I am a Port Townsend Planning Commissioner, writing as a private citizen, quoted recently in this newspaper as saying that “permitting RVs was a cheap and effective way of adding additional housing.”
Based on my experience in the building industry, the article — though helpful — passed over a critical point.
The truth is that there is very little that a city council or planning commission can do to provide affordable housing in the near term.
It will take time for any zoning changes to have an effect.
Changes to lot size, parking, etc., will have very little impact on affordability overall.
However, we could provide more affordable housing almost immediately to the exact people who are in need by allowing RVs and tiny homes as accessory dwelling units.
The primary concern seems to be a potential drop in property value.
Perhaps, but it could also increase property value.
A home on wheels by its nature is temporary and won’t affect a home’s value directly while an RV site is an improvement that adds value.
Safety has also been mentioned as an argument against RVs being used as homes.
However, I’m pretty sure if it is safe to live in a home on wheels part time, it is safe full time.
It is important that we continue to move forward with zoning changes as they will help shape the future of our community, but we desperately need more solutions to mitigate the issue of affordability right now.