Newport officials push for affordable housing 

City officials started looking at ways to expand affordable housing construction in Newport similar to the current low-income housing development shown here, Surf View Village, currently under construction in Agate Beach. (Photo by Madeline Shannon)

NEWPORT — City officials are trying to push forward affordable housing efforts in Newport, mulling over solutions that might spur development of homes and apartments for those who live and work here. 

As local regulations stand now, residential developers are on the hook for multiple construction and public works projects surrounding a new home or building. The cost of the land itself, taxes and title insurance, building permit expenses, architectural and engineering costs and costs for earthwork, demolition and contractor work, among many other expenses, all leave the developer out-of-pocket hundreds of thousands of dollars, possibly more. 

“You have a good example up there of an affordable housing project at the Surf View Village that’s under construction,” said Derrick Tokos, community development director for the city. “They asked for and received a 10-year property tax exemption, and they had to provide and spell out their full set of costs with that. So we normally don’t get that with any individual development.”

City staff is looking at ways to ease the financial burden on developers, hoping to spur more construction of affordable housing. These options, ranging from requiring developers to construct thinner streets on and around developed property to sharing the cost of some charges with the developer, might spur the kind of construction that would expand affordable housing in the city.

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