Monday, July 15, 2024

Leavenworth Housing Advisory Committee and Mayor seek help from Rep. Steele

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LEAVENWORTH—On June 27, the Housing Advisory Committee (HAC) drafted and signed a letter to State Representative Mike Steele requesting more assistance in solving Leavenworth’s housing affordability challenges. The letter precedes a meeting between Mayor Carl J. Florea and Rep. Steele that is anticipated for mid-July.

The letter opened by commending Rep. Steele on his work to address affordable housing challenges in tourist-dependent municipalities and emphasizing the HAC’s commitment to finding workforce housing solutions.

“We are reaching out to you to seek your valuable input and perspective on how communities like Leavenworth can support bills aimed at creating a funding stream for workforce housing. We are aware of Washington State Bill 5334, which has significant support, but we will need more to be enacted. We also recognize that the alternative approaches and solutions may exist and we welcome your insight something like this could entail,” HAC Chair Justin Horvath read from the letter. 

ESSB 5334, which would allow local jurisdictions to impose an excise tax on short-term rentals to generate affordable housing funds, passed through the Senate, but stalled out in the House earlier this year.

The letter called for more action to promote affordable housing, with the HAC adding, “We would like to hear your ideas and see your advocacy and advancing legislation to address this critical issue.” The HAC requested a meeting with Rep. Steele to discuss actionable options.

“I’m glad you’re sending this now because I've got a scheduled meeting in mid-July and I want him to have this ahead of time….Because he’s heard it from me before,” said Mayor Florea during the meeting.

The HAC began meeting in February of this year to review and make recommendations to the City Council on housing topics such as how to spend city funds devoted to supporting housing, reviewing development projects requesting city funds, and exploring infrastructure improvements that support housing.

Taylor Caldwell: 509-433-7276 or taylor@ward.media

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