Housing needs may get help from the state

City Councilor Jake Boone, sitting in for Mayor Jeff Gowing during the May 14 council meeting, announced that an often neglected item that allows council to add to the agenda would be neglected no more. At least, for one night. Th e council voted to add an item concerning a housing strategy implementation plan to Monday night's agenda aft er city staff learned of the opportunity late Friday afternoon.

"The Oregon Department of Lane Conservation and Development is currently accepting requests for planning assistance from cities and counties to update comprehensive plans...," public works and community  development manager Faye Stewart told the council.

Affordable housing has been the discussion of several council meetings as well as the catalyst for Faye and councilor Mike Fleck to begin meeting with contractors and developers to explore the obstacles they face in doing business in Cottage Grove.

In March of this year, local realtors placed rent in Cottage Grove between $600 for a one-bedroom apartment to $1,600 for a three-bedroom apartment.

According to Stewart and city planner Amanda Ferguson, the city is currently contracted to update its housing needs analysis, a study that reports on the city’s buildable land. Stewart told the council Monday night that one of the recommendations stemming from the document will be to develop a housing strategy imple- mentation plan. “(It) will let us delve into different tools to improve housing in Cottage Grove,” Stewart said.

Under the Oregon Department of Land Conservation’s program, cities can request assistance with the development of housing needs analyses, code audits, code updates and housing strategy implementation plans, according to Stewart’s office.

Projects that receive aid from the program must be completed by June 30 of 2019. The housing needs analysis, currently being complied by Echo Northwest, is expected to be on the council’s agenda in August. 

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