with citizens outraged over the imposition of this land use concept in their single-family neighborhoods.
For those citizens currently living in Lake Forest Park and those aspiring to move here to own a home in a nice community of neighborhoods where they can raise their family, it is important that their home investment and their purpose for residing here are not destroyed by the stroke of a pen in the hands of those who hold little understanding or regard for how beneficial it is to live here.
What makes Lake Forest Park unique is being a small community of single family neighborhoods nested in a park setting, close to needed services, protected by reliable police, fortunate in schools with talented teachers and citizens who appreciate the advantages created both by dedicated people serving as stewards of the land and by mother nature which gave us the terrain to enjoy.
The council, in its pursuit to increase density for new taxation purposes, has enacted legislation to meet its goals, not those of citizens. Sadly, their plan could change the character of community and quality of life for all of us. It is most important for LFP homeowners to address their concerns to the City Council. Unless we speak out we may lose what we enjoy most about living in Lake Forest Park.
Former LFP Council Members:
- Jack Tonkin
- Don Fiene
- Ned Lawson