Some members in a community may have special housing needs due to physical or mental disabilities, health, or other circumstances. Special needs housing can be provided in a variety of structures -- single family homes, multifamily dwellings, and/or institutional settings. Supportive services are typically provided on site by government or non-profit agencies or the private sector.
The provision of housing and services for the neediest residents is a regional problem whose solution typically transcends the boundaries of individual jurisdictions.
Support the adequate preservation, improvement, and development of housing for the diverse economic and social segments of the Mercer Island community.
Affordable Housing Policies
3.1Work cooperatively with King County, “A Regional Coalition for Housing”, (ARCH) and other Eastside jurisdictions to assess the need for and to create affordable housing.
3.2Continue membership in ARCH or similar programs to assist in the provision of affordable housing on the Eastside.
3.3City housing goals and policies should be coordinated with regional growth, transit and employment policies.
3.4Work cooperatively with and support efforts of private and not-for-profit developers, and social and health service agencies to address local housing needs.
3.5Work to increase the base of both public and private dollars available on a regional level for affordable and accessible housing, especially for housing affordable to very low income households, and accessible to people with disabilities.
3.6Consider supporting housing legislation at the county, state and federal levels which would promote the goals and policies of the Housing Element.
3.7Continue to explore ways to reform regulations that would either provide incentives or reduce the cost to produce affordable and accessible housing.
Local Resources Policies
3.8Use local resources to leverage other public and private funding when possible to build or preserve affordable housing on Mercer Island and in other Eastside cities, including housing for very low income households.
3.9Use regulatory and financial incentives in the Town Center and PBZ/CO districts such as density bonuses, fee waivers, and property tax reductions to encourage residential development for a range of household and ownership types and income levels.
3.10Provide incentives for first-time and more affordable ownership housing opportunities to meet local needs, such as condominiums and compact courtyard homes.
3.11Consider allowing the development of one innovative housing project, e.g. compact courtyard housing, attached single family housing or smaller lot housing, to examine the feasibility and desirability of additional housing options to address the changing demographics on Mercer Island. The demonstration project should include smaller single family units, accessible housing and barrier-free entries for visitability, common open space and other amenities, and be subject to strict design review. Following completion of the project, the City will engage in a policy discussion about expanding innovative housing opportunities.
3.12Consider establishing a means to provide non-cash subsidies such as credit enhancements and City bonding to support development of affordable housing.
3.13If City-owned property is no longer required for its purposes, it shall be evaluated for its suitability for affordable housing.
3.14Waive, defer, or reduce building, planning, or mitigation fees in exchange for a contractual commitment to affordable housing.
3.15Continue to provide Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds for housing projects which serve low and moderate income households.
3.16Maintain housing developed or preserved using local public resources as affordable for the longest term possible.
3.17Encourage self-help and volunteer programs which provide housing rehabilitation and development.
3.18Support housing options, programs and services that allow seniors to stay in their homes or neighborhoods. Promote awareness of Universal Design improvements that increase housing accessibility.
3.19Encourage energy efficiency and other measures of sustainability in new and preserved housing.
Special Needs / Fair Housing Policies
3.20Mercer Island shall periodically review and revise policies and regulations to assure the Zoning Code meets the requirements of the Federal Fair Housing Act and the State of Washington Fair Housing Law to provide equal access for people with special needs and recognized protected classes (race, color, national origin, religion, sex, family status, disability).
3.21Zoning should provide appropriate opportunities for special needs housing. Support should be given to organizations that offer services and facilities to those who have special housing needs.
3.22Support and plan for special needs housing using federal or state aid and private resources.
3.23Encourage development of emergency, transitional, and permanent supportive housing with appropriate on site services for special needs populations.
3.24Identify regulatory methods and coordinated assistance for improving housing opportunities for frail elderly and other special needs populations in Mercer Island.
3.25Explore innovative ways to remove barriers to, and provide incentives for, the creation and modification of residential housing that is wholly or partially accessible to people with disabilities.