College Place City Hall

College Place City Hall

College Place sealed the deal last Tuesday on a citizen-driven endeavor protecting the city’s affordable housing. This is a win for the whole valley.

With a unanimous vote, CP City Council will reinstate mobile home park zoning to Sunset Villa and Country Estates. Additionally, the city will implement other measures that give residents a fighting chance should the land their homes are on ever be in danger of sale and redevelopment.

In these times of uncertainty, it is heartening to see this local city government listen to its residents and make changes accordingly. Affordable housing is a key concern for those in our Valley and it is crucial not only to create opportunities for more diverse housing but protect what we already have.

Yes, the landowners affected by this move have assured residents from the beginning that redevelopment was not in the cards. Resident displacement, however, was still an uncomfortably possibility.

“Through the course of some affordable housing studies and some notification from one of the concerned residents, it’s come to the city’s attention that it’s possible that because of the change of the zoning to multi-family residential, we may have inadvertently created a situation where manufactured home parks are threatened with the possibility of redevelopment,” said Jon Rickard, College Place community development director.

Restoring mobile home park zoning is a necessary proactive move and we applaud this strengthening of our affordable housing supply.

And this is not the last on diversifying our housing supply.

College Place, Walla Walla, Dayton and Waitsburg are working together to develop a regional housing plan. “That plan requires that city leaders not only look at ways to encourage new growth, but also consider ways to avoid displacing low-income residents through redevelopment, which could potentially replace low-income housing with more expensive units,” according to the U-B’s Emry Dinman.

Housing security is essential for a healthy community. It enables students to focus on school, workers to engage in careers, seniors to enjoy retirement and residents to participate in their communities.

The bottom line is that this Valley needs affordable and diverse housing.

We applaud the City Council for their responsive action and for moving to protect the Valley’s manufactured home communities. We are also glad for the comments of the owners of local manufactured housing communities assuring residents of long-term housing security.

Let’s keep protecting and growing our Valley’s diversity in housing.