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Thursday, April 10, 2008

Misguided land-use

An interesting article was in the Seattle Times April 9th is titled "Misguided land-use regulations push middle class out of King County"
with information from the King County Annual Growth Report showing that...
"...the middle class is getting squeezed out...
what an additional $340,854 over 30 years could buy the average family:
• 4.27 four-year college degrees at the UW or 12.71 two-year degrees from Seattle Central Community College; and,
• 76 gallons of gas every month for 30 years; and,
• Seven years of health insurance; and,
• A latte every week for a year; and,
• 13 Metro ACCESS bus passes; and,
• Half the cost of a fitness membership for 30 years; or,
• An extra $1.7 million dollars for retirement.
Economists call this an "opportunity cost."

Other actions encouraged in this article include:
• "King County's new Permit Fee Task Force should find ways to streamline permitting and reduce costs;
• Executive Ron Sims should more fully analyze the market impacts of the new proposed Comprehensive Plan regulations he recently introduced to the King County Council;
• The city and county should adjust zoning codes to allow for more housing opportunities in urban centers.
Ultimately, most of the cost of land-use regulations stems from how local governments implement Washington's Growth Management Act (GMA). We urge the state Legislature and the governor to do a full cost-benefit assessment on the impacts of the GMA. We can protect our environmental quality of life without giving up the opportunity to own a home in reasonable proximity to our job.
Let's get a grip on our costs before we end up with no middle class at all."

Read the entire article at the Seattle Times

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