Livable City Year

Pacific County 2022–2023

PC-01: Inventory of Properties in Need

PCEDC Project Leads: Susan Yirku and Kelly Rupp
Faculty: Katie F. Cote and Jess Zimbabwe
UW Department: Community, Environment and Planning
Quarter: Fall 2022

Pacific County is particularly challenged to provide a range of affordable housing choices. The demand for housing is increasing both as the county’s resident population grows and wage/income disparity fails to keep up with housing costs. Workforce housing is an increasing concern for area businesses, as are housing and services needs for an aging population and those with special needs or family situational issues. The attraction of Pacific County as a vacation destination both for short-term holiday renters and vacation home buyers further pressures the availability of affordable housing options by reducing housing stock which could otherwise support long-term residential tenants.

One strategy for increasing the housing stock across Pacific County to meet demand from low- to middle-income buyers and renters is to refurbish, replace, or re-purpose existing residential properties that are abandoned, foreclosed, in need of repair or rehabilitation, or only used seasonally. The county has significant numbers of homes that over 50 years old and whose maintenance has not kept up with the region’s harsh climate. In particular, mobile homes – although relatively inexpensive – are notoriously unsuited for Northwest climates. Many of Pacific County’s 2,700 mobile homes are believed to be in need of significant maintenance if not outright condemnation. Identifying properties in need of refurbishment or deserving of replacement is a fast-path to opportunities for investment in new and quality housing on these sites.

Objectives of this exercise include a parcel-identified database of vacant/abandoned/repairs-needed/tax-arrears/ordinance-infringing residential properties in each of four municipalities (Long Beach, Ilwaco, South Bend, Raymond) and in unincorporated Pacific County.

PC-02: Middle-income-friendly Housing Ordinances from Municipalities and County

PCEDC Project Leads: Susan Yirku and Kelly Rupp
Faculty: Katie F. Cote and Jess Zimbabwe
UW Department: Community, Environment and Planning
Quarter: Fall 2022

Building codes and zoning ordinances imposed by municipalities and county can
significantly influence development construction costs. The time and fees required for permitting and plan reviews may lead to increased financing costs, delayed construction starts, and unforeseen fees for permits and inspections. Regulatory predictability, consistency, and flexibility in oversight processes will contribute to private sector willingness to invest in affordable housing. All municipalities and county include goals to review and amend any development regulations that unnecessarily add to housing costs, development time, or otherwise constrain innovative housing solutions.

This project will assess city and county development ordinances related to housing, specifically those impacting density (multi-family dwellings), affordability, and zoning, including: zoning, permitting, use, ADUs, short-term rentals, developer incentives, development fees, and developer constraints. It will compare ordinances across jurisdictions (municipalities of Long Beach, Ilwaco, South Bend, and Raymond, plus Pacific County). In addition, it will compare these statutes with progressive jurisdictions (relative to affordable/attainable housing).

PC-03: Housing Ordinance Case Studies and Analysis

PCEDC Project Leads: Susan Yirku and Kelly Rupp
Faculty: TBD
UW Department: TBD
Quarter: TBD

Referencing the PC02 catalog of development ordinances, this project will assess consistency and equivalency across jurisdictions (municipalities of Long Beach, Ilwaco, South Bend, and Raymond, plus unincorporated Pacific County). In addition, it will compare these statutes with progressive jurisdictions (relative to affordable/attainable housing). It will analyze ordinance language and planning/permitting processes to suggest where development is being discouraged and where changes or amendments might better encourage middle housing development.

Interviews with municipal and county planners/permitters are encouraged to ensure comprehensive examination of formal and informal processes for building plans, permits, and licenses.

Convene workshops with county and city planning commissions to propose increased densities for housing within residential zones (ADUs, multi-plex densities), pre-approved housing plans for small units, consistent policies or ordinances county-wide for short-term rentals, priorities to include middle-income senior housing.

