Housing Matters


In a report entitled “City of Cannon Beach Affordable Housing Task Force Report on Findings and Deliberation Affordable Housing Needs Assessment and Implementation Plan,” dated October 2016, a vision statement was attached, “to forge a housing plan that encourages and facilitates the creation of long-term workforce rental housing in Cannon Beach – identifying long term and short term strategies and solutions that are inclusive of all in the workforce.”

This is just one of many task forces and reports that fill the agendas and shelves of Cannon Beach with lofty goals of constructing 25 units of long-term rental housing, building Park Home Communities on City-owned land and developing other strategies for solving the workforce housing issues. A 2013 & 2014 housing report offered a problem statement that could still hold true today:

“People who work in Cannon Beach cannot afford to live in Cannon Beach; this has become a strain not only on local employers but on the community itself…which needs an array of residents/families to maintain its social balance and economic well-being.”

Over the years, following these discussions, Cannon Beach has seen the passage of a construction excise tax in 2017 to benefit ‘affordable housing’ units and the construction of eight ‘affordable housing’ units with the Sea Lark Apartments Quadplex in 2018. There have also been a number of Accessory Dwelling Units built over the past ten years, which under the Cannon Beach Municipal Code cannot be used as Short-Term Rental units, yet there is no record of whether they are being utilized for long-term rentals or workforce housing.

The recent 2020 Census results show that the population of Cannon Beach (1,489) has started to contract and although there seems to be the general assumption that this is due to an increase in Short-Term Rental properties, the number of STR permits issued over the past ten years does not seem to make that case. The City’s STR program has remained around 200 units this timespan, while new housing stock continues to be added to the City’s inventory. The more plausible case is that the loss in population and additional vacant homes are due to the growing seasonal second-home market.

What might be most disconcerting from the Census numbers, is that only 705 of the 1,888 (37.3%) total housing units are now occupied, a loss of 7.1% in just ten years. At the same time, the number that might be the most illuminating, when we compare these population and housing numbers with our commuting workforce numbers, is that only 75 Cannon Beach workers, live and work in Cannon Beach, or just 5.5% of the total Cannon Beach workforce (1,366).

There are a number of Comprehensive Plan Policies that speak to maintaining that fine balance of being a tourism destination and residential community. This presentation and discussion will concentrate on where we stand in relation to these past planning efforts and where we might take some steps towards mitigating the loss of workforce housing in Cannon Beach and beyond.

This page will serve as the kiosk for the latest housing materials for a regional planning forum discussion.