This document will outline how the city can meet its housing needs and will be shaped by data and public input. The City opted to pursue this work and is committed to incorporating community voices into this plan.
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A Housing Action Plan is a strategic plan about increasing housing options and choices in the city. The plan centers on community engagement. Provided input will guide the strategies and policies of the HAP.
The final HAP needs to be completed and adopted by June 2023. This deadline is based on grant guidelines.
The HAP is a state grant-funded effort that provides the opportunity to create an actionable policy document. The funding for this effort is provided via Washington State Legislature passed House Bill (HB) 1923.
The HAP includes several key components, as listed below:
Blueline asked the City to identify persons to sit on two different groups. One committee is made up of city stakeholders, like residents with neighborhood ties and community leaders. The second is comprised of housing professionals, persons like developers and real estate experts. Together these two groups provide a community perspective and a technical perspective of housing in the city. Lastly, the survey is available to all residents, and everyone is encouraged to submit responses. The survey results will also inform policy recommendations for the HAP.
A HNA is a document requirement for this grant effort. It serves as a baseline regarding housing and is a data-heavy document prepared before the HAP. The Sultan HNA was reviewed by City Council in May 2022. A copy of the HNA is found in the Additional Sources section of this webpage.
The HNA is comprised of numerous data sources including the U.S. Census and the American Community Survey (ACS) which are all based on earlier (2019) findings. More recent, federal data was not available at the time this report was written. Although a Census was conducted in 2020, release of the data products has been delayed. You can read more about that here and here.
Also, bear in mind that the HNA data, in addition to the housing policy framework review and public engagement, are what guides the development of the HAP. The housing policy framework review evaluates current progress toward meeting the city’s housing element and the effectiveness of housing programs and policies. The public engagement process allows the community-at-large and key stakeholders to speak to the city’s more recent housing trends and needs.
The HAP provides structure for updating the housing element of the comprehensive plan. Additionally, the HAP recommends actions and strategies around addressing the housing needs of the city.
Numerous cities received this grant funding, a complete list of these municipalities can be found on the Washington State Department of Commerce Planning for Housing website.
The City is also working on the Comprehensive Plan. Cities of certain sizes are required to plan per the Washington State Growth Management Act (GMA). RCW 36.70A.070(2) requires the following for a housing element (emphasis added for language changed since 1990):
(2) A housing element ensuring the vitality and character of established residential neighborhoods that:
(a) Includes an inventory and analysis of existing and projected housing needs that identifies the number of housing units necessary to manage projected growth;
(b) Includes a statement of goals, policies, objectives, and mandatory provisions for the preservation, improvement, and development of housing, including single-family residences;
(c) Identifies sufficient land for housing, including, but not limited to, government-assisted housing, housing for low-income families, manufactured housing, multifamily housing, and group homes and foster care facilities; and
(d) Makes adequate provisions for existing and projected needs of all economic segments of the community. In counties and cities subject to the review and evaluation requirements of RCW 36.70A.215, any revision to the housing element shall include consideration of prior review and evaluation reports and any reasonable measures identified.
The update of the Comprehensive Plan Housing Element will be largely based on the HAP work.
HB 1923 requires the HAP to “review and evaluate the current housing element adopted pursuant to RCW 36.70A.070, including an evaluation of success in attaining planned housing types and units, the achievement of goals and policies, and implementation of the schedule of programs and actions.”
The 2011 Sultan Comprehensive Plan includes the following housing goals and policies:
H 1 Manage Growth Potentials
H 2 Promote Housing Diversity
H 3 Housing-Design Concepts
H 4 Increase Center Viability
H 5 Best Housing Practices
H 6 Create Identity
H 1.1 Growth management priorities
H 1.2 Housing Variety
H 1.3 Preservation of existing housing
H 2.1 Innovative Land Use Planning
H 2.2 Housing choice
H 2.3 Clustering and Lot Averaging provisions
H 2.4 Manufactured housing
H 2.5 Higher density detached single family housing
H 2.6 Attached single-family housing
H 2.7 Multiple family housing
H 2.8 Mixed use housing
H 3.1 Smaller single-family lots
H 3.2 Cluster housing
H 3.3 Shared access
H 3.4 Quality housing
H 4.1 Moderate to higher density housing
H 4.2 Mixed use residential development
H 4.3 Support affordable housing within Sultan
H 5.1 Affordable housing development within Region
H 5.2 Permit Streamlining
H 6.1 Neighborhood planning areas
H 6.2 Encourage low density development
The term affordable housing refers to households spending less than 30% of the total household income on housing. Housing includes costs like rent, mortgage, insurance, and utilities.
The Washington State Growth Management Act (GMA) defines affordable housing as:
(2) “Affordable housing” means, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise, residential housing whose monthly costs, including utilities other than telephone, do not exceed thirty percent of the monthly income of a household:
(a) For rental housing, households whose income is 60% of the median household income adjusted for household size, for the county where the household is located, as reported by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development; or
(b) For owner-occupied housing, households whose income is 80% of the median household income adjusted for household size, for the county where the household is located, as reported by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The grant requirements and the HAP do not establish mandates. Rather the HAP provides policy recommendations. Per the GMA, the City is required to ensure sufficient land to meet population targets established by the state. These requirements are independent of the HAP.
The HAP will provide policy recommendations that may indirectly address housing costs. These recommendations may influence how and what kind of housing is built.