Project Overview

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What is the Housing Action Plan?

The City of Camas is creating a Housing Action Plan to encourage housing diversity, affordability, and access to opportunity for people of all incomes. The goal of this plan is to help the community achieve a greater variety of housing types and costs to better meet the needs and desires of individuals and families.

The Housing Action Plan will:

  • Rely on thorough data and an inclusive public participation process to understand current and future housing needs.
  • Assess existing housing resources and policies and identify ways to build on or improve them.
  • Outline specific strategies the City of Camas plans to take to meet the community's housing needs over the next ten years and beyond.
  • Further the city's comprehensive plan housing goals and be adopted by City Council.

The Camas Housing Action Plan is being funded through a grant from the Washington State Department of Commerce. To learn more about the state's program, click here to see their Housing Planning guidance.


Why Should I Get Involved?

The people who live and work in Camas have a wide range of unique housing needs and preferences. To best understand what types of housing the city needs, we want to hear from you!

A successful Housing Action Plan will reflect everyone's ideas and be built on a strong understanding of the city's challenges and opportunities. We need your input to shape this plan! Register for the site and share your perspective by:

Sharing your Housing Stories

Talking about Housing Types

Have questions about the project? Ask us below - we're listening!

What is the Housing Action Plan?

The City of Camas is creating a Housing Action Plan to encourage housing diversity, affordability, and access to opportunity for people of all incomes. The goal of this plan is to help the community achieve a greater variety of housing types and costs to better meet the needs and desires of individuals and families.

The Housing Action Plan will:

  • Rely on thorough data and an inclusive public participation process to understand current and future housing needs.
  • Assess existing housing resources and policies and identify ways to build on or improve them.
  • Outline specific strategies the City of Camas plans to take to meet the community's housing needs over the next ten years and beyond.
  • Further the city's comprehensive plan housing goals and be adopted by City Council.

The Camas Housing Action Plan is being funded through a grant from the Washington State Department of Commerce. To learn more about the state's program, click here to see their Housing Planning guidance.


Why Should I Get Involved?

The people who live and work in Camas have a wide range of unique housing needs and preferences. To best understand what types of housing the city needs, we want to hear from you!

A successful Housing Action Plan will reflect everyone's ideas and be built on a strong understanding of the city's challenges and opportunities. We need your input to shape this plan! Register for the site and share your perspective by:

Sharing your Housing Stories

Talking about Housing Types

Have questions about the project? Ask us below - we're listening!

Questions about the plan? Just ask!

Post your questions about the Camas Housing Action Plan and a project staff member will respond. Please note that questions will not be published here until a staff response is submitted.

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    I find it classist and disrespectful to lower-income households, seniors and others you assume won’t have a car. (This is excerpted from a comment received by the City of Camas via email.)

    5 months ago

    Current studies (attached pdf) demonstrate that renters tend to own less vehicles than homeowners. Most cities, like Camas have minimum parking standards that are out of date, and are considered to be regressive. Based on typical development costs, one parking space per unit increases costs approximately 12.5 percent and two parking spaces can increase costs by up to 25 percent. The city could study parking management strategies to increase affordability, economic efficiency and equity.

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    Thank you for responding to my email. Your point about the average housing density doesn’t make me feel better. It has been proposed that on existing land various types of housing can be jammed into existing space. This would be different than your statement saying existing zoning would not be changed. The to-be-developed areas will have a minimum of 6 units per acre rather than an average of 6 units per acre. That is a huge difference! And a fee to developers if they don’t do so! To top it off, the city would be mandating that for ALL residential areas. How often is it wise to make blanket statements of any kind? Common sense should prevail, and the city can decide zoning as property comes up. Some inclusionary housing sounds like a reasonable idea. But why would you reduce the parking requirements while adding more housing? One of your examples is Tigard OR. When you think of Oregon or Washington, do you think of a place like Tigard? Where there is practically no space between structures and housing is packed together with the obvious purpose of fitting as many people as possible into the smallest space possible. We literally chose to live in Camas rather than Tigard for the reason Tigard is so overcrowded. Let’s slow down and look at each builders proposal for property as it arises. Will this take more time and effort? Yes. Is Camas worth it? Yes. Thank you for adding my comments to the record. (This question was received by the City of Camas via email.)

    6 months ago

    I appreciate your comments. Please keep in mind that the proposed strategies are intended to allow for more housing types and sizes to be constructed in the future, not more of a singular housing type. We will discuss all strategies with the Planning Commission at their meeting on Tuesday. 

     The city does not determine zoning at the time an owner is proposing development. 

