Not everyone likes apodments
Not everyone likes apodments, photo by flickr user aboyce22

Here’s Tom Rasmussen on microhousing units on Capitol Hill (via), in a discussion on a small-unit moratorium*:

Rasmussen—who visited one such development on Capitol Hill and compares its units to “small dorm rooms”—tells PubliCola he understands the “market for smaller units like that,” but says that Capitol Hill residents, in particular, have expressed concern about the new developments, and are “feeling like too many are being proposed or developed” and want the council to take a look at “whether they fit in to neighborhoods, and whether or not there should be design review. Some of them look pretty good, some of them not so much.”

Meanwhile, the New City Collegian has a story about what high rents have done to a few students in Seattle:

Amy, an international student from Korea, lives on Capitol Hill and rents a two bedroom apartment for $1,300 a month. The contract says only two people may reside there, but skirting the rules Amy now lives with three other roommates. “It doesn’t make sense. I can’t pay this much. As a result, I have three roommates, which means I live in violation of the contract.” The contract violation has left Amy perpetually anxious of eviction saying her manager checks every unit randomly and is “scared every day…I have to sleep with another girl in the same bed. I can’t have my private room.”

It doesn’t sound like Amy’s a citizen, so she can’t vote, but she is a resident of our city and her rights and welfare are just as important as anyone else (same applies to these guys). So I would like to ask Rasmussen to think about Amy and her three roommates living in a two-bedroom apartment, sharing beds and fearing eviction because they can’t afford anything else, before he considers a moratorium on any new housing. We need as many new, affordable housing units as we can get.

*Thankfully, Richard Conlin and Mike McGinn both have more reasonable things to say in that piece.

95 Replies to “Two Links, Two Sides of the Same Story”

  1. Rasmussen’s BS is just about people who don’t want poor people living near them. All the vague nonsense about “too many” and “doesn’t fit in the neigborhood” is just cover. These classist, anti-freedom busybodies should be ashamed of themselves; Seattle isn’t their private playground and they’ve got no right to try and tell others how they should live.

    1. Wow. You really hit it right on the head with “doesn’t fit in the neighborhood”. That’s a classic political dog-whistle, similar to what is described here:
      http://crookedtimber.org/2012/12/02/political-dog-whistles-dont-have-an-off-switch-for-the-dog-whistle-part/

      Obviously, you can’t come out and say “I don’t want two dozen Korean exchange students (like Amy) to live near me”, because people would come off as racist and classist. So instead you say “It’s out of character”.

      Thanks for that insight.

      You can dive even deeper. They don’t want you to think about Amy or whomever, because that makes them clearly classist. So they want you to think about “fat cat developers”, so they spend a lot of time on that, to distract away from Amy. But it’s not a zero-sum game, so we’re hurting the developer, sure, but we’re also hurting Amy.

      1. I’ve heard discussion that puts students (“foreign national”) like Amy on the /other/ side of the debate: daddy’s happy to cough up $1600 for a 1BR in Capitol Hill (along with full ride tuition to the local university), and combined with tech children, no ‘normal’ native Washingtonian can afford to live in these areas.

        With those thoughts in my ears, my brain backflips to hear that affordable housing will change the neighborhood’s character.

      2. Andrew, that’s an amazing comment. Thanks for putting it so clearly. I agree that’s exactly what’s happening here.

      3. They don’t want you to think about Amy or whomever, because that makes them clearly classist.

        Amen. In Seattle, anti “fat-cat developer” discourse exists largely to prevent wealthy property owners who understand themselves as liberal from suffering cognitive dissonance or engaging in anything that might approximate critical reflection about the relationship between their interests/attitudes and their alleged political values.

      4. Amen. In Seattle, anti “fat-cat developer” discourse exists largely to prevent wealthy property owners who understand themselves as liberal from suffering cognitive dissonance or engaging in anything that might approximate critical reflection about the relationship between their interests/attitudes and their alleged political values.

