The level of interest in the construction of multi-family housing in Cannon Beach is on the rise, according to Jeff Adams, the city’s community development director.

“It’s a growing trend across the nation,” Adams said. The State of Oregon recently passed HB 2001, which requires cities with a population of 10,000 or greater to permit duplexes to be built on land zoned for single-family housing.

However, both Adams and Kevin Cronin, the assistant city manager of Warrenton, say single-family home construction still outnumbers multi-family in those two cities.  

Clatsop County and its municipalities recently partnered to commission a study to look at the area’s housing needs, as stated on the county’s website. In that study is a section on “strategies,” which addresses the issue of zoning density and multi-family housing.

“Strategy 1: Ensure Land Zoned for Higher Density Uses is not Developed at Lower Densities,” as stated in the study published in January 2019. “Most of the cities in Clatsop County allow for development of new single-family detached homes in their medium- and high-density zones.

“While having a mix of housing types in these zones is not in and of itself a bad thing, it is important to preserve an adequate supply of land designated for medium and high density for higher-density housing forms – townhouses, triplexes, fourplexes and multi-family dwellings.

“This is important from both a land efficiency perspective and to make sure that each city continues to have an adequate supply of land available for these types of housing. Specific actions to implement this strategy include:

• “Update development codes to not allow (or prohibit) new single-family detached housing in high density zones.

• “Allow single-family detached homes in medium density zones only if they meet minimum density or maximum lot size requirements.

• “Allow continued use and repair of single-family homes in these zones and allow conversion of larger single-family homes into multi-unit dwellings (e.g., duplexes or triplexes).”

Adams said Cannon Beach has yet to implement any of the strategies in the study. The city will look at its comprehensive plan again next spring, he said. “Hopefully, that will launch an analysis of these conversations with builders interested in more dense and multi-family housing,” said Adams.

Middle- and low-income workers in Cannon Beach struggle to find affordable housing, he said. “We don’t have that much land left for building … but we are seeing more interest in multi-family, such as duplexes, (fourplexes) and townhomes.”

There is more “flexibility in the housing market than there used to be,” said Adams

Sea Lark is an eightplex in downtown Cannon Beach that is nearly completed and will primarily provide “workforce housing” for area contractors’ construction workers, he said. Cannon Beach does not have “too many multi-family units (under construction), but we are seeing some coming through.”

Cronin said construction of all types of housing has been increasing in Warrenton. The city has the available flat land on which to build.

“There is a huge demand for housing in general,” he said. “Pacific Rim Apartments was completed in six months and it is already filled up.”

Skipanon Apartments is under construction and will contain 37 units, he said. Also, local builders are constructing attached townhomes in the $250,000 to $300,000 price range.

The City of Warrenton did its own housing study and is in the process of making changes in its code to allow for different housing types, said Cronin.  “Attached housing such as townhomes, duplexes and triplexes will now be allowed in certain single-family zones.”


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