ASHLAND HOUSING COMMISSION
JUNE 25, 2003
CALL TO ORDER
Chair Andy Dungan called the meeting to order at 4:05 p.m. Other Commissioners present were Joan Legg, Matt Small, Jon Uto, Kim Blackwolf (arrived at 4:20) and Cate Hartzell (arrived at 4:40 p.m). Absent members included Kim Miller, Larry Medinger and Chris Oswald. Staff present were Gary Collord, John McLaughlin and Sue Yates.
Each of the Commissioners introduced themselves to Gary Collord, newly hired Housing Program Specialist. Dungan also introduced those members that were not in attendance.
Legg noted in her introduction that the Clay Street Church senior affordable housing project will not be happening because they were not granted the funds they had applied for. She thought it would be beneficial if Collord spoke to the applicants to see why they were unable to move forward. Small said he would like to be involved in pursuing this project, should it ever be resurrected.
Dungan announced a meeting of the Jackson County Housing Coalition on July 14, 2003 at 3:00 p.m. in the Council Chambers
APPROVAL OF MINUTES/AGENDA CHANGES
There were no minutes from the last meeting.
AARON BENJAMIN brought forward an article in todayís Mail Tribune regarding housing.
RICH ROHDE, Oregon Action, and KATE JACKSON, City Councilor, introduced themselves.
INTRODUCTION OF ASHLANDíS HOUSING PROGRAM SPECIALIST
Collord introduced himself and talked about his background in housing.
ROLE OF THE HOUSING COMMISSION- Discuss a process for prioritizing the Commissionís efforts.
Hartzell asked, "What are our personal priorities? What are the most appropriate and effective functions for the Commission to play? Where have we started with issues and where do we get stopped or slowed down? Whatís the passion?"
Small asked Collord what he thought the Commission should do. Collord said the Housing Commission has a good Action Plan and it gives a good starting point to focus their ideas. He believes the most important thing in the Action Plan is to figure out a stable source of funding to create affordable housing in Ashland, as well as developing additional capacity for affordable housing development, and identify land resources, insuring there are appropriate zoning and development standards for affordable housing. He would suggest going through various proposals of the Action Plan to figure out the most critical.
Beginning on Page 27 of the Action Plan, the Commissioners reviewed each strategy. Many ideas were expressed. The following is a summary of those ideas.
Strategy 1. Provide Funding for Affordable Housing
A. Apply for housing development funds.
On-going and will involve meeting with organizations and non-profits.
Land banking - it is difficult for developers to get land.
Talk to realtors and try to get them interested in donating some time to look for land.
Educate developers as to the possible incentives available to them.
Convene different types of organizations such as faith-based.
B. Housing Trust Fund - Collord indicated this would be fairly simple to set up.
Though set up, there will not necessarily be any money in it. He can work with the Housing Coalition on this.
C. Long-term continuous funding for the Housing Trust Fund.
Collord said one approach is activating a redevelopment project area in Ashland. That would allow the City to capture a portion of the property taxes generated and those funds could be used for just about any purpose such as economic development or affordable housing development. The tax base is frozen. The county would continue to receive the amount of tax revenue it was receiving at the time the project area was created. Any additional increase in the tax base resulting from redevelopment on the properties would come to the Cityís redevelopment agency. Typically the project areas last 20 to 40 years. The Croman property and the Railroad District are two areas that could be targeted for redevelopment.
D. Employer-Assisted Housing
Hartzell said she has a great deal of information she can bring.
Housing Commission responsibility.
Strategy 2. Reduce Development and Operating Costs
A.1 Deferring Systems Development Charges for Affordable Housing
Blackwolf said there are some issues about how development costs are deferred. She is discovering mortgage lenders are questioning the "60 year" clause and are not interested in financing.
Strategy 3. Adopt Land Use Regulations to Promote Affordable Housing
Strategies 2 & 3 are Collord's strong points according to Dungan.
Hartzell suggested setting up meetings with the two subcommittees, Land Use and Education & Outreach and meet soon with Collord to outline long-term and short-term priorities. Blackwolf will contact Collord about a meeting.
3.B. A high priority to Dungan is restricting further development of single family homes in multi-family zones.
Strategy 4. Preserve Existing Affordable Housing: Create New Affordable Housing
Dungan would like to see a list of the existing affordable housing in Ashland. Nancy Richardson has that list.
This strategy is a high priority to Hartzell. It is not in the Action Plan, but what is our rental housing situation? How is the rent going up annually? What is our strategy to make rentals affordable and accessible?
Blackwolf is concerned because the large majority of lower cost apartments are owned by one entity.
Rohde mentioned the Federal Housing Preservation Act. There could be a housing preservation ordinance on the local level.
Jackson noted there are a lot of 700 and 800 square foot houses. Is there a way through the Land Trust that the City can become a buyer and purchase these at reasonable prices? Or, encourage owners to sell to the City at a reduced price when they move away or die?
Collord believes it is premature to start worrying about that now. It goes back to developing a stable source of funding.
Small suggested looking at our housing stock and goals for what is needed. Collord said that is typically the approach. Local governments figure out their housing needs for various household income groups and then the do an inventory of sites and relate it to their zoning and development policies. We need to identify what the communityís needs are and how many affordable units need to be developed over time. The magnitude of the problem needs to be identified.
Strategy 6: Build Understanding and Support for Affordable Housing.
Education and Outreach subcommittee will try to meet again when Oswald returns.
Dungan feels we need a public relations plan. Is there some way to put together an ongoing community awareness plan?
Strategy 5: Develop Organizational Capacity for Affordable Housing.
Legg believes the subcommittees are in an excellent position to state their priorities and meet with Collord and report back at the next meeting.
Education and Outreach
Strategies to fund the Housing Trust Fund
Urban Renewal District - Mechanics
Hartzell believes we need to get people before the Commission to talk about the SOU rental housing problem. Uto argued that we had people here before and it didnít go anywhere. Hartzell would like to have Wayne Schumacher come before the Commission again. McLaughlin said student housing has not been identified in the Action Plan. We can spend a lot of time on it without ever getting an answer.
Hartzell is not willing to let it drop. It will be noted as something we will want to talk about at a later date.
ADJOURNMENT- The meeting was adjourned at 6:05 p.m. The next meeting will be July 23, 2003 at the Council Chambers.