        Even fat-cat developer is pretty silly when you think about construction jobs, etc.

        I know someone who lives in the U-D who fought savagely against the roosevelt upzone, because they students wouldn’t be able to learn if there they couldn’t see mount rainier. Seriously. You can justify any crazy thing if you want to.

  2. Tell those people to move down to Columbia City and Beacon Hill and other points south. The rents are more reasonable, The transit connections are good (and by 2016 they will be great to Çapitol Hill and the U-District). More and more new businesses are opening too. Columbia City has a couple of great music venues. Adding young people in these neighborhoods would only make things better for everyone.

    Beyond that, why shouldn’t these developments get similar review to other developments? It has nothing to do with the right now. What about the 15 years from now? One era’s housing for students and young tech workers can turn into another era’s crummy SRO housing. The minute that the rental market softens, these will be the first units to empty out, as students flow to bigger places that are now more affordable. Then, what happens?

    If there’s one thing I’ve learned about the city, it’s that neighborhoods don’t always hold their character indefinitely. I know it’s almost impossible to imagine that Capitol Hill could ever get run down. But history says that it’s not impossible.

    A little additional vetting on the front end might help to insure that these kind of units are of a good enough quality that they won’t easily devolve into something unintended (and in the process contribute to the downward spiral that the neighborhood will undoubtedly be going through at that point).

    1. That’s a tough option for a student, who wants to use all the resources of his college night and day and maybe rest, eat, work at home between classes.

    2. 1. Design review isn’t supposed to change projects. The intent is to be a process for a developer to ask for an exemption to a code in exchange for something the community wants. But if you’re code compliant (as aPodments are), there’s no change. However, in practice, design review slows down projects so much and adds so much cost, that only the more profitable (and expensive) projects make it through. Design review would likely kill projects like these, which is what these groups want.

      2. “these people” should all live in the south? Ouch. Why is Capitol Hill inappropriate for “these people”?

      1. However, in practice, design review slows down projects so much and adds so much cost, that only the more profitable (and expensive) projects make it through. Design review would likely kill projects like these, which is what these groups want.

        Yes, exactly. This is really what they want.

      2. “2. “these people” should all live in the south? Ouch. Why is Capitol Hill inappropriate for “these people”?”

        If you can’t afford it, then you are aren’t entitled to rent it. Nice attempt at creating racism though.

        I suppose in your world view, I should be able to take my 60,000 dollar a year salary over to Medina and be entitled to a housing unit there because it is a nice neighborhood?

      3. “If you can’t afford it, then you are aren’t entitled to rent it.”

        This goes to the heart of the issue. We’re talking about people who can afford a $600 single room home in the U district. If we allow developers to build them. The anti-density groups are telling us that they don’t want people to live in single room homes near them, and you’re telling those that want these rooms to live somewhere else.

        “I suppose in your world view, I should be able to take my 60,000 dollar a year salary over to Medina and be entitled to a housing unit there because it is a nice neighborhood?”

        Certainly. If there’s a small home for rent there, and you have a strong desire to live in Medina (I certainly don’t).

    3. The transit connections are good (and by 2016 they will be great to Çapitol Hill and the U-District).

      Pretty sure most of today’s students will be graduated by then, so that does them little good now.

    4. Tell those people to move down to Columbia City and Beacon Hill and other points south

      Unless you go to Kent, the rent is still unaffordable for larger units, and there are no apodment-style small units. Columbia City and Beacon Hill residents also have the same complaints that Capitol Hill does about new residents moving in.

      1. I live in CC – bring on the new, law abiding citizens! We’ll have an Eileen Green Store opening in the next few weeks! The neighborhood is fansmabulous and can only get better through student gentrification.

      2. Judging from how much the ridership of the 197 changes when UW goes in or out of session, a *lot* of students are doing exactly that. I feel bad for them. Losing a couple hours a day to a commute is tolerable when you have a 9-5, but when you’re putting in college student hours it’s awfully rough.

