Poulsbo to convert 2 parcels of land into affordable housing

The Poulsbo City Council voted Wednesday night in favor of a resolution that would allow affordable housing to be built on two parcels of city-owned property.

The properties are located at 609 NE Lincoln Road, better known as “the triangle” just west of the Gateway Fellowship Church. The second property would be the Klingle Natural Area near Betty Iverson Kiwanis Park.

The city intends to retain ownership of both properties but will lease it to any public or private entity committed to building and managing both long-term and transitional affordable housing there.

“The triangle” is an area that was formerly used by the city public works crew as a staging area during major weather and community events. Now that there is a new Public Works facility the space is largely left unused. It does, however, come with its share of problems particularly with regard to easements and utilities. The Klingle property also comes with its own set of issues, Mayor Becky Erickson said.

“The property is about eight acres but only a small portion can actually be developed due to surrounding wetlands,” she said.

The Klingle property had been for sale for over a year, but due to the wetlands as well as the costs of removing existing buildings and lack of sewer connections made it less desirable to develop.

Kim Hendrickson, director of the Housing, Health and Human Services Committe, said that raising money will be difficult due to the city’s budget issues due to impacts of COVID-19.

“Raising money in this environment will be difficult, I don’t doubt that,” Hendrickson said.

Fortunately, the city may get funds from Senate House Bill 1406, which could at the very least cover the cost of design plans for potential contractors.

SHB 1406 passed in May 2019 and encourages cities to invest in affordable housing through collected sales taxes it shares with the state.

The city’s newest resolution was brought forward by Hendrickson and the Affordable Housing Task Force, which was created in February. The goal of the task force was to make recommendations to the city on addressing the lack of affordable housing in Poulsbo.

Task force recommendations include providing housing for those in need of shelter for one to 30 days, creation of short term/transitional housing, and creation of long-term housing for the chronically homeless and adults incapable of living independently.

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