The City of Roseburg is looking for ways to encourage more affordable housing, and wants to hear from the public on one approach to do that.

City officials are asking the public to take a 10-minute survey about some possible changes to city code that are intended to bring in more affordable housing options in the form of so-called “middle housing.”

But those wishing to take the survey need to hurry — the current deadline is Thursday, although that may be extended, said Eric Johnson, a city spokesperson.

To take the survey go to http://bit.ly/37TMrfM. It was posted on the city’s website and Facebook page about a month ago, Johnson said. As of Tuesday morning, 20 people had taken it, he said.

“This survey is part of the public outreach process of adopting the code changes for middle housing to occur within the city,” Johnson said. “We are trying to get public feedback on the proposed changes.”

The shortage of affordable housing is already an issue in Roseburg and only expected to become more acute as the population grows. The growing problem was highlighted in a housing study done last year, which showed there will need to be more than 2,600 new housing units built in the next 20 years to accommodate the expected population growth.

To address this housing shortage, the City of Roseburg is pursuing changes to its municipal code that are intended to provide greater opportunities for more affordable housing. The changes are the result of work being done by Roseburg’s Community Development Department and supported by a grant from the Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development.

The proposed changes will allow for more “middle housing,” which is defined by the state as types of housing that are more affordable and meet the needs of low-income households who do not necessarily require the large space of a single-family detached home. Examples of middle housing include duplexes, triplexes, townhomes, and cottage clusters. In 2019, the state passed House Bill 2001, which allows Oregonians to develop middle housing in cities based on population criteria.

Currently, city code does allow some, but not all middle housing options to be developed within the city. Of the middle housing options that are allowed, new guidelines and revisions will be required by the state to ensure that these options are more attainable to residents and developers.

To assist in the process of adopting changes in the Roseburg municipal code, the city has created a Stakeholder Advisory Committee. The committee consists of housing industry professionals, whose knowledge and experience will help guide city staff to adopt code changes that are in line with House Bill 2001.

For more information about the middle housing project, visit the Community Development Department’s special projects page.

Questions can also be directed to the Community Development Department at cdd@cityofroseburg.org, or 541-492-6750.

Scott Carroll can be reached at scarroll@nrtoday.com or 541-957-4204. Or follow him on Twitter @scottcarroll15.

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(3) comments

mworden

I filled out the survey. I am in favor of allowing denser building standards, such as triplexes on a single lot or a group of small cottages on a single lot. This requires changes in current planning standards, such as setbacks.

My main concern is that the integrity of existing neighborhoods be maintained, that needs for increased parking and increased traffic not be allowed to disrupt residential streets in quiet neighborhoods, and that views from existing homes not be blocked by tall buildings.

It makes no sense to lower the livability in existing neighborhoods in the effort to create affordable housing for more people. Developers have a tendency to want to plow right through existing neighborhoods of affordable houses. Perhaps that's because they know people in more affluent neighborhoods have the resources to hire lawyers and appeal all the way to LUBA, adding expenses for the developer.

It's up to the city to protect the livability and integrity of existing neighborhoods while updating the Land Use and Development Ordinance.

NJ

Looked through the survey, it seems to want to address architectural style with number of units for housing. What's shortsighted is that there will be an increased number of people and children whose autism spectrum limitations won't allow them the ability for individual housing. Many in cities are learning to group together in order to share the financial burden. My suggestion would be specifically designed group homes that could accommodate a number of people who need the support of others like them in order to afford housing. Yes, this is my soap box. One in 54 children are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, most prevalent in boys. As they get older they eventually lose the support of their parent(s). They will need support and support from others like them can keep them from feeling disenfranchised and falling into poverty, homelessness and crime. It's a long term support is needs addressed sooner rather than later. Our genetics caused it, and it's growing. Two years ago 1 in 86 children diagnosed, today 1 in 54. Read about it here: https://www.autismspeaks.org/autism-statistics

mworden

It's okay to have a soapbox, NJ. Without people on soapboxes, marginalized folks who don't have the skills to access the system themselves might end up suffering alone without the support they need and deserve.

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