Lincoln County's 10-year housing study results revealed

NORTH PLATTE, Neb. KNOP The results from Lincoln County's 10-year housing study results were revealed during a public presentation Monday evening.

Earlier this year, the North Platte City Council hired Marvin Planning Consultants from David City, Nebraska to update the county's housing study.

577 people participated in the survey that focused on availability of homes, quality of homes and affordability of homes throughout Lincoln County.

The study also highlighted the housing shortage throughout the county.

The study currently shows there are 77 homes for sale in Lincoln County.

In North Platte, 443 homes are deemed in poor condition and 827 are in fair condition. The community needs between 483 to 800 new or replacement homes to satisfy the demand.

Marvin Planning Consultants says even if those homes were to be remodeled, it still wouldn't meet the demand for new housing in the next five years.

The study goes on to show seven percent of the homes in Hershey are in poor condition and 9 to 18 units are needed to meet the housing demand over the next five years.

Brady has a demand for 8 to 13 homes and Maxwell has a need for 4 to 7 units.

Six percent of the homes in Sutherland are in poor condition and is in need of 21 to 26 units.

Five percent of the homes in Wallace are in poor condition with a demand of 6 to 11 units in the next five years.

Twenty percent of the homes in Wellfleet are in poor condition, with a demand for three to five homes in the next five years.

"You can't argue with the facts," said North Platte Area Chamber and Development Corporation CEO Gary Person. "The consultants did a very thorough job and I'm very, very pleased with what they did. Those recommendations, like I said, they're tough to kind of swallow from a community standpoint but, do we want to get better or don't we? That's what the bottom line comes down to."

Marvin Planning Consultants made a few recommendations to remedy the problem such as adding 1.5 cent food and beverage sales tax to help fund workforce housing development that could generate $750,000 in revenue annually.

Taking ownership of the Hotel Pawnee to bring life to the downtown area was another solution to help address the housing shortage.

"Probably the other thing is to finish up on the zoning codes so that we have some opportunity in the community to build new housing and code enforcement," said Marvin Planning Consultants President Keith Marvin. "So those are the three things that probably can make the biggest difference."

Marvin says these are only recommendations but, in the end it is up to city and community leaders on how they want to move the issue forward.

Other findings in the report:

The 2010 housing study called for 1500 new units in Lincoln County. That didn’t flourish and left North Platte and the county in a “no-growth”, “no-loss” position.

The housing in North Platte and in Lincoln County is expensive and the value for your dollar is low.

There are few amenities to retain and attract young professionals.

The market is highly overpriced.

The City allows slumlords to operate.

There should be an emphasis on creating “affordable” housing with housing price points below $200,000.

The City and County are doing a poor job enforcing local housing codes, especially among investor-owned properties; and the City and County need to be more active players in the housing market.

There is a recognition the City should be using tax increment financing (TIF) or other incentives to encourage housing development.