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Agendas and Minutes

Housing Commission (View All)

Regular Meeting

Wednesday, March 19, 2003



MARCH 19, 2003

The meeting started with the public forum until a quorum was present.


AARON BENJAMIN mentioned that at last night's Council meeting, the Council reviewed the proposed annexation and zoning ordinance changes that will hopefully encourage affordable housing. He is happy the Council is paying attention to this again. He appreciated the great detail with which John McLaughlin and Bill Molnar took, making sure everyone understood the changes.

Molnar said the Council will hear the first reading at their next meeting and it will be their prerogative whether or not to allow additional testimony. If it passes then there is just a waiting period before the changes would go into affect. Molnar said he would not be too surprised if there was some opposition from the development community.

AARON BENJAMIN had concerns about the latest project on North Mountain Avenue and wondered why there was a lack of any affordable housing.

Molnar said there have been three large projects brought before the Planning Commission in the last several months with no affordable housing included. There is nothing in our ordinances that can force affordable housing.

Medinger thought Staff and the Planning Commission ought to get "meaner". Staff is not talking about multi-family development. Multi-family development is dense. That is what we want in order to avoid sprawl. He would like to see the Planning Commission looking at more of a mix of units. And, why isn't the Housing Commission looking at these developments in a similar fashion as the Historic Commission looks at development in the Historic District?

Molnar said the Planning Commission has to make decisions based on approval criteria. In fact, this is probably the first thing the Housing Coordinator will look at - multi-family housing.

Kim Miller and Kim Blackwolf arrived.


Commissioners present were Chris Oswald, Richard Seidman, Joan Legg, Jonathan Uto, Larry Medinger, Kim Miller and Kim Blackwolf. Chair Andy Dungan arrived later in the meeting. Cate Hartzell was absent. Staff present were Bill Molnar and Sue Yates.

ELECTION OF VICE CHAIR - Legg nominated Kim Blackwolf for Vice Chair, the nomination was seconded and everyone approved.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES - The Minutes of the February 26, 2003 meeting were approved.

AGENDA CHANGES - Add two items: 1) Status of Housing Coordinator position and 2) Appointment of a new Housing Commissioner to replace Seidman.



Request - Letter of Support for grant application

Rohde handed out a project narrative giving an overview of the grant application that Oregon Action is working on along with Oregon Community Foundation. He also handed out a sample letter from Habitat for Humanity giving support for the proposal.

Legg moved to write a letter of support. Medinger seconded the motion.

Rohde handed out a booklet, "Raise the Roof " to be released on March 26th. He explained that the purpose of the grant would be to lay out all parts of the housing problem and begin bringing people together.

Seidman expressed his appreciation for the efforts of Oregon Action. He wondered how the various groups of people would be brought together. .

Legg called for the question. The Commissioners unanimously favored supporting Oregon Action with a letter. Legg said she would write the letter if Rohde would give her the information. The letter is to be signed by Chair Andy Dungan.

Real Estate Transfer Tax

Henderson handed out an explanation of HB 2595 and a sample resolution. Henderson said they are asking the legislature to look at repealing the state law allowing governments to collect a fee based on the transfer of real estate.

Medinger said he would support it, but everyone has an eye on the revenue from it.

Henderson said the whole idea is to make it available to communities.

Oswald moved to endorse the resolution as written. Legg seconded the motion. The vote was unanimous in favor. Legg moved to forward the resolution to the City Council for their added endorsement. Medinger seconded the motion and the motion was unanimously approved.

Seidman wondered what else they could do. Henderson said they really need to communicate with realtors as they are their biggest opponents. She has "talking points" if anyone knows any realtors they can speak with.

INTRODUCTION OF KIM MILLER - Blackwolf welcomed Miller to the Housing Commission.


Molnar said the closing deadline for the position is March 31st. He is assuming there will be some type of overview group. Blackwolf thought she and Hartzell would have the opportunity for input. Molnar expects the Housing Coordinator to be hired by late May and begin work in June.


Seidman said his term is up at the end of April. Is there anyone we can champion to fill his position? Is there a niche that needs filling? Staff will check to see if anyone has applied. Seidman mentioned Anita with the League of Women Voters as a possible person to recommend to the Mayor.

Legg said she had a couple of suggestions and Blackwolf said she knows some young professionals. Seidman said we need Commissioners who have time to work on Commission business.

Blackwolf suggested the Commissioners contact people and see what they get.


Seidman turned the Education and Outreach duties over to Oswald. Oswald handed out her most recent e-mail, outlining the committee report. She reviewed the items with regard to a possible spring forum and a possible series of forums. If the Commission decides to have the first forum this spring, there is a lot to do.

Molnar will find out how much money is in the Housing Commission budget.

Medinger thought this was a short time frame to get a forum pulled together. Molnar mentioned that Ashland Community Land Trust (ACLT) is having their annual meeting in May. Henderson said she is on the Board and they are meeting tomorrow. Medinger thought we could pick up volunteers at their May meeting and hold a forum in the fall. The tentative date for the ACLT meeting is May 15th. Oswald will also attend tomorrow night's meeting.

Seidman felt that committees should be identified and define specific tasks that volunteers can sign up for. How do we want to identify what these tasks are? It was decided to add an agenda item and allow 30 minutes for discussion.


Molnar said he discussed changing the meeting time with John McLaughlin. McLaughlin said that he would have concerns about changing the meeting time due to budgetary concerns.

Do we want to continue meeting in this room? Uto has a difficult time getting downtown and would prefer the Council Chambers. The Commission decided to continue using this room for the next couple of months.

Medinger left the meeting.

CITIZENS SURVEY - Draft Questions

Seidman will e-mail his proposed questions to Blackwolf and Blackwolf will handle this.


Legg wondered if Molnar had a report on the Rental Assistance or the First Time Homebuyers programs. Molnar said the contracts have been signed with ACCESS to administer the programs until June of 2004.

Blackwolf left the meeting.

Education and Outreach Subcommittee set a meeting for 8:00 a.m. on April 1st at Leo's.

ADJOURNMENT - The meeting was adjourned at 6:00 p.m.









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