By TESA GLASS
MT. VERNON — —
The City Council will be hearing a housing program proposal today during a special workshop session.
“(Joe) Zanola has already presented the information from the housing study the council approved,” City Manager Ron Neibert said. “He will be coming back to make a presentation on the specifics and costs of a housing proposal to decide how to proceed. ... The council is looking at the development of a promotional component and a marketing component.”
The housing study was approved by the council in June, choosing the Zanola Company LLC to perform the study and come up with a plan for getting additional housing developed in the city.
“There is currently an imbalance of housing needs and inventories in Mt. Vernon,” the completed study states. “This imbalance prevents an adequate quantity and quality of housing for the city of Mt. Vernon existing residents and for move-in residents. ... Contrary to Census population projections, Mt. Vernon’s general economy is strengthening with employment growth, improved regional health resources and by destination intersection revenues. A current impression of Mt. Vernon matches great economic growth, population loss trends and older vintage housing.”
Zanola has reported that housing is lagging behind economic growth, which is an atypical situation.
“There is great logical, data driven evidence that new housing is needed and that there should be a market for new housing in Mt. Vernon,” the housing study states. “Attracting residential developers and builders is an easy sell with positive population growth, but a difficult sell with population losses. Our conclusion is that housing creation is and will be needed in the city of Mt. Vernon. Mt. Vernon has the attributes to retain its citizenry and grow its population, with the exception of recognition of move-in population and the home-building industry. It is necessary for the city of Mt. Vernon to be recognized for its economic vibrancy, for welcoming new residents and for being open for home-building business.”
Neibert said the proposal to be presented today will include ways to increase housing opportunities in the community.
“It’s a marketing program, essentially,” Neibert said. “There is a need for 350 to 750 housing units, based on job creation that has taken place. This program will be a way to promote those opportunities.”