Affordable housing project slated


Last updated 1/31/2023 at Noon

A City Council goal for 2022/23 is to identify land in the city and find a development partner(s) for a future multi-family workforce housing rental project. By December 2026 Sisters hopes to meet that goal.

The City received a proposal in August 2022 from NW Housing Alternatives (NHA) headquartered in Milwaukie, Oregon. Founded in 1982, NHA is a leading not-for-profit developer of affordable and workforce housing throughout Oregon. Their mission is to create individual opportunity through housing. The organization develops, builds, and asset manages rental housing designed for Oregonians in diverse populations, including families, workforce, seniors, veterans, and individuals experiencing disabilities.

What NHA proposes for Sisters is a minimum-40-unit apartment building with one-, two-, and three-bedroom units (and possibly some studio apartments) and amenities, including a community space and outdoor play area.

A funding source has been secured to support the housing. American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds of $500,000 were disbursed to the City by the Deschutes County Board of County Commissioners on January 11, 2023. NHA will also secure grants to cover portions of the expense.

The tentative housing location is a portion of a vacant lot at 322 N. Trinity Way in Sisters, currently owned by the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel (Wellhouse Church). Negotiations are currently underway between NHA and the property owner for a purchase-sale agreement for a portion of the property (one-and-a-half acres).

Rezoning of the subject property from urban area reserve to multi-family residential and several development code amendments are needed to facilitate the project. This is scheduled to go before the Planning Commission for review on February 2, for a work session where planning commissioners will learn more about the proposal from staff, and to ask clarifying questions in preparation for hearing the proposal at the February 16 Planning Commission public hearing.

At that hearing, the commissioners will be asked to render a decision on its merits after a staff report and public testimony. The City Council will consider it on March 8, 2023 (work session) and March 23, 2023 (public hearing). Partition and site plan review will also be required.

The draft agreement between the City and NHA states that a minimum of four months prior to issuance of certificates of occupancy and advertising of the general availability of units, a waitlist will be established in conjunction with local social services and providers to give local residents priority for the units.

The draft agreement for the project is still being negotiated and will be brought by staff to the City Council for approval when all matters are agreed upon.


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