PC-04: Explore UGA amendment and/or areas swap per new GMA statute

PCEDC Project Leads: Susan Yirku and Kelly Rupp
Faculty: TBD
UW Department: TBD
Quarter: TBD

The recently-passed SB5593 enacts changes the Growth Management Act (GMA) to adjust an urban growth area to include new adjacent areas that are more appropriate for development while removing an equivalently-sized area less desirable for development (RCW 36.70A.110). The appeal of added land areas within municipal UGAs (supported by municipal water, sewer, transportation, and utilities infrastructure) is significant relative to zoning densities for new housing, potentially creating new lots for development or conversion of existing properties zoning towards increased densities or development flexibility.

Four municipal UGAs (Long Beach, Ilwaco, South Bend, and Raymond) and one county UGA (Seaview) are to be examined to propose additions/subtractions.

Ground-truthing (i.e., site visits) should be recommended and/or advice/suggestions from planners from each municipality to qualify proposed additions/subtractions. Digital GIS maps for all proposals are desired.

PC-05: Land Capacity Analysis

PCEDC Project Leads: Susan Yirku and Kelly Rupp
Faculty: TBD
UW Department: TBD
Quarter: TBD

A “Housing Needs Assessment” (HNA) includes a “Land Capacity Analysis” (LCA) as a necessary component. The Land Capacity Analysis is a methodology conducted by counties and cities to determine the amount of vacant, partially used, and under-utilized lands, as well as the redevelopment potential of built properties, to accommodate growth. This process identifies the potential for land within a community’s boundaries to accommodate anticipated housing growth, given its current zoning restrictions. Analysis is typically conducted with Geographic Information System (GIS) and should consider capacity by housing type: single family, 2-3-4-plex, and multifamily units. Counties and cities use a LCA to determine if the existing Urban Growth Areas (UGAs) can accommodate twenty years of urban growth.

PC-06: Housing Needs Assessment

PCEDC Project Leads: Susan Yirku and Kelly Rupp
Faculty: TBD
UW Department: TBD
Quarter: TBD

A “Housing Needs Assessment” (HNA) is a study to identify future housing needs to serve all economic segments of the community. Cities and counties planning under Washington State’s Growth Management Act (GMA) must conduct the assessment as part of their comprehensive plan updates. Pacific County municipalities (Long Beach, Ilwaco, South Bend, and Raymond) and the county itself completed their most recent Comprehensive Plan updates prior to the covid-19 pandemic and are unreflective of the pandemic-linked surge in home prices and rents. Pressures on affordable housing availability in Pacific County are compounded by its historical popularity as an ocean-side tourist destination with significant demand for vacation and seasonal homes. The pandemic further compounded the shortage of affordable housing as remote workers from across the country were attracted by relatively inexpensive housing compared to larger metropolitan areas.

U.S. Census historical data likely lags the recent 2020-2022 price increases and
population growth pressures experienced throughout the county. Insights into current housing availability and affordability are being sought with this HNA exercise.

PC-12: Willapa Bay Ferry Feasibility

PCEDC Project Leads: Susan Yirku and Kelly Rupp
Faculty: TBD
UW Department: TBD
Quarter: TBD

A pedestrian and bike ferry to connect the Port of Peninsula in Nahcotta with the
Tokeland Marina (and possibly Bay Center or South Bend) would complete a round-the-county tourism trail. Such a ferry business has been broadly supported by the community, but no formal feasibility study has documented its merits, risks, nor financial modeling. A proforma business plan needs be developed to detail breakeven scenarios of a successful small capacity boat service able to commercially operate between ports. Seasonal and year-round scheduling should be considered. The plan should outline operating costs (fuel, staff, maintenance), overhead (insurance, licensing, inspections), marketing and sales operations (online and in-person ticketing capacity, tourism bureau and tribal promotion linkage), and staff needs (roles, qualifications, necessary certifications/licensing). Comparable examples of tourist ferry operations should be identified and researched for best practices or cautionary lessons. Operating risks and liability concerns should be identified. Necessary WA State, Army Corps, and other regulatory authorities expected to provide oversight to the operation should be noted.