ASHLAND HOUSING COMMISSION
FEBRUARY 25, 2004
CALL TO ORDER - Vice Chair Jon Uto called the meeting to order at 4:05 p.m.
|Members Present:||Jon Uto, Vice Chair|
|New Member:||Don Mackin|
|Council Liaison:||Kate Jackson (present)|
|Absent Members:||Matt Small|
|High School Liaison:||None|
|SOU Liaison:||Ryan Heihn|
|Staff:||Brandon Goldman, Housing Specialist|
|Bill Molnar, Senior Planner|
|Sue Yates, Executive Secretary|
APPROVAL OF MINUTES - The minutes of the January 28, 2004 meeting were approved.
AARON BENJAMIN, 704 Emigrant Creek Road, mentioned the Bemis project (on Hargadine behind Lithia Springs Hotel) and thought if more affordable housing units had been included in the project, the project might have gotten a more sympathetic ear. Ashland's regulations require that one unit has to be affordable. This brings up a concern he has about inclusionary zoning restrictions at the state level. He strongly recommended the Housing Commission take a position on the inclusionary zoning restriction and urge the Council to take a very aggressive and pro-active position urging the state representatives to support inclusionary zoning as there are projects coming up where the inclusionary zoning would apply.
He requested the public forum be placed at the end of the agenda, giving the public a chance to deliberate on items that have come up during the meeting.
INTRODUCTION OF NEW MEMBERS -The newest members, Don Mackin and Ryan Heihn (SOU Liaison) introduced themselves.
AGENDA CHANGES - Decide on a date for a work session.
PRESENTATION BY BARBARA CHRISTENSEN AND MIKE FRANELL ON PUBLIC MEETINGS
LAW AND ETHICS
Christensen and Franell gave a Power Point presentation outlining the public meetings law and ethics. Both Christensen and Franell made their resources available to the Commissioners if they should ever have any questions.
HOUSING ACTION PLAN - SIX ACTION ITEMS
Goldman said this agenda item was set primarily to give a cursory review of Ashland's Affordable Housing Action Plan for the new members. There are six strategies identified that address the problem of affordable housing.
|0000||1. Provide funding for affordable housing.
2. Reduce development and operating costs.
3. Adopt land use regulations to promote affordable housing
4. Preserve existing affordable housing and create new affordable housing.
5. Develop organizational capacity for affordable housing.
6. Build an understanding and support for affordable housing.
Goldman discussed several points under each strategy as outlined in the Action Plan.
Weisler wondered if there are any shorter term ideas with regard to funding. Goldman said liquidation of the Strawberry Lane parcel would be a nice kick-start to put funds into the Housing Trust Fund. That money will be very useful for matching funds for other grants.
Goldman said, assuming the Housing Trust Fund is stable and has all the funds
it can use, it will be necessary to determine what type of programs the City
wants to establish to use those funds. Some uses might include:
|0000||Home ownership program
Rental assistance program
00000These two programs are active currently and are administered by
Rehab programs to rehabilitate homes occupied by low/moderate income households.
Homeless and transitional housing
Fair housing activities
Technical assistance to non-profits
Employer assisted housing
Weisler mentioned the educational component and said she contacted Chris Oswald, former Commissioner, and picked up a brochure the educational subcommittee had prepared that is almost finished. Weisler expressed an interest in serving on an educational subcommittee.
Jackson asked Goldman what particular strategies and actions he plans to spend his time on. She would like to have a discussion about zoning - where we have multi-family in different parts of town.
Molnar said the land use strategy is a priority as well as the framework of the Housing Trust Fund. Goldman's priorities have not been completely decided as he is still working at his other position as a planner.
Weisler wondered if it would be possible for the next meeting to get a timeline and list of priorities. Molnar thought they could work up a tentative timeline.
Hartzell thought it would be helpful if Goldman wrote down the sections of the Land Use Ordinance that would be affected.
Goldman said during his transition, he will be working on the Strawberry Lane partition. Assuming the plan is approved, there would be three lots available, two that would be liquidated to fund the Housing Trust Fund.
Weisler asked for an explanation of the Housing Trust Fund. Molnar said there is the Ashland Community Land Trust, a separate non-profit involved in affordable housing (an organization). The Housing Trust Fund is a mechanism within the City, outside the general fund, that would go toward housing.
