This week we had a panel discussion how we as a community might help support more attainable and affordable housing development by identifying land that might be made available for socially-purposeful building.
Our panelists included
- Greg Holmes, 1000 Friends
- Margaret Van Vliet, Trillium Advisors
- Jason Elzy, JCHA
- Anne Marie Alfrey, RVCOG
- Daryn Murphy, Developer
- Josh LeBombard, DLCD
The questions addressed
- The challenge with land availability – JCHA, urban renewal agencies, developers
- Other communities – How do others solve for land availability?
- Portland Surplus City Property
- Eugene buys suitable land and banks it – summary here
- Genesee County Land Bank, MI – buys all tax lien properties
- Community involvement – How can various sectors and citizens support the project?
- Identify possible lots and their owners to project leads
- Encourage owners to discuss the possibility of making their land available
- Who leads – What team should lead the project to develop a land bank or list?
- RVCOG, urban renewal agencies, SOREDI, LTRG, or ?
- Securing land – What form of transaction could work? Right of first refusal? Land lease? Fee simple? Cities leasing surplus land.
- Housing as infrastructure – What would be different if we thought of housing as community infrastructure? An expert, Jacqueline Waggoner and her testimony
Our key takeaways were:
- The challenge
- Because buildable, well-located land is so valuable, it’s important to find sellers who have a patient, community-oriented approach to making it available for affordable and attainable housing development.
- Medford has done a good job of rezoning to support housing and inventorying their unbuilt lands. Other cities can still do that work.
- Daryn Murphy: In a market like Jackson county and all over the state, for that matter, a lot of property owners don’t want to wait that that timeline out so you’re hopeful that, when you initiate conversations with a property owner that they have a an altruistic mindset and maybe you can convince them that this is the right thing to do, and that waiting is going to be beneficial to the Community, but not everybody unfortunately has that has that outlook so it’s it’s often very challenging to get owners to to cooperate.
- Actions underway
- Commercial and religiously zoned lands can now be used for affordable housing development. For attainable housing too? A policy update?
- HB 2001 aims to make more missing middle by upzoning all single family lots to multifamily, ADUs.
- HB20918 – inventory all surplus lands made publicly available.
- Medford has annexed some urban reserves to add more land for housing
- Other communities
- Margaret: Sonoma County created a Council of Infill Builders and coordinated what the jurisdictions could offannexing some urban reserveser in terms of land and incentives to build housing.
- In Colorado the Congregation Land Campaign worked to inventory and make available faith-based organization’s land for housing.
- Community involvement
- Could we look at how we could offer landowners a capital gains tax credit if they sell to an affordable housing developer? Could the state offer a credit equal to the federal capital gains tax on the sale?
- How to incorporate and finance utilities to marginal agricultural lands that could be repurposed to housing?
- Who leads
- Should be a nonprofit organization, not a government agency.
- Outreach to landowners is the key to success
- Securing land
- Purchase is often best for everyone, but leases can work
- Leases create an issue with lien seniority for lenders and the lessor. Can we find models for how this can work and statistics on the true scope of the issue?
- Housing as infrastructure
- How to include this and the related systems development work into the jurisdictions’ capital improvement planning processes? Without tying to this, there’s no funding for housing as infrastructure.
- How to create prohousing community understandings that stable housing lowers healthcare and law enforcement costs. Housing is far less expensive than prison and ER visits. Educate the public on social determinants of health.
- We need more innovation around housing product types – smaller, built offsite, more density – and around finance – how public investment can set the table for private investment (systems development, land acquisition and entitlements, low income tax credit, public assumption of some risks that cause lenders to increase rates, appraisal practices to support innovation rather than hinder it because of the “no comps” problem.
- What can we do now?
- LTRG/R3V Housing Working Group to host a conversation around which organizations might hold this effort. SOREDI? LTRG? UnitedWay? Cascade Builders’ Association?
- Design what structures and processes will be required to do this work in consultation with the Congregation Land Campaign
- Support LTRG in hiring a dedicated housing advocate who can lead this effort.
- Begin outreach via our community connections to faith and fraternal organizations. Mapping suitable lots and reaching out to owners, etc.
- Experiment and learn to build a process that really works.
- The meeting agenda is here.
- Chat transcript here
- Full transcription of the conversation
Thanks to all who participated!