Washougal approves multi-family housing tax exemption

Downtown and waterfront are 'residential target areas'

Companies that are interested in building multiple-unit housing developments could qualify for property tax exemption if the mixed-use projects are built in downtown Washougal or near the Washougal Waterfront Park and Trail.

The Washougal City Council voted 5 to 2, June 27, in favor of establishing a multi-family housing tax exemption program. Michelle Wagner and Paul Greenlee voted against the ordinance.

The minimum number of residential units is four.

The Town Center Core, East Village and Waterfront Commercial districts are designated as residential target areas.

The ordinance said the creation of multiple-unit housing will promote further economic development “by creating an influx of new residents who will utilize urban services and stimulate urban development.”

During a public hearing Washougal resident Larry Keister said he wants to see “quality, high-end development” on the waterfront.

Greenlee agreed.

“We have one chance to get it right,” he said.

Wagner questioned whether the city should be offering incentives to developers while the port visioning is still in process.

Prior to the vote, Councilwoman Joyce Lindsay said she supported the tax exemption program.

“Developers can decide whether to use it or not,” she said.

Councilwoman Jennifer McDaniel said without the program, there might not be any new residential development.

“There is a housing crisis, with a need particularly for multi-family [residential],” she said.

A mixed-use development is among the components of a Parker’s Landing LLC project, on a portion of the former Hambleton Lumber Company property at 335 S. “A” St., Washougal.