It’s been six years since an apartment building has gone up in Roseburg. Now, on the heels of a report outlining the dire need for such housing, it appears that’s about to change in a big way.
Three separate apartment complexes totaling nearly 300 units — all slated for the Diamond Lake Boulevard corridor east of downtown — are in various stages of development.
Developers have won initial approval to build an 89-unit apartment complex on a 5-acre site on Northeast Diamond Lake Boulevard and Pomona Street. Plans call for all of the units to have two bedrooms and two bathrooms.
Another developer has approached the city to discuss a possible 120-unit complex, also on Diamond Lake Boulevard. That proposal is still in the early stages and no paperwork has been submitted.
And only two weeks ago, NeighborWorks Umpqua held a groundbreaking ceremony to celebrate a 67-unit apartment complex it is developing on 3 acres in the 2800 block of Northeast Douglas Avenue, just south of Diamond Lake Boulevard.
On Monday night, the Roseburg City Council added a lengthy housing needs analysis to the city’s main growth planning document. The study 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.
The analysis will now become part of one of the city’s guiding documents for growth, known as the Roseburg Urban Area Comprehensive Plan. Adding the housing needs analysis to the plan gives city planners more ways to help spur the construction of apartment complexes.
For property managers like Carol Sabins, no analysis was needed to understand how critical the housing shortage is here. Sabins, who is with Centerpointe Property Management, sees it firsthand every day.
The almost complete lack of rental housing — underscored by a 1% vacancy rate — means Sabins is often forced to rent properties before they are vacated by the previous tenant, she wrote in a letter submitted last year supporting the housing study.
“It would be safe to say that Douglas County is currently in a housing crisis,” Sabins wrote. “Our population continues to grow, but we have no ability to house them. Even the mobile home parks are full.”
The housing analysis adopted by Monday’s City Council vote is intended to outline the problem and provide a number of possible remedies, including offering incentives to developers.
One such incentive now offered in the Diamond Lake Boulevard corridor — waiving up to $5,000 per unit in what are known as system development charges — is already paying dividends.
That provision could save Eugene developer Colin Kelley nearly $450,000, which he said is the reason he chose to build his 89-unit Oak Springs Apartments on Diamond Lake Boulevard and Pomona Street.
“That provides a huge benefit to me by lowering my costs,” said Kelley, principal at Timberview Construction Inc. “Those savings in the Diamond Lake area will have a huge impact on developments there.”
Timberview plans to build 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, Kelley said.
Rent will probably be around $1,200 a month, he said. Kelley is hoping to break ground in a month and the project should take about a year to complete.
NeighborWorks Umpqua will receive a waiver of nearly $315,000 for its 67 units at Deer Creek Village. Plans for Deer Creek Village call for a mix of studio and one and two-bedroom apartments housing 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.
Deer Creek Village officials said they expect to begin taking rental applications late next year and look for people to begin moving in sometime in 2021.
Little is publicly known about the third project, other than it would consist of 120 units and be located in the Diamond Lake corridor.