    The entirety of the city is already zoned and the adopted zoning map can be found both on the county’s map site and a pdf is available on the city website.  The adopted zoning districts include standards that are applicable to current landowners along with providing standards for those who are preparing to develop. Adopted zoning districts also provide more certainty for planning for city services and anticipating future needs of its citizens. 

    In regard to the minimum unit per acre strategy that is proposed in the draft Housing Action Plan, it is a proposal that may not have much effect on future developments. From my experience, a developer that is evaluating whether to invest in a particular parcel is focused on the maximum units per acre. I understand that the proposed strategy doesn’t capture this reality and may be ineffectual given that it is unlikely that there will ever be a subdivision proposal that includes fewer homes than the zoning maximum limits.  

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    I would like to offer my opinion on the high density housing plan. I do not agree with this plan, as it requires too much housing in too small an area. Most people who have moved to Camas have moved here because it offers housing that is not packed together. People with families enjoy yards. Yes, the parks are nice, but do not take the place of being able to walk out tour front door to play with your kids rather than having to get in the car to do so. There should not be a mandated amount of housing which is required to fit in each acre. Let each builder apply for what they want and have it approved. I realize they don’t want to do this, but that is part of their job. Do the people (builders, most likely) who are pushing for this even live in Camas? Probably not. I am here to try to make Camas better, not just more crowded. Please reach out to me if you have any questions. (This question was received by the City of Camas via email.)

    6 months ago

    Thank you for sending in your comments on the draft Housing Action Plan. There are several strategies being contemplated with the end goal to provide more housing choices to the city. It is a planning effort driven by Camas Council and fueled by input and participation from Camas citizens, and others throughout the region that have expertise in housing (e.g. non-profits and school staff). The majority of the strategies will only affect undeveloped areas of the city, and will not be applicable within existing built neighborhoods. Existing neighborhoods would not be more crowded for this reason. 

    You offered an opinion about “high density”. A safeguard around density is that all of our residential zones already include maximum limits. The change being contemplated is that there are two zones (R-15 and R-12) that are not consistent with the city’s overall goal of meeting an average density of 6 units per acre, and so adding a minimum along with the existing maximum density would address that gap. 

    Please reach out if you have more questions. There is also a public hearing on the draft that will be before the Planning Commission next Tuesday at 7:00 p.m. Please attend and share your thoughts with them. Here is a link to the meeting: https://www.cityofcamas.us/bc-pc/page/planning-commission-meeting-64 

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    Is participation in the housing survey restricted to Camas residents? How will we know that the results of this survey truly reflect the voices and concerns of the residents of Camas? (This question was added by a site administrator.)

    about 1 year ago

    The survey includes a question that asks where the respondent lives or works. In past surveys, we have never restricted participation to only those who live in Camas, however the vast majority of those who respond are city residents. For this survey, in particular, we hope to hear from those who work in Camas, but don’t live here so that we can better understand why not.  We are targeting individuals that live, work, or own property in the city by advertising the survey in the Camas Post Record, school newsletters and on the city’s social media accounts.

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    Could the City of Camas say "no" to the Growth Management Act (GMA)? (This question was added by a site administrator.)

    about 1 year ago

    Camas does not have a choice whether to be included in the GMA. RCW 36.70A.040 set out that a county with a population of 50,000 or more in 1995 and that had its population grow more than 10% in the ten years before 1995, would be required to have a growth management plan under the GMA. Clark County was 203,000 people in 1985 and 291,000 in 1995, a 43% growth rate. The growth rate was 23% from 1980 to 1990. As a result, the County and all the cities were required to comply with all parts of the GMA. 

    Clark County is required to plan for the population projected to grow in the County over the next 20 years. The county and the cities are to work together to distribute growth forecasts across all cities, unincorporated growth areas, and rural areas, with an emphasis on accommodating growth within urban areas to preserve rural and natural resource lands.

    Also, elected officials in Camas, as elsewhere in the state, are required to be sworn in by taking an oath of office, “that I will support the Constitution and Laws of the United States and the Constitution and Laws of the State of Washington.” The GMA is the established law in the State of Washington as codified in RCW 36.70A. In short, locally elected officials can work with the State of Washington to amend, repeal, or otherwise change the GMA, but they cannot simple say “no” to GMA mandates.   

