North Bend council approves tax exemption for select housing projects

City hopes the change will spur the creation of more affordable housing units.

The North Bend City Council has approved a new ordinance that will provide property tax exemptions for select multifamily housing developments.

Under the change, multifamily housing projects built in areas designated by the city council can receive 8 to 12 years worth of property taxes exemptions. City council members are hoping the change will spur the construction of more affordable housing units.

“It’s another demonstration of the City of North Bend doing what it can to promote affordable living in the city,” Councilmember Ross Loudenback said prior to unanimous approval March 21.

The exemption has been allowed under state law for large cities since 1995, but was only recently made available to smaller cities, like North Bend, during last year’s legislative session, said Rebecca Deming, a community and economic development director for the city.

To be eligible, projects need to build at least four units and be within what’s known as a “Residential Target Area,” defined in state code as an urban center or growth area designated by the city council.

For projects to receive the maximum exemption of 12 years, developers need to commit to selling at least 20% of units at prices affordable to those of low or moderate incomes.

Right now, the only Residential Target Area defined by the city council is east of downtown next to Chinook Lumber at 43600 Southeast 136th Street. The three parcel property is the future home of the River Run Apartment Complex, which is now under construction.

River Run is expected to deliver 128 multifamily apartments, including 28 units estimated to be for those making less than 80% of the area median income.

Deming said the exemption could be used in other areas of the city as well, but they do not have any plans yet.

According to the King County Housing Needs Dashboard, to comply with the state’s Growth Management Act, North Bend is expected to accommodate the construction of over 1,700 additional housing units by 2044. A majority of those units will need to be below the area median income.