The Newport City Council Tuesday evening approved housing plan changes to enable it to accommodate 500 new OSU marine science students along with 60 to 80 new faculty.
The city’s housing plan was modified to pull out all the stops to ensure that when the students arrive at South Beach, there will be places for them and their professors to live. But to do that will take some fancy dancing.
First off, the city wants Oregon State University to takes ownership of part of the challenge – to help find places for all those young folks to live. It’ll be a combination of “student housing” and new apartments scattered about Newport. The fly in the ointment is that Newport is estimated to have only a two to three percent housing vacancy rate which obviously can’t accommodate all the newcomers coming to attend or teach at the new OSU Marine Sciences classroom complex.
The housing plan update includes targeting areas of Newport where high density apartments would fit in with their immediate surroundings. The plan does not propose new apartment high rises going into the middle of traditional single family neighborhoods. There won’t be any of that, according to the plan, but there will be more housing like that located along major arterials with convenient access to public transit and already existing sewer and water service. The plan also seeks to simplify and streamline the city’s housing permitting and construction fee schedule, system development charges, and regulations on cottage and accessory use housing which can be added within traditional neighborhoods but with strict controls.
But, again, one of the biggest aspects of the plan is to put OSU on notice that Newport is in no position to take on a 7% bump up in population by itself. OSU is going to be expected to provide some of that housing either by building it and operating itself or by allowing a private entity to take it over. Such a student housing complex might be built near the Wilder housing development at the top of 40th near Oregon Coast Community College.
Much more dialog on all this, between the city of Newport and OSU, is very much on the horizon. OSU expects to begin construction on their new campus addition within the next couple of years.