Affordable housing is a goal of the Astoria City Council, and therefore it is important that the City explores the present and future needs for such housing and looks to innovative and cost effective options to meet those needs. The results of a completed survey determined that the City of Astoria has a shortage of housing. Both market rate and affordable units are in short supply creating a dilemma for new and existing residents. Demand is far outstripping supply as the annual number of units being produced are fewer than what is needed, causing prospective homeowners and renters to look elsewhere for housing. There are also implications for workforce development; if no additional housing is created, it becomes an economic development issue as businesses have difficulty recruiting new employees. In order to address the problem, the City of Astoria needs to create a housing strategy and a work program to implement the strategy.
The first step in addressing this housing issue was to prepare a formal Housing Study. Housing Study
The City Council held a work session on September 14, 2015 to review the Affordable Housing Study. City staff also invited a panel of key stakeholders in the affordable housing arena: Jim Tierney - Community Action Team, Elaine Bruce - Clatsop Community Action, Todd Johnston - Northwest Oregon Housing Authority, and Jared Rickenbach - North Coast Building Industry Association. This allowed the City Council to dive deeper into the affordable housing issue and ask important questions as it relates to problem solving for Astoria. Subsequently, the City staff presented an affordable housing strategy to the City Council on November 2, 2015. The City Council directed staff to implement the following actions:
- Establish a vacant house registry to track vacant residences and encourage turnover of vacant homes.
- Propose amendments to the Development Code that would encourage more production of all housing types. See proposed text amendments before the Planning Commission on February 23, 2016.
- Explore more public-private partnerships with local housing providers, including non-profit and for profit developers and property managers who are interested in developing more housing.
- Diversify public funding sources to incent gap financing of affordable housing.
- Review existing codes and policies regarding vacation rentals, homestay lodging, and bed and breakfast establishments.
Each of these actions have different timelines and public review requirements. Staff will be presenting each as opportunities and needs arise and as time permits.
September 14 City Council Work Session Glossary and Presentation
November 2, 2015 City Council Memorandum
February 23, 2016 Planning Commission Work Session - Proposed Code Amendment A16-02
March 22, 2016 Planning Commission Work Session - Proposed Code Amendment A16-02
March 31, 2016 Joint Cities/County Meeting - Housing Presentation
April 26, 2016 Planning Commission Work Session - Proposed Code Amendment
July 12, 2016 City Council Power Point Presentation