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Housing Hope proposes new plan on Norton

Graphics courtesy Housing Hope

These mockups show the proposed row of houses along Norton Avenue (above graphic) and a sketch for one of the three-story apartment units to be built on the site.

EVERETT — Giving a second try, the nonprofit Housing Hope last month introduced a revised site plan to put an affordable housing complex on three acres of the Norton Playfield at 36th Street and Norton Avenue.
Instead of one building, the proposal is now 11: A cluster of four groups of three-story townhomes in the back, and seven single-family houses fronting Norton Avenue which its architect is designing to match the neighborhood. Access to the townhomes would be from Grand Avenue.
Formerly homeless families in the Everett School District would live in the 44 units. The school district is leasing the site to Housing Hope for this goal.
Housing Hope anticipates most of the children residing at the site would attend nearby Jackson Elementary and Sequoia High School. Jackson is a half-mile away; the development site practically backs up to the campus at Sequoia, which is Everett’s alternative-learning high school. A trail will be built to the high school.
Housing Hope is asking for the eastern section of the land to be upzoned, and the Norton-Grand Historical Overlay removed in this section, to assure avoiding the zoning conflicts which last year sparked a six-month legislative moratorium on low-barrier homeless developments citywide.
Property managers and neighborhood relations staff would be on-site, and the families would receive counseling and parent advisers, Housing Hope’s CEO Fred Safstrom said at a July meeting discussing the project. The families cannot bring pets, and smoking will be at a designated area on the site to avoid annoying neighbors.
The site plan shows a public park in the northern piece of the site, and also a playfield for residents. There will be 53 parking spaces.
On July 22, Housing Hope sent its development application to the city. It anticipates the project will move quickly through the city’s Planning Commission and City Council for consideration. Safstrom said he thinks the proposal might arrive at the City Council in September.
He said construction would begin summer 2022 and conclude 12 months later.
The zoning issue, and the moratorium, came about because Everett’s planning code set up a bypass measure for developments benefiting homeless individuals to allow multifamily housing in single-family residential zones, known as R-1 zones, if the land is publicly owned. The bypass was introduced in 2016 to encourage projects using the “Housing First” model of low-barrier supportive housing.
Neighbors to this site were up in arms after the first plan was announced in May 2019.
Housing Hope formed a workgroup with the neighborhood to shape the project; this revised site plan is similar to a plan developed in September. July’s workgroup meeting, which media members were invited to attend by Housing Hope, came with the announcement the nonprofit made a new application with the city.
The meetings are held on the 4th Wednesday of every month from 6-7:30 p.m. via Zoom, with the next one scheduled for Aug. 26. To ask for meeting access information, email
The site plan drawings are available at



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