Veteran housing project moves forward

The lot behind Cottage Grove’s American Legion building has been acquired by Homes for Good and will serve as a space for affordable veteran housing.

Another step toward veteran housing in Cottage Grove was made Oct. 10 as the county’s housing authority Homes for Good Housing Agency presented plans to the community at the American Legion.

The presentation put potential designs on display for Legion Cottages, four proposed tiny homes for low-income veterans on a parcel of land behind the American Legion building between Main Street and Ash Avenue. The meeting gave community members an opportunity for feedback.

“When we start talking about any new development in our communities, we like to come out and meet the people who will be future neighbors to talk and show you what our thought process is,” said Homes for Good Communications Director Ela Kubok.

Homes for Good purchased the property from the American Legion and secured a $225,000 grant from Lane County to help with construction of the new homes.

At the meeting, Kubok presented designs created by University of Oregon architecture students through the university’s OregonBILDS program under the direction of professor Rob Thallon.

Thallon’s class has already made five affordable housing units in Eugene in partnership with Homes for Good.

“It’s a fantastic experience for the students to understand the relationship between what they’re designing as future architects and how it gets built,” Thallon said.

The homes, about 400 square feet, are each equipped with a bathroom, kitchenette, living space, loft and a small porch. The tiny home designs are intended to blend with the neighborhood and minimize impact by offering off-street parking.

Students’ site plans varied, but often included a central courtyard on the roughly 6,800-square-foot parcel.

Neighbors of the lot raised concerns about parking in the area when the American Legion hosts large events. 

“Let’s be real here: there’s going to be parking on the street without that parking lot,” said one local resident.

The prospect of heavy street parking during events remains an unresolved issue, though the city is evaluating parking designs which would make space for more vehicles.

Steve Ochs, real estate development director for Homes for Good, put preliminary price estimates on rent around $600.

Homes for Good serves primarily “very-low” or “extremely-low” income people.

Ochs said “low-income” may be defined as 60 percent or less of an area’s median income (AMI). Cottage Grove’s AMI hovers around $40,000 according to the United States Census Bureau.

Homes for Good also owns Riverview Terrace, an apartment complex across Main Street from American Legion.

“With the proximity of Riverview Terrace, our maintenance staff will be able to also serve these four tiny homes,” said Kubok.

The location would also allow veteran tenants to use laundry services at the complex.

Homes for Good has been eyeing other property in Cottage Grove, too.

Ochs expressed interest in more development opportunities on the property of the old Harrison Elementary School, which has recently been rezoned to R2 residential. The school district has recently released a request for proposal on the development of that property.

Final drafts are expected to be completed at the end of October and will be made available to the public. Approval for the development will come through the city’s Planning Commission, at which point citizens will have an opportunity to comment on the project.

Construction is anticipated to begin January 2020 and end in June.

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