Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Foothills Hearing with Video: No Changes to Resolution to Include Affordable Housing, Some Progress.

At the Tuesday Lake Oswego City Council meeting the City Council did not approve any changes to the Foothills Framework Plan resolution language to include affordable housing. 

Toward the end of meeting, project consultant Christie White acknowledged that the plan did not address affordable housing, even though her view was that it did not exclude it . [I have no doubt there may not have been intent, but I think fair reading of "market rate apartments" term used in the report is that it can't include below market rate /assisted units].

She also referenced the Oregon anti inclusionary housing statute to suggest that units could not be targeted for income groups. (My view is that this clearly has been resolved in development agreements in other urban renewal districts, so I don't see it as a substantial problem).

Video of the hearing is available for viewing on the web HERE, look for November 29th meeting

My short presentation appears at 1 hour, 31 minutes, and 30 seconds. (Who is that balding guy with the big head masquerading as me!) and the comment from Councilwoman Olson, which prompts response from consultant White, starts at 3 hours, 36 minutes, and 35 seconds.

Some other thoughts
  • Two council members who received my comments on Monday evening responded with email at 11:30 PM on Monday night. (Props to Mary Olson and Jeff Gudman).
  • More than 100 people attended and about 2/3rds stayed for entire 4 hour meeting.
  • While I was the only person who testified on the topic several colleagues sent written comments noting the absence of affordable housing in the plan and the need for affordable housing goals. Very much appreciated!
News Coverage.
Oregonian story HERE didn't mention affordable housing issue at all, instead focusing on walk out by one council member; Lake Oswego Review story HERE mentions my testimony in last paragraph.
The Needle Moved, But Time Will Tell
While amendments to the plan were not adopted, the topic is now clearly on the radar screen of City Council and their consultant, and the count/percentage of renter units needed for those below 60% MFI (according to the Lake Oswego housing needs analysis) is also on the record (35% or 579 units of the 1,653 apartment units). 

I will be talking and working with others to develop some follow up strategies in the coming weeks to insure that affordable housing is included in the plan and in development agreement.

Originally created and posted on the Oregon Housing Blog

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