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    What is the Growth Management Act? (This question was added by a site administrator.)

    about 1 year ago

    The Legislature enacted Washington’s Growth Management Act (GMA) in a special legislative session on April 1, 1990, following a lengthy process led by the Growth Strategies Commission. Motivated by several factors, including rapid suburban development and traffic congestion and the decrease of farmland and open space. The passage of HB 2929 –set forth 13 statewide goals, numerous new policies and requirements, and new planning and revenue authorities for counties and cities. HB 2929 required counties with high growth rates to plan. A city must follow the lead of the county in which it is located and must plan under the rules of the GMA. GMA-planning counties and cities are required to develop and adopt comprehensive plans, followed by zoning and other development regulations to implement those plans.  

    The GMA calls for communities to review and, if necessary, revise their plans and regulations every eight years to ensure they remain up to date.

    For more information on the GMA, refer to the following sources: 

    • MRSC Webpage. The Municipal Research and Services Center (MRSC) is a nonprofit organization that helps local governments better serve their citizens by providing legal and policy guidance on any topic. Their website has a summary page of information on the GMA.
    • Department of Commerce. The Department of Commerce webpage includes information on the GMA and they also created a series of video courses, which they call the “Short Course” that help to explain planning regulations.
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    Can Camas reject growth? (This question was added by a site administrator.)

    about 1 year ago

    Whenever the city embarks on a planning process, we are asked by citizens whether we can decide to stop growing because they love the “small town.” Given that this has been the question asked during every seven-year mandated planning effort, one may wonder if the “right size” city is always the size it is right now? 

    This question was also explored in an article by Brent Toderlain entitled, “How Cities Grow Big; Not How Big Cities Grow---Can cities stop growth?” His article notes that there are wonderfully charming cities all over the world of all sizes. There are also terrible cities of all sizes. His main theme is that it isn’t the size of the city that makes it a wonderful place, but the design of the city and the community that you find there.  

    The growth of Camas has fluctuated over the years, with some of the biggest periods of growth being paired with the growth of employment opportunities here. First came sawmills, then paper mills, and currently high tech and financial industry jobs, along with an excellent school system. 

    This planning effort will further the citizens’ vision of retaining what we value most for our children and theirs. Camas has more trails, parks, and tree canopy than surrounding cities. Our schools are consistently ranked 30% higher in academic performance than area school districts. Our police, fire, and city staff are praised for the high level of service that they provide. Despite the ebb and flow of our citizenry, the pride in our city has continued, and the city has evolved with the times. 

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    Is the city "developing" housing? (This question was added by a site administrator.)

    about 1 year ago

    No, the City doesn’t develop housing.  The City’s role in development is primarily to act as the regulatory agency. As such, the City reviews development proposals from property owners for compliance with zoning and codes. This is accomplished through permitting and enforcement.  

    The maps that depict comprehensive plan designations and zoning reflect many years of decisions based on the direction of our citizens and leaders. The zones do not include the many fine details and decisions of land development that a property owner must balance as they move forward to building. For example, there are state and local laws that require roads to be built, utilities installed, and ensure that environmental features are protected (e.g., wetlands, steep slopes, etc.). The Comprehensive Plan also requires trail networks to be extended through sites, and that the impacts of the new development are reduced to be in harmony with the surrounding community. The City ensures that the layers of rules and laws are being met through the permit review.

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    Does the new large apartment complex close to 192nd count as part of the GMA requirements? (This question was received on the City of Camas's Facebook post about the Housing Action Plan.)

    about 1 year ago

    Yes, the Holland mixed use development with 288 residential units has been tracked with all other development. Camas includes those units with its annual comprehensive plan review.

    The city reviews its comprehensive plan (“Camas 2035”) annually and can adjust goals and policies if the city is not on track to meet its 20 year goals. The city’s comprehensive plan, Camas 2035, was adopted in 2016 and it guides land use development and public facility investment decisions, consistent with the state’s Growth Management Act (GMA).  

    Camas 2035 anticipated that the city would have a total population of 34,098 in 2035 and would add 11,182 new jobs. The city must accommodate 3,868 new residential units within residentially designated areas by 2035 to meet the projected growth rate of 1.26 percent population growth per year. Since adoption in 2016, there has been an average of 250 residential units built per year. Also since 2016, preliminary plat approval has been granted to 18 developments for a total of 1,770 lots. The city has approved eight multi-family developments, with a combined multi-family unit total of 646 units. The city’s estimated 2020 population according to the Office of Finance and Budget (OFM) is 25,140, which is a 4.3% growth from 2019.

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    What kind of housing are we discussing? (This question was received on the City of Camas' Facebook post about the Housing Action Plan.)

    about 1 year ago

    This is for a study of the existing housing stock in Camas, which will result in recommendations for a plan that will ensure that we are a more resilient city in terms of housing our citizens (all ages, incomes, and abilities) for the next generations.

Page last updated: 04 March 2021, 14:16