Agendas and Minutes

Housing Commission (View All)

Regular Monthly Meeting

Minutes
Wednesday, April 23, 2003

Meeting Minutes - Preliminary Template

ASHLAND HOUSING COMMISSION
MINUTES
APRIL 23, 2003

CALL TO ORDER
Chair Andy Dungan called the meeting to order at 4:00 p.m. Other Commissioners present were Richard Seidman, Larry Medinger, Chris Oswald, Joan Legg, Kim Blackwolf, Kim Miller, and Jon Uto. Cate Hartzell arrived at 4:15 p.m. There were no absent members. Staff present were Bill Molnar and Sue Yates.

APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES - Blackwolf moved to approve the March 19, 2003 minutes. Legg seconded the motion and the minutes were approved.

PUBLIC FORUM
AARON BENJAMIN
said he hoped the Commission would continue to be concerned with inclusionary zoning. He suggested any proposal for large development should be put under a microscope and bring pressure to bear to create affordable housing.

Medinger wondered if the Housing Commission could be brought in at the pre-application stage. Molnar said there would need to be some specific parameters for that to happen. There are no mandatory requirements for affordable housing. Medinger suggested looking at it from the side of the Comprehensive Plan and Statewide Planning Goals. These two documents require the building of all housing types. Molnar said they were hoping to have the Housing Coordinator look at changing the requirements of certain zones, for example, in multi-family zones, it would be much more discretionary if someone wanted to build for ownership, rather than building to rent.

Dungan thought it would be helpful if the Commission could be involved in order to use the "power of suggestion" to an applicant. If an applicant knew the Housing Commission would be reviewing their proposal in the early stage, the applicant might give more thought to affordable housing.

Blackwolf commented this might also be a way to catch any houses slated for demolition that could be saved.

Uto left the meeting.

The Commission asked that this item (Informing the Housing Commission at the Pre-Application Stage) be put on next month's agenda.

RICH ROHDE, Oregon Action, handed out a draft revision to SB863 put together by the Oregon Coalition for Complete Communities. If implemented, this would set a pilot project in Ashland and Portland. This has been strongly supported by Bob Repine, Oregon Housing and Community Services Dept. The money could begin flowing in two years. Rohde said they would be counting votes in the Senate soon. He was hoping to get some people together for a conference call to the state. Medinger, Hartzell and Miller said they would be willing.

MAY 15TH ACLT ANNUAL MEETING/HOUSING FORUM
Oswald handed out the draft packet that will be handed out to guests on the 15th.

Hartzell was hoping to have breakout groups for various categories of activities of interest. She would like to see the Commission serve to expand volunteerism and put people into work groups. This is an opportunity for the Commission to get people fired up. The idea is to make this Commission functional. The Question and Answer time could be shortened up to make time for the breakout groups.

Miller does not like the idea of having topic groups with no place to go. Hartzell said we could follow the Action Plan items.

Dungan asked everyone on the Commission to be present at the forum. He and Seidman would work out how and when to present the opportunity for the breakout groups to form.

Oswald passed out the flyers with the meeting information.

Seidman expressed his appreciation for Oswald taking the lead on this. He was hoping the Q & A portion would not just be a time to debate the issue of affordable housing.

Note: Oswald will be leaving town at the end of this week and Dungan will be taking over with the forum organization.

AFFORDABLE HOUSING GUIDELINES
Blackwolf wondered why the guidelines are not being used more than they are. We need to consider changing the formula to more accurately reflect real purchase prices and income levels. Medinger agreed that the structure is outdated. It was last used about four years ago. The income limits and asset levels don't work. There needs to be more flexibility.

Molnar said they are looking at formulas that might be more appropriate, however, this is a more complex issue than it may seem. Also, politically, some may not like deferring SDC's on a house selling for upwards of $190,000. He felt it would be advisable to meet with builders and the Commissioners. He added that there has been some interest in building more cottage-style homes.

Hartzell suggested a small group meet regularly and start a list of the land use pieces for affordable housing. The Land Use Subcommittee will consist of Kim Blackwolf, Cate Hartzell, Joan Legg, Larry Medinger, and Evian Distefano.

SUBCOMMITTEE REPORTS & ASSIGNMENTS
The Land Use Subcommittee was just formed.

Dungan announced there would be a meeting of the Housing Coalition on May 6th. There will also be a meeting of the Council on May 6th and Mary Brooks will be speaking.

RESPONSE TO BUDGET COMMITTEE
Hartzell had received a letter from a woman on the Budget Committee questioning the expenditure for a Housing Coordinator. How do we want to approach this? She said the Council and Budget Committee would be meeting Saturday from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. and possibly again the following week at the same time to discuss the budget.

It was decided that everyone on the Commission would e-mail their two best arguments for having a Housing Coordinator to Kim Miller and he would in turn compile the responses and draft a cover letter that he would then send to Dungan for his signature. Hartzell would get a copy. The letter will be given to Lee Tuneberg, Finance Director.

HOUSING COORDINATOR POSITION
Dungan said he understood there are nine candidates for the position. He was asked by John McLaughlin to be on the interview committee.

There was a general disappointment among the Commissioners that their wishes and recommendations were disregarded and not acknowledged by Staff. They had voted to have Kim Blackwolf and Cate Hartzell represent the Housing Commission during the interview process. Molnar said they would have to check with McLaughlin to see how he came to his decision. He said he thought the interview committee would be: Andy Dungan, John McLaughlin, Dick Wanderscheid, and Tina Gray. Cindy Dyer was asked but he did not think the dates would work for her. He thought there would be a fifth person chosen from outside the City. The interviews are tentatively scheduled for May 1st and 2nd.

Everyone expressed their satisfaction with Dungan serving on the interview committee. Medinger felt that this is turning into a Planning Department hire. Since the Coordinator will specifically interact with this Commission, more people from the Commission should be involved in the process.

Hartzell was happier knowing they would be asking a Housing Specialist from the outside to help interview.

Seidman wanted to convey to McLaughlin the positive benefit of having women on the interview committee.

Dungan will call McLaughlin with some of these concerns and Molnar will also speak with McLaughlin.

Henderson inserted that she talked with the Mayor and he said this is a temporary position and he would see that it stayed temporary.

Molnar left the meeting.

Miller thought it was important that those interviewing for the position would at least see a presence of Commissioners, even if it was a "silent" presence.

Dungan suggested asking McLaughlin to attend the next Housing Commission meeting (agenda item). They would like to have McLaughlin discuss the following issues: 1) Role of the Housing Commission, 2) the process that was used to interview, 3) the gender issue in the interview process, 4) what is the schedule for the Action Plan, and 5) who is working on it.

MEETING PLACE
Most of the members felt parking in the park/downtown area would make it difficult to meet in the Community Development and Engineering Services Building. It was moved and seconded to meet at the CD & ES building in May and move back to the Council Chambers for the months of June, July and August.

OTHER
Dungan thanked Seidman for all the work he has done while on the Commission and how very much he will be missed. Seidman thanked the Commission for their energy and enthusiasm in making progress toward affordable housing.

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

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