For the third time, the Coos Bay City Council agreed to use city funds to assist a developer planning to build 400 homes off Ocean Boulevard and Lindy Lane.
The vote last week did not offer any additional funding. Rather it combined the funds previously offered in a new agreement.
The development, known as Timber Cove, could eventually add 400 new stick-built homes in Coos Bay. The developer, Red Moon Development and Construction, originally approached the city about building a manufactured home community at the location. The city then agreed to share the cost for replacing a culvert in the area.
Due to limited supplies of manufactured homes during the COVID-19 pandemic, the developer came back to the city with the idea of changing to stick-built homes. The city then agreed to spend $1.2 million for wastewater infrastructure to offset higher costs to the developer.
The vote last week got rid of the first two agreements, with the city accepting a third agreement $1.475 million for the engineering, design and construction of a sewer pump station and force main. The money will come from the Water Quality Improvement Fund.
Under the agreement, the developer has four years to complete phase 1 of the project, approximately 139 homes, or the company must repay the city for its work.
Mayor Joe Benetti said he was glad to see the move to stick-built homes at the site.
“With stick built, would that not be better for us as far as general taxes,” the major asked.
“Much better because manufactured homes depreciate in value whereas stick built on appreciate,” City Manager Rodger Craddock answered.
Craddock said the developer has not given a start date for work, because the company is going through the land-use process with the city. Craddock added the developer has already spent close to $1 million on the project.
The plan is for smaller homes, mostly two- or three-bedroom homes, although the sale price is not known.
Several members of the council said they were happy to move forward, noting the city desperately needs more housing.
“I feel the city’s fortunate we’re going to have 400 homes,” Councilor Drew Farmer said. “This is back on track.”
Council President Phillip Marler eventually voted in favor of the agreement, but he said he concerns.
“I think I would be remiss if I didn’t restate my concerns about this type of agreement,” Marler said. “I have some real problems with it, but I do want to see the development go forward, so that’s where I’m torn. I just hope there’s enough in the agreement, enough teeth, so if something does go wrong, the city is made whole.”
Marler said the city has always made developers pay for the infrastructure, and he is uncomfortable changing the rules. But Marler was mostly alone in voicing concerns.
“Is there a 100% guarantee all this is going to work? No,” Benetti said. “But I think we need to be cognizant that we need 500 homes in the area. This will provide 400.”
Craddock told the council the same developer has recently finished 13 homes in a different part of the community and is planning to build more. The developer also has a good record in other communities.
“Times are different than they have been in the past,” Benetti said. “Without this type of agreement, we wouldn’t have this project.”
After the discussion, the council voted unanimously to approve the agreement for Timber Cove.