This week’s Council business was minimal, but the rest of the month is heavy! The purpose of this week’s email is to inform you about what is coming up, and I’m looking for your input.
During the March 21, 3 p.m. meeting, the Council is scheduled to vote on 2023-5s (shared housing to be allowed in Residential Resource zones), R2022-163 (Microhome Village Release of Funding), and 2022-81s (1/10th of 1% sales tax increase for housing). These policies will be transformational to our County.
Shared Housing: The Shared Housing Village concept is not really new, but it’s not something the County had fully embraced. Check out the article describing village concepts: Assessments of Shared Housing in the United States (Shared housing, generally defined as a living arrangement in which two or more unrelated people share a house or apartment, is an affordable living arrangement in the United States, particularly in urban areas with high housing costs). Nationally, the lack of housing in all categories has been recognized as a crisis. Expect creative ideas to be introduced as the need escalates.
Here are some other shared housing stories: Thrive Co-Living Communities, Imagine Housing, and Curbed (2017) 10 Tiny House Villages for Homeless Residents Across the U.S.
Funding: Releasing the funding to commence with the planned Pierce County Community Village requires the passage of R2022-163.
Sales Tax: For a great summary of the ordinance to authorize the collection of another 1/10th of 1% in sales tax, click here. The ordinance requires five votes to pass, or the Council could send it to the public for a public vote. Keep in mind that there are no safeguards or measures to stop the state or federal governments or our mandated compliance with comprehensive plans to prevent the costs of housing from increasing.
If you are interested in information about transportation issues, you may want to watch the Economic and Infrastructure Development (EID) Committee Tuesday, March 28, at 9:30 a.m. To be discussed are the Active Transportation Policy Framework and the Vision Zero Action Plan Update. I’m sure you will want to know about how we are seeking to codify the State’s Composting Procurement Requirements. I have no idea what that will do to the cost of refuse collections.
In the 3 p.m. Council Meeting on March 28, we are scheduled to vote on a resolution to recognize the inherent rights of the Southern Resident Killer Orca Whale in Pierce County. While the concept is warm and fuzzy, the unintended consequences are not. I remember learning several years ago about countries that changed their constitutions to give rights to plants (A milestone victory in this movement was the incorporation of rights of nature into the Ecuadorian constitution in 2008.) This article is very descriptive of the movement to give nature inherent rights.
This altruistic resolution can change the meaning of “personhood”: The “Rights of Nature” doctrine states that ecosystems can legally be considered people, which would allow them to defend themselves in courts. Under the law, this would give ecosystems “legal personhood” – the right to survive, thrive and be represented in court by a guardian.
It also can lead to unending lawsuits, as cited in Nature’s Rights Go to Court. Here is the County’s calendar; click on the committee meetings. I can certainly appreciate the emotions and good intentions attached to this resolution, but as you can read, there is more to its meaning than recognizing a majestic species. You can read the resolution here (electronic page 10).
It’s tough to find respite in such chaotic times. That gives me cause to end with a wonderful tradition. Yesterday, we honored and encouraged the young women on the Daffodil Festival Royalty as “Official Ambassadors of Pierce County.” It was inspiring to see these young women…representing our future…with so much hope and promise…seek ye the beautiful and the good. Thank you, ladies, for your commitment to enriching our world!
Always grateful for you!