When the City of Camas updated its Comprehensive Plan in 2016, one of the community’s priorities was to ensure that, despite Camas’s rapid growth and relatively high housing prices, there would remain “a wide variety and range of housing for all ages and income levels.” To further study the City’s housing needs and develop an implementation plan to help policymakers advance toward that goal, the City successfully applied for a grant from the Washington State Department of Commerce to fund its Housing Action Plan.
A defining characteristic of the Housing Action Plan’s development was a vigorous, iterative engagement process with residents, stakeholders, and officials on the Planning Commission and City Council. Although nearly all engagement was limited to virtual interactions due to pandemic conditions, active discussions occurred in Zoom breakout rooms during public workshops, in phone calls with stakeholders, and over the project website, which attracted 2,500 visits. A community survey garnered more than 300 responses that helped to further identify housing needs and attitudes among Camas residents.
After multiple rounds of refinement with City staff and the Camas Planning Commission, Mosaic presented the City Council with a set of eight strategies, each targeted to one or more of the four goals for the Housing Action Plan. Some of the more technical strategies involved changes to lot sizes, dimensional standards, and authorized uses in certain zoning districts to encourage development of more diverse housing types. Others concerned communication both within and beyond the community regarding the availability of housing options and resources.