Saturday, October 25, 2008

Let people rent their homes, help renters

Best homeowner bailout idea I've heard so far is to rent foreclosed homes back to the former owners. That's the best idea, if government bails out homeowners.

Since many homeowners are in a larger place than they can afford (often large carbon footprint) government can also encourage these people to take in other renters.

Mother in law apartments.

Helps pay the mortgage and utilities. Also provides more space for renters who tend to be "lower footprint" than owners.

Some zoning will oppose this in single family zones, but maybe it's time to reduce the amount of space devoted to single family; especially as our population and sprawl keep growing.

We need to encourage lower footprint lifestyles. Especially now since it's on the credit card; the federal deficit.

Here in Bellingham, there's a new "toolkit" that's been worked out by city government to manage things like mother in law apartments in single family zones. It provides some guidelines to facilitate a compromise between allowing more flexibility and protecting single family.

Problem is, I just read that a city planer has ruled this toolkit will not be used in single family unless the city council approves each application.

Toolkit may be rendered almost useless since it's application is restricted to higher density zones that already have that flexibility, even without the toolkit.

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