Jackson thought setting up a trust fund within the City would be a pretty straightforward thing to do. Hartzell said Rich Rohde, Oregon Action, has put together a workbook on how to set up a housing trust fund. She recommended the Housing Commission request a copy. She suggested it might be appropriate for the finance subcommittee to talk about how to keep it going.
Hartzell told the Commissioners that the Jackson County Housing Coalition meets monthly and if anyone is interested they can get information from Staff about when and where they meet.
Peck asked if once the Housing Trust Fund is established, would the current line item budget item be funneled into that trust fund? Molar said that would be established by the Finance Director, Lee Tuneberg.
With regard to land use regulations, Mackin noted on page 28 of the Action Plan, there are eight items that are already prioritized. An outside consultant prepared the document 16 months ago. Was this report adopted in total as written and has the entire land use section been sent to Planning with the recommendations of the Council that this is the priority?
Jackson said Council unanimously adopted the entire Action Plan. It goes then back into the Community Development Dept. The first step was hiring the Housing Specialist position. Unfortunately, the first hire did not work out. One of the frustrations of the Housing Commission is that the reports keep getting produced and the action is not happening.
Goldman said he has made some modifications to the plan. He inserted wording in the cover letter stating that the purpose of the RFP is for creating and managing affordable housing within the site. The development proposal should seek to provide affordable housing to moderate, low and very low income households. He added wording that any proposal include the period of affordability to address the long-term housing needs in the community.
Another item of concern Goldman mentioned is the selection criteria for projects. Points would be given adding up to 100. He met with Debbie Price, regional representative for Oregon Housing, to discuss tax credit projects. Price recommended that because no market study has been done in the Ashland area, she would hesitate for the Commission to be very restrictive in establishing income limits or number of affordable units. Instead, leave it broad to get as many development proposals as possible back and then select according to what meets the community's interest. We just don't want to limit the applications we receive.
Weisler said it seems like it is our job to meet the unmet needs. Hartzell suggested a remedy would be to introduce some kind of criteria that is tiered. She spoke with Sandler and it was his understanding that it was going to be suggested that the 60 year minimum was going to be relaxed. He would not be in favor of that. She would suggest looking at the top of the low income. We have the land. This is the one opportunity where we can drive the affordables down as low as we can get.
Goldman believes that Hartzell's suggestion about the criteria selection process should speak to that when numbers are established for what is weighted. The Commission may want to put more of the weight into the project vision, the period of affordability, the target of low, moderate income households.
Hartzell mentioned both the five year Consolidated Plan and the annual Consolidated Plan are valuable documents should any of the Commissioners wish to read them.
Goldman asked if the Commission did want to establish affordable targets and preferences and selection criteria for projects that provide "x" number of units at "x" income range? Does the Commission feel there is an affordability period that should be established?
Hartzell says the Ashland Community Land Trust (ACLT) uses 99 years.
Goldman said the state (for tax credits) looks very carefully at how the project is going to be managed.
Jackson suggested we settle on a period of affordability that is consistent with the time period for affordability for an annexation - 60 year and have an option for renewal.
Uto asked about the timeline for sending out the RFP. Staff said they are waiting for a final decision from the Commission but there was not a rush.
Goldman also wondered if the Commission wanted to finalize the ranking of the selection criteria. This item will be designated for 30 minutes on next month's agenda.
It was decided a training session would be held on March 13, 2004 from 9 until noon at the Siskiyou Room. If Commissioners have any agenda items, e-mail them to Goldman.
MARCH 17, 2004 AGENDA ITEMS
Workbook from Rich Rohde regarding the housing trust fund set up. If need be, ask Lee Tuneberg to talk about it.
Priority and timeline for Action Plan strategies
There was a short discussion concerning subcommittees. Peck is not convinced we are ready for subcommittees. Jackson has reservations about subcommittees. She would prefer using them for targeted subjects. Subcommittees tend to get real familiar with a subject, do extensive research without much staff support and they start to make assumptions. When it is brought back to the group, the discussion is not complete if you don't bring everyone along. Weisler said there is so much to look at. Not everyone can be an expert in all of it. She believes committees would be useful. They need to have a clear understanding of their scope of work. It is a way to get work done between meetings.
ADJOURNMENT - The meeting was adjourned at 6:05 p.m.
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