Sleepless in Seattle: Will house-barge lifestyle slip away?

by Tim Flanagan on June 29, 2011

Seattle boat and barge dwellers are worried that proposed changes to the city’s Shoreline Master Program could make them hostage to fee increases by marinas, advice destroy the value of their investments and maybe even leave them stranded without a place to anchor their homes.

Erik Lacitis has the story in the Seattle Times:

hospital which have a motor and steering mechanism, viagra buy are classified as boats, but they don't have to be hooked up to a sewer line like a floating home. ” alt=”Timothy Hutchinson relaxes on his small house barge in Gas Works Park Marina in Lake Union on Sunday. Barges, which have a motor and steering mechanism, are classified as boats, but they don't have to be hooked up to a sewer line like a floating home. ” src=”http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/ABPub/2011/06/28/2015452833.jpg” width=”296″ height=”197″ />[COURTNEY BLETHEN RIFFKIN / THE SEATTLE TIMES: Timothy Hutchinson relaxes on his small house barge in Gas Works Park Marina in Lake Union on Sunday. Barges, which have a motor and steering mechanism, are classified as boats, but they don't have to be hooked up to a sewer line like a floating home.]

Drive along Lake Union and Portage Bay, or visit any number of the city’s marinas, and you’ll see a unique Seattle feature: people living in photogenic floating homes such as portrayed in "Sleepless in Seattle," and others who live aboard boats and in homes usually built atop barges.

"I get up in the morning, go sit in my little back porch and feed the ducks, watch the beavers, see the downtown skyline. When the boat moves, I get rocked to sleep. It’s beautiful," said Barbara Engram, 73, a retired landscape designer whose house barge is moored at the Gas Works Park Marina.

But if proposed city regulations were to be rigidly enforced, that idyllic life and homeowners’ financial security could be affected.

"This is my retirement. I don’t have a lot of money," Engram said. "If the value of my property tanks, the quality of my life would take a serious downhill turn."

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