Agendas and Minutes

Housing Commission (View All)

Regular Meeting

Wednesday, September 24, 2003

SEPTEMBER 24, 2003

CALL TO ORDER - Chair Andy Dungan called the meeting to order at 4:05 p.m. Other Commissioners present were Chris Oswald, Kim Blackwolf, Joan Legg, Jon Uto, Matt Small, Kim Miller and Cate Hartzell. Staff present were John McLaughlin, Gary Collord, and Sue Yates.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES - The minutes of the September 10, 2003 special meeting were approved.

, 758 B Street talked about ways that Ashland can have affordable housing and outlined them in his letter to the Commission.

FRED CARUSO is concerned about the equality of affordable housing. Those with chemical sensitivities keep increasing. He suggested a competition among designers, builders, and architects to come up with "safe housing".

John McLaughlin announced that Gary Collord will be leaving November 3rd. We will still want to use him until that time. Staff is trying to determine the best way to refill the position.

Dungan thought it would be beneficial to hear from Collord on what he sees as the problems of Ashland's affordable housing as well as the good things. Oswald said, "If you could be king of Ashland, what would you do?"

Education and Outreach - Oswald showed everyone the draft Q&A handout the subcommittee has been working on. It is targeted to realtors, developers, lenders, etc. Much of what is contained in the Q&A has been taken from the Action Plan. The subcommittee is hoping to have the brochure ready for Housing Commission approval in about two months.

Oswald said Hartzell has been talking about doing a video of interviewing people's experiences with housing.

Kim Miller arrived (4:30 p.m.)

Oswald asked for another volunteer for their committee since Andy stepped down from his position on the committee. Those currently on the Education and Outreach subcommittee are Legg, Hartzell, Oswald, and Collord.

Dungan handed out the September issue of Jefferson Monthly so Commissioners could read the article by Eric Alan on affordable housing in Ashland.

Land Use - Blackwolf said the subcommittee had not met since July 18th. They are, however, looking at three areas: 1) Lands where single family residential homes are built on multi-family residential lots, 2) Examining the affordable housing income guidelines to make sure they are in line with appropriate income levels, and 3) Ways to encourage the building of multi-family housing.

Dungan felt that it is important to move these issues forward at the next meeting and would like to see these as discussion items.

Kate Jackson noted that the items need to mesh with land use codes and reminded the Commission to look in more detail to the Housing Action Plan/Needs Analysis. McLaughlin added that the recommendation for drafting ordinances would begin at the Housing Commission, then Staff will draft the ordinances, and there would be a joint study session(s) with the Planning Commission and a recommendation would be put forth to the Council.

Small added that whatever comes out of the Housing Commission needs to be well thought out. The Commission should be unified with whatever goes to the Planning Commission if we want to be taken seriously.

Hartzell arrived (4:45 p.m.)

McLaughlin suggested the Commission take the priorities from the subcommittee and identify those with the highest priority. Staff will draft an ordinance and move it forward.

Finance - Small reported that the subcommittee members (Miller, Rohde, Small and Collord) met for the first time on Monday. Two committee goals: 1) Be ready in one to two months to present to the Commission recommendations on financing for the long-term and the short-term, and 2) Immediate Funding & Bridge Funding - City owned property might be available to sell with the proceeds going to the housing trust fund.

Miller said he is interested in looking for immediate, interim and long-term financing. As an aside, Miller feels the Housing Commission should be adamant about retaining the Housing Specialist's position even after Collord leaves.

Hartzell said she has notes about a funding stream that came out of a meeting with Lee Tuneberg several months ago.

Hartzell reminded the Commissioners to let Staff know about upcoming meetings so notice can be sent to the newspaper.

Housing Coalition - Rich Rohde said the Housing Coalition had a meeting with Janet Byrd who will be doing housing advocacy training. The training will be an effort to provide training and direction for a period of three years to grass roots housing providers.

McLaughlin said he is uncertain what the Council's commitment is on the funding side of affordable housing. The first step might be to look at some City owned property on Strawberry Lane. The Commission could ask the Council to direct us to divide and sell the property with the money from the sale going to housing. This process will take some time and in the meantime the subcommittees can continue working. The Commission can go to the Council and explain we have the resources in-hand, now let's commit to affordable housing now.

Blackwolf asked how much land is involved. McLaughlin said 2.5 acres or three or possible four lots. The lots in that area are marketed for over $400,000.

Legg suggested getting the housing trust fund set up immediately. Collord indicated he could do that.

Hartzell said there is also the potential for trading the Strawberry land for other land in the City. She believes it would be worth hiring an outside appraiser to appraise any potential traded property.

Blackwolf moved to partition the Strawberry Lane property with the proceeds going to the housing trust fund (mentioned in the Action Plan) or trade for other land in the City to be used for affordable housing with an appraisal conducted by an outside appraiser for any traded property. Legg seconded the motion.

Blackwolf amended the motion by asking the Council to make the land an asset of the housing trust fund. This would be the first part of the request. Legg seconded the amendment. The vote was unanimous.

- Small thought a retreat would be a good idea and to hold it before Collord leaves. Hartzell said she would hope to discuss the action plan that Collord will be generating. She would like to talk about being realistic about what we are doing for the next three to six months.

Monday evening or Saturday morning late in October are the two possible times for everyone to meet. Collord or Yates will e-mail the Commissioners and work out a date, time and place to meet.

McLaughlin said the Council directed the Housing Commission to work on incentives for affordable housing. He noted that a developer is looking at redevelopment of the Copeland property and will be using a charrette process for looking at development of the whole block. McLaughlin will be going to the Council with a memo to see if they want City participation in this process because it will involve the City's parking lot. Staff is recommending participation. The pre-charrette meeting is scheduled for October 30th. The charrette is tentatively scheduled for the first week of December.

Jackson felt this could be an opportunity but also thought it was a bit awkward for the City to sponsor the charrette. Will the developer want a favorable decision on their particular project? McLaughlin said the City is not bound by anything. The idea is to come up with the best plan. It still puts the Council in the driver's seat. The risk is low; the benefits are high.

Blackwolf believes this is a great opportunity with a lot of potential for that area of town.

McLaughlin reported the charrette team is made up of Bill Lennertz of Lennertz and Coyle, GBD Architects in Portland, Jerome White, designer, George Kramer, historian, and John Galbraith. The principals are Evan Archerd, Hal Dresner, and Russ Dale.

Hartzell has participated in about three charrettes and does not believe it is consensus based. The public is not very welcome. Access has been to the landowners. The role of the Housing Commission would be to stay focused on our mission and goals and what trade-offs are important. Perhaps there could be staggered Housing Commissioner involvement.

McLaughlin said one part of the charrette is identifying all the interested parties.

Hartzell said the charrette process, because it is so concentrated into a few days, presumes availability that most people don't have.

Dungan thought that RVCDC and ACLT should be represented.

McLaughlin said the charrette is an opportunity to see the immediate impacts of the big box ordinance and to see what, if any, amendments are needed.

Hartzell is concerned with the amount of staff time that could be devoted to a charrette. She doesn't want the trade-offs to be something that will come back and give housing a bad name.

Dungan moved that the Housing Commission supports the concept of a charrette and requests the City be involved and advance the case of affordable housing as an owner and an advocate. Miller seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.

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

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