I have lived in Bothell for 27 years. My husband and I moved here for three reasons: first, Bothell was near Redmond where we worked, and we could even commute to work by biking on the Sammamish Valley Trail; second, we happened to find a house we liked and could afford as we started out to raise our family; and third, we loved the area.
In order to afford the house payments we needed two incomes, so we spent most of our days outside of the community. Indeed, many residents did. In fact, at the time we moved here, Bothell was considered a “bedroom community” for Seattle and the surrounding area. By and large, the people who lived here did not work here. They commuted to work somewhere else.
The expensive housing stock that is being built all around us in the King County portion of Bothell concerns me greatly. Who can afford to live in these expensive homes and apartments? Will they work in Bothell? Or will they add to the traffic gridlock as they commute? Will they spend most of their time elsewhere and will Bothell continue to be just a “bedroom community?” Or, will Bothell be a community that will welcome the many new residents who will choose to live here because they, like I, love the area, work nearby and can afford the rent/house payments?
Nowadays, the entire Puget Sound region is experiencing high population and business growth. We have a chance to direct this growth within our city and ensure that it benefits the entire community and region, not just the developers who are building it. It’s time to think “outside the box” as we update Bothell’s Comprehensive Plan, and include a requirement for “affordable housing” in the 2015 update.
Bothell is a good place to live; we have a chance to make it a great place: a diverse and vibrant community that is alive with interesting people who can live here because it is affordable, and who will make it the great place to live that we all want Bothell to be.
Marcia Stedman, Bothell