MONMOUTH — on Dec. 3, the Monmouth City Council passed a resolution to adopt their housing needs analysis.
“We’ve been working on this for the past year,” said Suzanne Dufner, community development director. “The purpose of the housing needs analysis is to inform us of whether or not we have sufficiently zoned and sufficient acreage for residential land and housing over the next 20 years. The good news is that we do have enough.”
She said they needed make three plan adjustments.
“One is updating our housing rules and policies to make sure that they address the city’s goals and provide that policy direction for our housing development,” Dufner said. “The second part is updating the housing element of our comprehensive plan. The third element we’re updating is the land-use element. That’s where we compare what the housing needs are with the land inventory and reconcile those numbers.”
She said commercial and industrial land needs haven’t been updated yet, but that is due in the near future.
“I will point out this is a long-range plan,” Dufner said. “We will need to review and update every five to 10 years.”
According to the analysis, Monmouth is a city of just less than 10,000 people and the 50th largest city in the state by population.
“Monmouth has experienced strong growth, growing 28 percent since 2000,” the report states. “In contrast, Polk County and the state experienced population growth of 30 percent and 21 percent respectively” according to U.S. Census and the PSU Population Research Center.
Because of Western Oregon University, there is a “significant student population living in a combination of group quarters and in rental housing within the city via the private rental market.”
In 2018, there were an estimated 3,464 households in Monmouth, an increase of 683 since 2000.
The percentage of families fell from 54 percent in 2000 to 48 percent in 2018, according to the report.
“The city has a much smaller share of family households than Polk County (68 percent) and the state (63 percent), likely due to the prevalence of university student households in the community,” the report states.
Councilor Byron Shinkle asked the practical implications of adopting the amendment.
“It says there’s no financial implication, but then I look through these policies and a lot of these policies seem to be aimed toward increasing the supply of low-income properties,” he said. “Low-income housing, which we know don’t generate tax revenue for the city, or a lot them don’t, like the new apartment buildings.”
Dufner said it is a long-range, 20-year plan.
“We haven’t necessarily thought of the longterm financial implications, but the intent of the plan is to make sure we have enough land in the right zones for the city,” she said. “We are required to have a comprehensive plan and to update that and review that periodically. So we’re meeting that land-use goal that we have. And I think the bigger implication is what we choose to pursue with the implementation strategy.”
She said they tend to focus on low- to moderate-income levels because the market usually takes care of itself for higher income housing.
“The more direct thing we have to figure out and budget for, plan for, is how are we going to transform this longterm plan and vision into boots on the ground,” Dufner said. “What are doing to update our development code, for example.”
She said cost is a barrier to housing that needs to be addressed.
“One of the examples of how we’re doing that is pursuing that code assistance grant through the state to try to take a look at our code and update some of those barriers,” Dufner said.
Shinkle said he wanted to make sure that “Monmouth gets to control as much as possible, control its own destiny and meet the needs of its local people.”
“The requirement that the city have a comprehensive land base for a variety of housing types and a variety of income levels, and a variety of housing prices, is a required of every city in Oregon,” said Lane Shetterly, city attorney. “It’s not as if we’re saying we’re becoming a receptor of a certain level of housing. What this looks at is demographic trends, population trends, income trends, to predict what our growth pattern is going to be.”