      3. Yeah, some people may be willing to put up with a commute from south Seattle, but I certainly couldn’t. When I transferred to UW I was still living in Bothell and my commute took 1.5 hours via 2 buses, and besides the amount of time it took, it was also extremely draining. Even after a full night’s sleep the ride there and back would make me feel tired and uncomfortable. I ended up moving to Greenwood before the first quarter even ended, then to the U District less than 2 months after that.

        Telling people to move further afield is exactly the justification for cheap, small units. It shouldn’t be necessary, and it’s not even close to equivalent. Living in Columbia City or even further away may be possible, sure, but often being car-free is part of the equation for making school work financially, and those places simply aren’t up to par yet in offering quality alternatives to car dependence. “It’s getting better” isn’t an answer for people who are planning their lives on 2-4 year time frames, which most students and young professionals are.

        And while neighborhoods do change, UW isn’t going anywhere, so I don’t see how we’re ever going to lose demand for student- and newly-graduated-affordable housing.

      4. You make some good points, Shane. It’s worth noting that students often spend even longer at school than workers do at their job. For me, I was taking 15 hours of classes, working 20 hours per week, studying in the libraries or working in the labs another 25+ hours. Factor in meals, coffee, etc and you are looking at 60+ hours easy.

    5. C’mon j-lon, think it through. You sound smart, use your noggin’. OK, I’ll walk you through it. It is just simple supply and demand.

      So, those kids can’t afford to live on Capitol Hill, so they move south. Other kids (who also can’t afford to live on Capital Hill) move south. Next thing you know, the areas you mentioned aren’t so cheap. Move south again, I guess. Next thing you know, Renton isn’t so cheap. At some point, some of those kids just bites the bullet and doubles up (or triples up). It sure beats a nasty commute. It works for this neighborhood as well as the entire city.

      If I owned some apartments in Shoreline, I would sure love a moratorium on development in Seattle. Suddenly my apartments are way more valuable. I know, eventually some of my fat cat friends will put up new apartment buildings next to mine, but I’m not worried. My old apartment building will be worth a mint, then. Hell, maybe I’ll sell, and buy some apartments in Lynnwood. Yes! Then I’ll see if I can get a petition going around about how Shoreline has gotten too big. I love this game.

      It really isn’t a matter of fat cats benefiting (or being hurt) by any of this. Fat cats are investors. If they don’t invest in an apartment building in the city, they will invest in a housing development in the suburbs (or a pig farm in Arkansas, etc.).

      There are winners and losers, though. The winners are owners, especially commercial owners. Restrictions on new development help them immensely. The losers are renters. This applies to all renters and owners in the entire area, to some degree. The closer you are, the more it effects you, but it effects you no matter where you are.

      1. By “commercial owners” I mean people who own apartment buildings. I don’t mean people who own buildings used for retail.

    6. You know, there are people who have been buying up houses in the university district for decades and chopping them up into rooming houses with hardly anyone raising a peep. Sure a few like the Sisleys or Eric Hilton make the news now and again because they manage to piss off a well to do neighbor now and again but little or nothing is done against them or the many landlords who keep their names out of the headlines.

      For that matter I can point to several “apodment” type developments that have been built over the past 20+ years with again nary a peep out of anyone.

      Past that there are any number of apartment buildings built in recent decades with efficiency studios barely larger than the “apodment” units and without the benefit of common real kitchens or living space.

      In my experience it is generally older poorly maintained rooming houses and apartment buildings that tend to become a source of problems. The newer “apodment” and efficiency studio developments (even the 20+ year old ones) still haven’t turned into slums.

      Denying a building permit because something might become a slum decades in the future seems rather stupid to me. After all who can predict what is going to happen to a property in the next 30+ years?

  3. Part of me wants to say, Free Market, go ahead.

    But another part of me, that was forced out of (formerly good) neighborhood after neighborhood due to crime and costs thinks…blockbusting.

