The Newport City Council Monday night raised the issue again whether the city should slap a moratorium on new vacation home rentals. After a lot of back and forth the council voted to NOT enact a moratorium. Instead they told city planner Derrick Tokos to work with the planning commission who will then work with a wide ranging citizens group (members for and against and neutral on the issue) and hold public hearings and get everything out in the open so the issue will be ripe for a city council decision maybe in ten months.
On another housing issue, the council approved new rules that allow adding smaller additions to lots that already have a house on them. They’re not tiny houses per se, but they are smaller. Such “accessory dwelling units,” (ADUs) will be allowed only one per lot.
And the city is moving ahead on making it easier to build affordable housing. For instance, charges for sewer, water, streets and other costs on a new home right off the top in their building permit (called system development charges SDCs) will now be tied more to their square footage rather than a one-amount-fits-all approach that has been in effect for years. Instead of an average SDC running around $11,000 per home, smaller homes can scoot through paying $6,000. Construction Excise Taxes will also raise money toward affordable housing but the amount of money and how it would be distributed is being studied by the city’s community development department in partnership with a citizens advisory committee. With a lot of analysis and dialog the goal is to determine a system of distribution of those funds that is “fair.”
On the actual construction front, Wilder is expected to build 28 new housing units in the near future. Another developer is expected to add 66 new apartments off NE 36th. These efforts may or may not help to push down local rental rates but it’s certainly a step in the right direction.
Another incentive to build more affordable housing is found in new state rules that make it easier to build affordable apartments. They’re aimed at families at 60% or below local median family incomes – in this case – in the Lincoln County area. But the principle applies statewide.
And something else…the city council approved the installation of flashing signs at a number of pedestrian cross-walks across Highway 101. When completed, they will be flashing at SW Bailey, SW Abbey, NW 3rd, NW 10th and NW 15th.