Edmond permits illustrate workers’ housing crisis

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Edmond Councilor and developer Josh Moore speaks about the lack of workforce housing in the city during a presentation Wednesday at the Edmond Area Chamber of Commerce. The average cost of new homes built in Edmond last year was $421,325, Moore said. (Photo by Kathryn McNutt)

EDMOND – Building permits issued last year in Edmond put the average cost of a new single-family home at $421,325.

“This is the beginning of what we would call a labor housing crisis,” Josh Moore said Wednesday during a presentation to the Edmond Area Chamber of Commerce.

“The cost of homes has increased by 33% since 2011, while the average household income has only increased by 11%,” said David Chapman.

Moore and Chapman — both developers and Edmond City Council members — prepared the presentation to help educate people on the issue.

“As a council, we have a responsibility to provide housing for everyone,” Moore said.

The US Census shows Edmond to be the fastest growing city in Oklahoma. It has grown by 16% over the past decade and now has a population of around 96,000, he said.

This growth has brought the number of Edmond residents in the labor force to approximately 50,000. More than half of them work in service industries such as health care, education, hospitality, services automobiles, cosmetics and landscaping, while 11% work in retail – jobs that don’t pay enough to afford a $400,000 house.

“We need workforce housing, and the percentage of workforce housing needs to increase as well,” Moore said.

The presentation mentions a lack of starter homes, duplexes, patio houses and especially apartments. It shows that more than 6,000 single-family homes have been built in Edmond since the last apartment complex was completed in 2012.

Two new multi-family projects were blocked by a citizen referendum petition in 2021. The Spring Creek Mansion Block Homes project was withdrawn after voters decided to purchase the land. The other — a proposed apartment complex near Interstate 35 and Memorial Road — will be decided by people’s vote likely in November, Chapman said.

Affordable housing stock is the oldest problem facing Edmond and it’s getting worse, Chapman said. Residents who oppose multifamily development cite the “same tired pathetic narrative” time after time, he said.

Concerns about overcrowded schools, rising crime rates and falling property values ​​are not borne out by the data, he said.

Traffic growth is a legitimate concern as traffic will grow with population. Chapman said that can be controlled with mixed-use development that places malls in neighborhoods, so residents don’t have to cross town to shop.

An example of a mixed-use project is The Campbell, developed by Rader Building Co. west of the University of Central Oklahoma campus and scheduled for completion in the summer of 2023. It consists of two buildings at several floors containing retail, a restaurant, offices and 61 living spaces. .

However, those apartments will not be affordable for many workers, Chapman said.

“The best hope we have now for affordable housing is in stacked neighborhoods,” he said.

City of Edmond staff have identified three areas around downtown that could be designated stacked neighborhoods and give landlords the right to develop more affordable types of housing currently not allowed by building code, Chapman said. Final approval from those districts is uncertain and could be a long time in coming, he said.

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