    Blockbusting is when you want to buy up lots of land for cheap and so you inject a bad element to make the other property values go down. What is presented as “small apartments” soon become SRO hotels for junkies and the mentally ill who then roam the streets near schools whose parents then flee to the suburbs. You then buy up their homes for a song and build more density.

    Isn’t that what this is really about?

      1. Actually nothing paranoid about it. It is exactly what happened to my mothers neighborhood in Bushwick, NY.

    1. The thing forcing you out of neighborhoods due to cost is largely because we restrict development so much that supply couldn’t keep up with demand. It’s the same problem. The response to it – the tendency to restrict development even MORE – makes it worse.

      1. So the solution is to allow the construction of awful housing units that no one will want once demand dies down? Seems incredibly short sighted.

      2. Are you talking about Sears Craftsman homes from a century ago? Or the cheap single family homes built in the ’50’s?

        What exactly do you think it will take to drop demand for housing in dense parts of Seattle? And when such a tragedy occurs, what makes you think there won’t be people that want/need cheap housing?

      3. If the central city started losing lots of jobs, demand in dense neighborhoods would probably go down quite a bit. However, the exact opposite is happening at the moment, and I don’t think we should base our current housing policy on concerns that people might start moving out of the area at some undetermined point in the future.

    2. But another part of me, that was forced out of (formerly good) neighborhood after neighborhood due to crime and costs

      Crime has dropped–a lot–over the last 25 years (in cities generally, and Seattle in particular). That’s one of the reasons cost has gone up!

      I am very curious what neighborhoods–and what years–you claim crime and cost of living went up together. I would make a modest wager your perception of the valence of crime rates do not comport with actual crime rates.

    3. I lived in a below-average apartment on First Hill. The problem of crackheads and substandard behavior is real; it’s not just an adversion to poor and minorities. We need to make more apartments available in the minimum-wage price range, while at the same time not tolerating bad behavior. That’s how to make apodments a success.

  4. People are concerned with how horrible these things are designed, I’m thinking of the one in the vein of the “Seattle 4-pack Special” on John. The idea for apodments is interesting and worth experimenting with — but historic preservation in general, especially on the Hill, needs to be a more of a priority. My god, there is so much bad development from the 60s onward, but the worst stuff is what seems to stick around.

    1. I don’t think historic preservation has anything to do with this. If it did, people would be getting buildings registered *instead* of talking about “scale” and “quality of life”.

      1. Some of the developers in CC have used the historical district to control development and enhance the value of their properties.

      2. Yeah, that’s the problem with a lot of these laws. They just get abused by those who already have power.

      3. You’re missing the point. Development could work to actually enhance the neighborhood, as there are very few buildings from the mid to late twentieth century that are lovable.

      4. I’m not missing that point at all. Blocking new development hurts the neighborhood. :)

    2. I think you hit the nail on the head — property owners will oppose any development that threatens to lower their property values, because it effectively takes money right out of their pockets. I’m not convinced apodments would actually lower property values, but some people obviously see it as a risk. I have to say, though, I see little evidence that the presence of lots of students living in apodments (we currently call them “dorms”) has hurt property values in the U District.

    3. This is a valid concern, but I don’t think you can make it better by restricting these. I’ve seen plenty of really ugly buildings go up that have been reviewed. I’ve also seen some pretty nice looking Apodments (the ones in the U-District are better than most of the new buildings I’ve seen around town).

      If it is really about looks, then call their bluff. Ask the city to get rid of parking requirements, in return for prettier buildings. Almost all of the really nice looking buildings I know about in the city don’t have parking. Many were built before the requirement, but many were built in areas that don’t have that restriction (like the buildings on the UW campus). On the other hand, most of the really ugly buildings were made uglier because of parking. The duplexes and quads that made so much of Ballard so ugly in the 1980s are a great example.

      It is very difficult to legislate prettiness, as we can see. So many ugly buildings have been given the OK by the review board (in part because they are similar to other buildings — which leads to the entire neighborhood being boring). I really believe we would have better luck if we simply abandoned the parking requirement.

