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On October 25, 2019, San Juan County completed the sale of .80 acres of land situated in Lopez Village to Housing Lopez, Inc. for the development of affordable housing rental units. Housing Lopez will develop six affordable rental units on the property with long term affordability restrictions.
The work to surplus this property for affordable housing springs directly from the County’s Affordable Housing Strategic Action Plan. This plan was developed in 2016 by an affordable housing workgroup, and adopted by the County Council as Resolution No. 13-2017. Strategy 2.F of this plan called for the County to “Develop a public/private partnership program to build affordable housing units and explore using public owned land to construct units.”
In late 2017, a group of citizens on Lopez Island concerned about the lack of available affordable rental housing began researching parcels in the Lopez Village for building opportunities. After a few false starts, the group inquired regarding the availability of a piece of land owned by the County in the Village.
The lot was originally acquired by San Juan County Public Works years ago in exchange for road improvements in Lopez Village. Over the years the County considered several development ideas but those plans never materialized. As a result, the County Council determined the lot should be sold by direct sale for construction of affordable rental housing.
The County Council released a Request for Proposals (RFP) on April 24, 2018 to solicit affordable rental housing proposals for the vacant lot. The process undertaken to surplus County land was a new undertaking for County staff. The County offered the site for a direct-sale to be developed to maximum allowable density for long-term affordable housing rental units, with restrictions to ensure affordability requirements are maintained for 99 years.
Following the completion of the RFP process, Housing Lopez, Inc. was awarded exclusive negotiating rights for the parcel. Housing Lopez is a newly formed non-profit on Lopez Island with a focus on affordable rental housing development. Their team has backgrounds in real estate development, architecture, design, construction, finance, and property management.
The County will continue to strategically develop public-private partnerships to maximize opportunities for affordable housing development, as well as explore additional surplus opportunities for unused County owned land for affordable housing projects.
Health & Community Services would like to extend its thanks to Housing Lopez as well as the other respondents to the RFP.
For more information, please contact: Ryan Page, San Juan County Housing Program Coordinator, firstname.lastname@example.org, (360) 370-0590.