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Meeting about housing development next week

Vashon-Maury Island Beachcomber - 3/14/2019

The first of several planned quarterly public meetings to discuss a proposed affordable housing development south of town will be held at 7 p.m. next Thursday, March 21, at the Methodist Church.

The project, called Island Center Homes, is intended to serve 40 people, including seniors and those who are homeless or disabled. Welcomed by some, the project has also has been met with opposition from other islanders because of concerns over density and water use.

Vashon HouseHold is developing the project in response to community need, according to Executive Director Chris Szala.

"The biggest thing it does is it will help reduce a wait list we have of well over 100 people," he said.

He added that King County recognized the need for an affordable housing facility on Vashon as well and combined several funding sources to award the agency $3.1 million for the project last December. The full cost of the project is expected to be about $6.3 million.

Island Center Homes will consist of five energy-efficient, residential-style buildings, each with four micro-units — at approximately 330 square feet — on the lower and upper levels of the two-story buildings. Szala said that several of the units will be made larger to accommodate residents with wheelchairs. Every unit will have a private bathroom, sink, small refrigerator and microwave, and each building in the complex will feature a common area with full kitchen, laundry and gathering space.

"I know with this project, at least for a few people, there have been questions and comments, and we just want to keep in touch with everybody," said Szala.

The 1.32-acre parcel where Island Center Homes is proposed is zoned for up to eight housing units per acre and is alloted five water units from Water District 19. The project will include a rain bank system to use runoff water for flushing toilets and irrigation.

Szala invited other interested island agencies and community groups to email him at or call the agency at 206-463-6454 for questions or to arrange a private discussion.

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