      I would love to see a comparison of buildings built with the requirement as well as those built without. Someone with lots of time on their hands could do a nice little study. Take pictures of lots of buildings. Get a fair sampling of each type (which is the hard part). Then present them to people. My guess is that I’m right. The buildings people prefer are the ones that don’t require parking. There will be some exceptions, of course, but I think in general that is the preference.

  5. Maybe Amy should live in the ID, where one can rent a dorm-sized apt for less than $400/mo without a longterm contract (as I did for a short while not too long ago). These apodments really aren’t that great of a deal, really.

    1. A friend of mine lives in one in the U-D. It’s surprisingly expensive, like $600 or something. Which is crazy to me.

      When I went to UW, I rented a two bedroom with a roommate for $650 a month. Now, that place was really crummy and my friend’s apodment is a lot nicer, but $650 in 2001 is like $850 now:
      http://www.westegg.com/inflation/infl.cgi

      But that place would definitely cost at least $1000 today.

    2. I’ve heard comments like these a lot, and they seem like non sequiturs. Are you saying that aPodments should be banned because a brand new one rents for slightly more than some run-down room in the ID? How would banning them help Amy?

      If you’re just giving life advice, that’s fine. But reducing supply of small homes will certainly raise prices.

      1. Exactly. If people want to buy what Apodments are selling for $600 because they value location, convenience, or new construction more than square feet, what does it matter whether you or I or anyone else thinks this is a “good deal”? We all value tradeoffs differently, which is as it should be.

      2. I didn’t say anything about banning apodments. I’m just saying they’re not that great of a deal and small, dorm-like apartments exist all over the city if you look hard enough.

    3. If she’s choosing the apodment, she probably has a reason you haven’t thought of, like a preference for one neighborhood over another. It’s not up to us to tell her otherwise.

      1. No one is telling her anything. I was commenting on a blog post. This is how STB’s comments section becomes full of ad homs and off topic rants – so many people reading way too much into comments that aren’t even in disagreement with the post!

      2. No, it’s up to the market to tell her otherwise. You rent what you can afford to rent. She is not entitled to live anywhere she wants.

      3. And why are you entitled to keep a developer from building her a home she can afford?

      4. She is entitled to live anywhere she can afford to live.

        Wouldn’t it be nice if she could afford to live in more places, rather than fewer? This goal could be achieved by allowing more variety and quantity of housing units to be built in popular areas.

  6. Instead of irrationally waving arms about while gasping the word “Density”, regulate the negative consequences of density. Strictly regulating noise and overnight parking would likely do a whole lot more good for a neighborhood and make it a more pleasing place to live than just reflexively screaming about “Density”. Just be sure to back up any regulation with enforcement that has [reasonable] teeth.

    1. For sure. It’s easy, just charge an hourly rate for parking. Use the same data-driven model the rest of the city does. If demand is low, the rate will be low. If it’s higher, it’ll make sure there’s room to park.

    2. I expect this style of housing would be less of a noise problem than the usual “four guys splitting a rental house” situation. An apodment is way too small to have a party in. A rental house with multiple occupancy is practically an invitation to one.

  7. I have to say: For as much as I disagree with the anti-density side, I love that graphic. Tall buildings are raining down like bombs and will destroy your single family home and lifestyle! Join our “reasonable density” group or “livibility” will be “destroyed”!

    1. It would be an amusing counter graphic to have obelisks raining down on homes and residents coming out and evolving sustainable lifestyles.

    2. It’s pretty genius as far as propaganda goes. The tall building is literally exploding the single-family house.

  8. I’d encourage everyone to send a quick email to the council members who participate in the Land Use Committee. I’m sure that those against microhousing are in the minority, but unfortunately their voices are rather loud. Remind the council that this is an issue that is important to you that will guide you in upcoming elections. Council positions are not regional, so every council person is susceptible to your vote when it comes time for his/her reelection.

