City assesses need for housing shortage plan

The City of Oak Harbor is knee-deep in an effort to assess needs for its housing action plan, which is supposed to identify strategies to encourage the construction of additional affordable and market-rate housing in the city.

During last week’s regularly scheduled Wednesday council workshop, council member Jim Woessner related his experience as a real estate broker to the housing shortage, in which he had to tell multiple agents that their buyers did not get a house.

“We’re in a bit of a crisis,” Woessner said. “The last 30 days has certainly been the worst that I’ve seen in my career as far as the number of families who aren’t getting accepted for offers.”

Cac Kamak, who had been the interim Development Services director, said the housing action plan should be data-driven.

“If you do the data analysis and the income analysis, then you can narrow done the population and get to a very specific number,” Kamak said. “Now you have a goal, you have something that is quantifiable.”

After the needs assessment, which is expected to be complete at the end of September, the planning commission will begin drafting the housing plan with final adoption expected to occur in June 2021.

The planning commission assembled a stakeholder advisory group of commissioners, city staff, consultants, real estate agents and housing and community service providers to assess housing needs, according to Senior Planner Dennis Lefevre.

Lefevre said another key piece was the creation of a web page that contains all the updated information about future meetings and the current status of the plan. The web page also has a tab encouraging public involvement. Members of the community would be able to review and comment on draft documents and proposed recommendations. The city would also be able to generate surveys.

To learn more and participate in the housing action plan, visit