The Newberg city council has started the ball rolling on several projects to encourage downtown redevelopment and help increase the supply of housing. First council gave initial approval to allow triplexes and duplexes in the R-1 zone. Some feel that could pave the way for many buildings to be torn out in the zeal for more affordable housing. Mayor Rick Rogers, who was on the original committee that helped recommend this change, says this zone option has been available in McMinnville and other cities and he feels lot size and other limitations will keep this from being abused.
A resolution to start looking at vertical housing regulations could allow Newberg to start growing upward. If fully implemented, it would give tax deferrals up to ten years to encourage mixed residential and commercial development in overlay zones to encourage more housing.
Another resolution would relax parking requirements downtown so not every residential unit would have to have a vehicle parking space, instead a fee in lieu of parking could help gather funds to pay for future parking. It’s felt strict parking requirements are stifling residential development, especially along second street. A city survey finds only 47 percent of downtown parking is utilized. Not everyone agreed with that assessment.
Yet another resolution passed would allow developers, especially along second street, to be allowed to build residential units on the first floor.
All of these proposed changes will be further discussed in the public hearings process and must still go through the planning commission review and come back in front of the city council for final acceptance. Despite some hesitancy, councilors felt they need to move forward with meaningful actions to encourage more housing.