    1. “… every council person is susceptible to your vote …”

      A lot of the same forces that want to tell you you can’t live on Capitol Hill (or in Roosevelt, or on MLK) want to change that.

    2. I wrote to the council a few months ago and said that these people don’t speak for all Capitol Hill residents, and that I don’t want to see apodments stifled. Yes, the zoning code needs to be updated to make a category for them, but we don’t need a moritorium in the meantime.

  9. Please don’t block any darn scenic views from Seattle. Thanks.

    See Mark Dublin for the specifics.

    -Hoss Cartwheel

    1. ? What are you saying? I think we should get ride of the space needle, it blocks my view of rainier!

  10. If you’re looking for a sympathetic figure to manipulate reader’s feelings on a bigger issue, you probably might want to find someone who isn’t an admitted liar and who break her contract and then blames others for doing it.

    1. Also, apartments check salary statements to make sure a prospective tenants’ gross monthly salary is at least four times the rent. The apartment management may also substitute a large checking or savings account balance instead of salary rule. This Korean student passed that test when she and another person rented that two bedroom. For her to then say she was forced due to financial circumstances to break her lease and bring in three more sub-renters and claim she was forced to do it because she couldn’t afford the rent doesn’t pass the smell test with me.

      1. When I rented an apartment several years ago, the threshold was an income of 2 1/2-3 times the rent, not 4. Also, the income thresholds are naturally inflated under the presumption that a large chunk of income is going to be going towards car payments.

      2. Also, apartments check salary statements to make sure a prospective tenants’ gross monthly salary is at least four times the rent.

        Some do; others don’t. (And the ratio varies, 4X would be at the high end). You have no way of knowing whether she was subjected to such a test when she rented her apartment; why are you pretending you do?

      3. This is far from a hard rule, or there would be few college students in apartments.

      4. Maybe she lost her job and had to take a lower-paying one. There was this thing called the Great Recession, y’know.

      5. What? I have never had that. I’ve lived in 3 places in 3 years, and was an Americorps member when I moved into all (i.e spent half my pay on rent).

  11. It’s really too bad about the high rents. What we really need are more 3-bedroom in the downtown/South Lake Union area so families move in. Rents being so high will make it difficult for that to happen.

  12. I’m sorry, but Tom Rasmussen is being a snob. It’s that simple.

    Im a college student at uw, and for all the talk over the last 4-5 years about tuition increases, rents alone in Seattle cost nearly as much as tuition. If you’re lucky, you’ll get a crampt room for $700 a month (if you sign a 1 year lease. Seeing as most students don’t study in the summer, that’s $2100 in unnecessary rental payments). If you’re willing to live in a building with mold and other problems, then you might get rents of $500 (with the same full year lease problem). Many students pay much higher than $700.

    Apopdments are a very nice and affordable alternative to the overpriced rental market in Seattle. Rasmussen and the other snobs/nimbys in Capitol Hill just don’t want poorer people than them living nearby. They want to dump us in the suburbs or the south end. Snobs like them should be ignored, not pandered to.

    1. Listen to yourself – “they want to dump us in the suburbs or the south end.” Sure sounds pretentious and snobbish to me as a resident of the south end.

      1. For a UW student, being forced to rent in the south end is pretty onerous. Try holding down a part-time job, scheduling all your classes and group projects, and tell me that it’s desirable to live in the south end.

  13. When I was in college, a long time ago, a 2 BR apartment was supposed to house 4 students. If you had just two, so each had his/her own room, that was a luxury.

  14. “It doesn’t sound like Amy’s a citizen, so she can’t vote, but she is a resident of our city and her rights and welfare are just as important as anyone else”

    If she isn’t a citizen, then her rights and welfare are not just as important as anyone else.

    If I’m a guest somewhere, I don’t tell the host to accommodate me. I adjust to the situation that I am lucky enough to be in.

    1. If I’m a guest somewhere, I don’t tell the host to accommodate me. I adjust to the situation that I am lucky enough to be in.

