Lincoln County Commissioners this week expressed a deep interest in partnering with the city of Newport to create affordable and work force housing for Newport residents.
Newport initially extended a helping hand to the county, proposing that both would invite developers to build affordable and work force housing inside the city limits of Newport with no property taxes associated with the project. In this case, south of NE 4th. The area is zoned for multi-family and has easy access to mass transit.
Another olive branch included affordable or workforce housing in Newport that included 20% affordable housing and the rest market rate housing. And in so doing, property taxes would be reduced…not completely…but SOME.
Samaritan Family Housing executive director Lola Jones says she’s very pleased that the county and Newport are teaming up to make affordable housing even possible in Newport. She says the scarcity of affordable housing is severe. Jones said her organization is already exploring more affordable housing in the Newport area by partnering with outside non-profits like Commonwealth Properties out of Portland, Northwest Coastal Housing and Willamette Neighborhood Housing Solutions.
Jones says they’ve also been in touch with local developers and construction firms eager to bring affordable housing back to the Central Coast.
The discussion then shifted to the amount of property taxes the city of Newport and the County might suffer under such a development plan. Jones says the loss to the city and the county is more than made up by families being able to find a place to live and not be a law enforcement burden on the taxpayers, and cost impacts to Lincoln County Schools. Families that qualify for such housing also would have more family disposable income to spend in local stores and be able to have mom and dad be working rather than trying to hold their families together from the back of an SUV or travel trailer.
The Newport City Council has already tentatively ratified an agreement with the county to make all this happen but the county still has to go through a public hearing on the matter later in the month. But the county commission appears more than ready to partner with Newport to create more opportunities to provide decent housing for low income families.