USDA Rural Development has received and reviewed comments on areas being reviewed for continued eligibility under the USDA Rural Housing programs. During the review, all comments were considered. Below is a summary of the comments received for the rural area review in the state of Washington.
COMMENTS RECEIVED IN WASHINGTON
• Sedro Woolley, Skagit County - Comment received noted the changes to this area would be devastating to the program and other programs in the state and noted the lack of affordable housing in this area. It is suggested that USDA revise their definitions of rural to include higher populated areas as the original definitions were written decades ago and do not apply to conditions today.
• Ferndale, Whatcom County - Comment received stated that there is a lack of affordable housing for low and very low income in the area. Added costs of water and sewer systems are limiting affordable housing.
• Sunnyside, Yakima County - Comment received that there is a high demand for affordable housing for those that are low and very-low income. Through the elimination of rural area, it reduces the buildable area for those most in need comments provided that the city would benefit from a new housing and if the eligibility changed for the area it would lose an opportunity for affordable housing. USDA programs provides essential funding to fill in the gap in the private market allowing families who would otherwise be unable to access affordable mortgage credit.
• Port Orchard, Kitsap County – Comment received concerning the process of permitting to develop land owned, which will take about 14-16 months to complete then start to build on self-help housing.
• Bainbridge Island, Kitsap County - Comment received that there is a dire need of affordable housing for low and very low-income families. Bainbridge Island is still rural in character and has a serious lack of mortgage credit for lower and moderate-income families due to the medium home price of $800,000.
CONSIDERATION OF COMMENTS
Based on the review of the areas within Washington, using the 2015 American Community Survey (ACS) data and rural area guidance located in HB-1-3550, Chapter 5, and taking into consideration the comments received, Rural Development now proposes to maintain the rural eligibility designation for the following communities:
Anacortes, Arlington, Bainbridge Island, Benton, Bonny Lake, Cheney, Cottage Lake, Elk Plain, Enumclaw, Ferndale, Fort Lewis, Frederickson, Graham, Grandview, Kelso, Lake Tapps, Lynden, Maltby, Moses Lake, Oak Harbor, Pullman, Sedro-Woolley, Snoqualmie, Sunnyside, Tumwater, Union Hill, Vashon, Walla Walla, and West Richland.
Based on the review of the areas within the state of Washington using the 2015 American Community Survey data, comments received, and rural area guidance located in HB-1-3550, Chapter 5, the rural eligibility designation is proposed to change from eligible to ineligible for the following areas:
Battle Ground, Camas, Lake Stevens, Maple Valley, Monroe, Mt. Vernon, Prairie Ridge, Silverdale, Spanaway, Washougal, and Wenatchee.
Areas that will now be considered as no longer being rural or rural in character can be viewed at https://eligibility.sc.egov.usda.gov/eligibility/welcomeAction.do by clicking on either "Single Family Housing Guaranteed", "Single Family Housing Direct" or Multi-Family Housing" and then selecting "Proposed Ineligible Areas" tab.
The proposed changes will become effective on June 4, 2018. For details, or questions about specific changes, please contact the Washington State Rural Development Housing Program Staff at 360-704-7777