← More Issues

Housing and Development

There's nothing more important than one's home—a person's home is their castle (in my neighborhod...literally). Because I'm a land use attorney and certified land use planner, I understand how land use plans and regulations can help shape our city and our housing market. It's why I pushed hard to fully involve our community in shaping our Comprehensive Plan in 2016.

It's important to note my campaign is people-powered—unlike others, I've not taken a single dime from big developers or construction companies.

Core Values

The Problem

Housing prices in Anacortes continue to rise, pricing many families out of the market. Home values are up 18% over last year and are expected to go up another 7% in the next year. The average home price in Anacortes is $600,000, double what it was ten years ago. Across the county, vacancy rates are near zero, meaning almost no housing at all is available.

Childcare facilities have closed and new ones are difficult to open, preventing parents from going to work. Pre-pandemic, only 12% of the under-school-age children had access to full-time childcare, half the state average, which is already considered a crisis. And as parents know, the cost of childcare can be like another mortgage.

If we don’t slow these trends, we risk transforming into a resort community, where people who work here cannot afford to live here. That’s not the future I want for my family or for our community. I want a whole community, where the people who work here have vested interests in our future.

Finally, the recent rise in homelessness tracks the recent rise in housing costs and low vacancy rates. We have struggling families who lose their homes because of health crisises or the cost of long-term care, or because seniors on fixed incomes cannot afford the rising cost of living—especially in utility costs, which I've pledged to reduce.

What Ryan Has Done

What We Should Do

We simply can’t build enough single-family residences to lead us out of the housing crunch. Instead, we need to build smarter. The Anacortes housing market is very homogenous—most of our housing stock is three and four-bedroom single-family residences. Entry-level homeowners, seniors, and others are interested in condos or apartments, but they’re in very short supply. We need a greater variety of housing types and sizes, especially in our downtown Commercial Ave core and along R Avenue, where more housing will help invigorate downtown by providing both employees and customers for businesses. By creating more variety, we will allow the market to work better, and free up supply of single-family residences for those that want or need them.

We also need to preserve our historic commercial buildings, especially in our downtown, to keep the charm and magic of historic Anacortes. Other communities, like Port Townsend, have done a better job of ensuring older buildings don't fall into disrepair where their owners can justify tearing them down. That's why I included renovation of the historic Olson Building in our affordable housing measure, and I would support an ordinance like Port Townsend has to prevent deterioration through neglect.

Background Image 

copyright © 2021 Ryan Walters