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The cost of housing in King County has skyrocketed over the last 10 years.

The county has a number of initiatives to address this housing affordability crisis. One of these is the Alternative Housing Demonstration Project, which is required by the King County Comprehensive Plan.

The county started by asking: What innovative housing types could create more affordable housing, but aren’t allowed under existing regulations?

After receiving proposals from affordable housing developers, the county chose two projects for possible approval:

  • Developer – Vashon HouseHold, a nonprofit affordable housing developer
  • Location – Vashon Town: Vashon Highway SW and SW 188th Street
  • Description – 40 living quarters, each with a bathroom and kitchenette, spread across five buildings. Each building also includes a common kitchen, dining, and laundry area.

This project will serve people with the most critical housing needs, including people who are experiencing homelessness, those with disabilities or low incomes, seniors, and veterans.

The project will also participate in an on-island referral system, giving priority to people living on Vashon-Maury Island. King County awarded $3.1 million to this project, including funding for a case manager, in 2018.

blue and white drawing of buildings
Rendering of proposed Vashon housing project
  • Developer – Neiman Taber Architects, a for-profit architecture and design firm
  • LocationTBD in the White Center Commercial District or nearby high-density residential zones
  • Description – 50-60 micro studio and single- occupancy units. Some units will have a private bathroom and kitchenette; others will use shared bathrooms and kitchens on each floor. The ground floor is primarily common space. Neiman Taber predicts that rents will be between $650-$1,000 per month, including internet and utilities.

If the proposed demonstration project ordinance is approved by the King County Council, King County will monitor these projects closely through the permitting and construction process and survey residents to learn about their experiences living in these alternative housing types. Based on what we learn, King County may propose permanent changes to our code.

Share your thoughts

Please send us your comments bv email, and let us know if you’d like to receive email updates on these projects in the future.

Comments on the draft proposed ordinance will be accepted through October 13. After the proposed ordinance is submitted to the County Council in December, there will be additional public comment opportunities during the council's review.