SISTERS, OR -- As Sisters grows, they city and its surrounding communities need to address the need for affordable housing. In a step in that direction, City Manager Cory Misley presented the final draft of a new affordable housing project to City Council, at Wednesday night's meeting. They unanimously approved the ordinance.
While most cities waive System Development Charges to entice contractors to build affordable housing, Misley says this program is different, "In the past, the city didn't have a set criteria, didn't have a set policy for how it supported affordable housing; and one of the things we're doing with this policy, with this program, is moving away from waiving SDCs and instead taking these dedicated grant dollars for affordable housing and using them in that respect." He tells KBND News, "The grant funds are largely going to be composed of a portion of our transient room tax, but there's a portion that's set aside specifically for affordable housing, and the city has a affordable housing reserve."
The new program outlines an application process and allows for future revisions, "It's part science, part art," says Misley, "This program gives us some flexibility while also having a set process in place, to adjust as we see what the needs are." A Housing Needs Analysis is currently being conducted, and Misley expects that will be done in June. That will provide the city with a more accurate prediction of future demographics to help determine what type of housing units are needed. He hopes construction of the actual projects can begin by next year.
Housing Works, the regional housing authority, celebrates the grand opening of a new affordable housing complex in Sisters on Friday. That celebration for Ponderosa Heights begins at 10 a.m.