      Crikey, do you have any idea what you sound like?

      1. An American citizen who pays taxes and works full time and who isn’t demanding that new housing be built to accommodate me because I cannot afford to live somewhere?

        This whole blog post is nothing more than pretentious, white liberal guilt politicking.

        I’m sorry that a non citizen student immigrant cannot afford to live in one of the most desired neighborhoods in the city, I really am. But that doesn’t mean we have to get on our soapboxes about it.

      2. Living up to your name, PI.

        A few points you seem quite confused about.

        1) “Amy” isn’t demanding anything.
        2) I (a tax-paying us citizen) am suggesting that our city council shouldn’t put a moratorium on new housing.
        3) Companies owned by americans and employing americans would like to build new houses on their properties in accordance with the law.
        4) Some people are demanding the city council put a stop to 3.

        I hope that clears up your comprehension troubles.

    2. “If I’m a guest somewhere, I don’t tell the host to accommodate me. I adjust to the situation that I am lucky enough to be in.”

      We’re so fortunate to bear the fruits of the accident of your birth.

  15. Apodments are a terrible idea, and only serve to exploit lower income people.

    1. Yes far better that the poor be exploited by the likes of the Sisleys or Eric Hilton.

      If someone who can only afford $600/month for an apartment can’t rent an “apodment” where do you suggest they live so they don’t get ‘exploited’?

    2. Let me see if I understand these arguments:

      Small apartments are evil because, well, nobody should be forced to live in anything that small. (They’d probably rather live four to a two-bedroom anyways.)

      New condos are evil because people with money buy them, and developers profit from them. (Why don’t those developers build used condos? And why do they insist on making money?)

      Oh, and all highrise buildings are evil because they destroy somebody’s view somewhere.

      Did I miss anything?

      1. I never said any of those things other than the first point.

        And yes, lowering the standard of living for people is exploitation.

      2. There’s more to “standard of living” than sheer quantity of living space.

        Let’s accept that there will always be people who are not able to afford a one-bedroom apartment near the city center. Many of these people might be able to afford a one-bedroom apartment in the suburbs, but that could mean a commute of over an hour each way to work or school in the city.

        You might say the person taking that option has a higher standard of living than a person living in an apodment close to where they work or study, but the people living in those apodments would likely disagree with you. Given a limited income, it’s impossible to maximize everything. Apodment-dwellers made a choice to prioritize time over personal space.

        How is it “exploitation” to let the market provide more options for people with lower incomes? It sure would be great if everyone could afford a nice place across the street from their job, but that’s just not happening anytime soon.

    3. And thus Sam II switches from a conservative no-handouts position to a liberal the-poor-must-have-a-decent-amount-of-space position. Sounds like a troll rather than a dedicated conservative. There are two problems with this. First, why should people not have the option of a room in a transit-oriented neighborhood? (Transit-oriented neighborhoods are intrinsically more expensive because cities has ignored this demand so much that a huge imbalance has emerged.) Second, setting the minimum size of an apartment higher than what $600 can pay for means that inexpensive apartments won’t be built, period, which means Amy will have no choice but to double up or move to Kent.

      1. I for one am not surprised that “possibly ignorant” simultaneously holds contradictory views.

  16. There was a story on all this on KOMO News last night. It mentioned that someone was paying $850 for a room in one of those apodments. In whose universe is that affordable? Certainly not in mine. Amy is paying half of $1300, so $650, and she lives in a real apartment, presumably with a living room etc. To me that sounds reasonable in today’s market. I challenge you to find anything cheaper; I haven’t. Just like the anti-apodment crowd, you’re cherry-picking your data. Give me a break.

    Apodments can be whatever they are; affordable they are not. And if you think about it, why would developers offer affordable units when they can charge market rates and rake in a pile of dough?

    Here’s a link to the KOMO News story: http://www.komonews.com/news/local/Seattles-micro-housing-boom-draws-criticism-support-197695711.html?tab=video&c=y. It

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