Preliminary approval has been granted for a 144-unit apartment complex slated to be constructed on Sunshine Road in the Diamond Lake Boulevard corridor.
Last week, the Roseburg Planning Commission unanimously approved a conditional use permit for the affordable housing project. The developers are Wishcamper Development Partners, LLC. The 9 acre property is located at the northwest corner of the intersection of Sunshine Road and Diamond Lake Boulevard, across the street from Sunshine Park.
Plans currently call for six, 24-unit apartment buildings, each three stories tall; a community building; playgrounds; and open areas and landscaping. The apartments will consist of one bedroom, one bath units covering 672 square feet; two-bedroom, one bath units covering 968 square feet; and three-bedroom, two bath units covering 1,176 square feet.
The proposed development has the backing of the Glide School District, which said in a letter of support that it could handle any extra students the apartments will bring. The Umpqua Public Transportation District also sent the developers a letter of support, saying it would be re-routing its bus routes once the apartments are built to provide services to residents living there.
There are a few conditions of approval outlined by the Planning Commission which must be completed by the applicant, said Roseburg Community Development Director Stuart Cowie. Once those are completed the developer must get final approval from city and county planners, Cowie said.
The as-yet unnamed complex is the third being built in the newly formed Diamond Lake Urban Renewal District, a designation that provides incentives in the form of deferred and waived fees normally associated with such projects.
The other two apartment complexes under construction are:
- Oak Springs Apartments, an 89-unit apartment complex on a 5-acre site at 331 NE Pomona St., near Diamond Lake Boulevard. Plans call for all of the apartments to be two-story, two bedroom, two bathroom units consisting of 968 square feet. Each apartment will have its own washer/dryer units and a balcony with a storage area. The complex will also feature an outdoor basketball court, the developer said.
- Deer Creek Village Apartments, a 67-unit apartment complex, being developed by NeighborWorks Umpqua, on 3 acres at 2843 NE Douglas Ave., just south of Diamond Lake Boulevard. Deer Creek Village. Plans call for 18 one-bedroom units, 41 two-bedroom units, and nine three-bedroom units. The apartments will be targeted for low-income individuals and small families. The complex will have a preference to rent to veterans but will not rent to them exclusively, NeighborWorks Umpqua officials have said.
The one thing all of these apartment complexes have in common is that the developers are taking advantage of savings offered through the city.
One incentive now offered in the Diamond Lake Urban Renewal District — waiving up to $5,000 per unit in what are known as system development charges — is already paying dividends. System development charges are fees that are collected when new development occurs in the city and are used to fund a portion of things like new streets, sewers and parks.
That provision could mean a savings of $720,000 for the 144-unit complex on Sunshine Road; nearly $410,000 for the developer of the 89-unit Oak Springs Apartments; and $315,000 in savings for NeighborWorks Umpqua’s 67 units at Deer Creek Village.
All of the new apartments are needed as city officials attempt to address a local housing shortage, especially when it comes to apartments.
A housing analysis completed last year showed an acute shortage of multi-unit housing, especially for low-income residents. The housing shortage is almost certain to worsen, with an additional 2,700 units needed to house the more than 5,500 people expected to move here in the next 20 years, the study determined.
The lack of affordable housing is a contributing factor to homelessness in the region, the study found. The housing crunch is exacerbated by the fact that a third of all city residents are considered very low income and can only afford to pay $650 a month in rent.
Victoria Hawks, a longtime real estate professional who sits on the Roseburg Planning Commission, said the apartment complexes coming online are much needed to address the housing shortage in the region.
“With this project and a couple of others on the way, I am hopeful most of the people who stop by our office desperately seeking rental housing will finally be able to find a place to live,” Hawks said. “It certainly would be better for all, rather than ‘couch surfing’ or renting motel rooms at a much higher cost.”