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Recent city code changes have opened the door to new types of housing development

PMG FILE PHOTO - The Scappoose City Council approved changes to the city development code last year, paving the way for projects like cottage housing developments laid out like the Victorian Court senior apartments in Scappoose. Numerous housing developments are underway in Scappoose, some thanks to changes made last year to city codes.

One of those projects is a cottage housing development, or CHD, planned for the east end of Southeast Maple Street, past Southeast 4th Street.

With cottage housing, small homes up to 1,200 square feet are built on small parcels in groups, clustered around a common area. While residents own their own homes, a homeowners' association manages the green space that the cottages share with each other.

A developer is currently revising an application for the 12-unit CHD after receiving comments from city staff.

"The hope is it allows for more affordable housing," Scappoose City Planner Laurie Oliver said of the CHD option.

"It's a homeownership option on a smaller parcel," Oliver added.

The cottage option, similar to condos, appeal to young families or professionals who want to start building home equity and older adults who want to retain the independence of living in their own home but don't need much space, Oliver explained.

In February 2018, after completing a housing needs analysis, the City Council approved updates to 14 chapters of the development code aimed at promoting development of affordable housing. Those changes included adding CHDs as an option in residential zones, reducing the minimum lot sizes, and removing the city's eight-unit maximum for apartment buildings in some zones.

The changes were recommended by ECONorthwest, the consultants who completed the housing needs analysis and are currently working with the city on an urban renewal plan.

Multi-family housing "was the greatest need identified in the housing needs analysis," Oliver said.

The ECONorthwest report estimated Scappoose would see a need for 1,229 new homes within the next 20 years. Scappoose lacks sufficient housing options for low- and middle-income households, according to the report.

Oliver said the biggest hurdle in housing development in Scappoose is a lack of available land, but said Scappoose can be a relatively easy place for builders to work, with less bureaucratic challenges than building in larger cities.


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