A new committee and a consultant will analyze residential housing needs and plan for the future

With the understanding that every region in Oregon is experiencing similar troubles with housing availability and affordability, the city of Newberg has put together a citizens' advisory committee to analyze housing needs within the city.

Community Development Director Doug Rux said the city received a grant from the state Department of Land Conservation and Development to update its housing needs analysis, last done in 2004. The city hired ECONorthwest as consultants to assess the city's housing needs, develop measures to accommodate those needs, identify goals and actions to meet those needs, and develop a housing needs analysis.

Rux said this a "Goal 10" process, which is defined by the DLCD as providing "for the housing needs of citizens of the state." Goal 10 has a charter which outlines what the consultant must do for the city in the next seven months, as Rux said the analysis needs to be complete by June. The consultants are working on a residential land inventory, which should be done in January, before then moving on to a housing needs projection, then the analysis, and then they will look into measures for housing affordability.

"What it will tell us is if we have a need for additional residential land within the city of Newberg," Rux said. From there, he said the committee "will talk about how we efficiently use the land we currently have."

According to a recent committee meeting packet, the primary objective of the project is "to prepare hearings-ready draft comprehensive plan amendments to update the (Housing Needs Analysis) for the city." This includes the completion of a buildable land inventory, a housing needs projection, a residential land needs analysis and identifying measures for accommodating needed housing.

A buildable land inventory determines the residential land need; the housing need projection forecasts for 20 years; the residential land needs analysis takes the outcomes of the inventory and projection, and then addresses how much land and what zoning the city needs to accommodate housing needs, comparing supply and demand provided. And if that analysis determines there will be a deficit of land, the consultant will identify options for changes to the city's comprehensive plan and land use regulations needed to address housing needs.

"DLCD will provide technical assistance (via a consultant) to the city for the purpose of increasing the supply and affordability of housing within the boundaries of the city," the packet said. "Technical assistance will be provided to complete products needed to update comprehensive plans and zoning codes, or adopt other housing strategies, to help ensure the city can satisfy its housing needs. DLCD will hire consultants to also provide a code audit to help ensure the zoning code allows, and does not include barriers to, development of needed housing."

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