The Newport City Council Monday evening took on two big issues: getting a handle on the frequently aggravating aspects of vacation rental dwellings, or VRD’s as they’re called, and the emergence of an actual new affordable housing apartment building on NE 60th off North 101.
The VRD issue has been bubbling and burbling for several years in Newport – and ALL over Newport. The council decided that they’re serious about preventing VRD’s from popping up in regular neighborhoods – frequently disrupting them with loud, late night raucous parties – especially during the summer months. Newport residents are similar to residents all over the country – if they wanted to live in a motel district, they’d move to one.
The city council finally took the VRD industry by the horns and “lowered the boom” so-to-speak by limiting the density of VRDs so there aren’t so many of them packed together like a row of loud college fraternity houses. The council adopted an ordinance that works to reduce the number of VRDs being established in neighborhoods far away from tourist related areas of town – sometimes even far from the beach. From now on, the city will focus VRDs in tourist commercial areas, close to the beach, theaters, pubs, restaurants and other attractions. Other VRDs that have popped up in inappropriate parts of town will be phased out over of a number of years depending on their use and ownership patterns. If they’re not used enough, or are sold, that will likely take them off the VRD rolls.
City Manager Spencer Nebel and Mayor Dean Sawyer observed that limiting the number of VRDs will help preserve Newport’s already scarce supply of housing – especially the near nonexistent availability of lower cost affordable housing.
And speaking of affordable housing, the council approved a soon-to-be constructed 110 unit low cost, federally subsidized apartment project. It’s a partnership between the private and public sectors and aimed at low income families who are currently living rather difficult lives, teaming up with other families sharing rather cramped quarters in every state in the nation. The project for Newport will be built off North 101 and NE 60th. Average rents will be around $615/month and all applicants must prove they qualify for that amount. There’s one, two and three bedroom apartment versions. Start of construction is expected shortly.