Agendas and Minutes

Housing Commission (View All)

Regular Meeting

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

JULY 28, 2004

Chair Matt Small called the meeting to order at 4:08 p.m. at the Community Development and Engineering Services building in the Siskiyou Room located at 51 Winburn Way, Ashland, OR 97520.

000 Commissioners Present: Matt Small, Chair
Amy Korth
Don Mackin
Liz Peck
Carol Voisin
New Member: Alice Hardesty
Absent Members: Kim Miller
Faye Weisler
Council Liaison: Kate Jackson, present
High School Liaison: None
SOU Liaison: Ryan Heihn, absent
Staff Present: Brandon Goldman, Housing Specialist
Sue Yates, Executive Secretary

The newest member, Alice Hardesty introduced herself.

1. APPROVAL OF MINUTES - The minutes of the June 23, 2004 meeting were approved as submitted.
2. PUBLIC FORUM - No one came forth to speak.
City Surplus Property - In 2002 and 2003 the City Council did a study of City owned surplus property. The Council directed staff to develop plans to sell the Strawberry Lane parcel and a single lot on Twin Pines Circle. The Twin Pines Circle parcel may have potential for liquidation and resale. The Housing Commission asked Goldman to move forward on liquidating the property. Mackin/Voisin m/s to have Goldman draft a letter of interest in the Twin Pines Circle property to the City with Small's approval requesting the property is utilized for affordable housing or the proceeds of a sale of the property be dedicated to affordable housing similar to the Strawberry Lane property. Small is authorized to review the letter on the Housing Commission's behalf. Voice Vote: All approved.
Now X2 - In 2003, the Housing Commission participated in a joint study session with the Planning Commission and reviewed the City's options at a regular Housing Commission meeting. No motion was made to make a recommendation to the Council. The Council voted not to include any expansion areas. If the Housing Commission should decide to revisit this issue, recognize it could detract from other items the Council has directed the Housing Commission to move forward with. The Housing Commission did not take any action today as there is on-going work being done at the regional level and this item can be revisited at a later date.
Recap of the 7-27-04 Joint Study Session with the Planning Commission - Proposed Ordinance Changes to R-2 and R-3 Zones including Minimum Densities and Limiting For-Purchase Housing in Multi-Family Zones. Staff proposed an ordinance amendment establishing minimum densities within multi-family zones so that projects could not be presented that were substantially less than the target density of a zone. The purpose would be to maximize the number of units on our limited available multi-family land. The second part of the proposal is another ordinance amendment to the R-2 and R-3 zone effectively restricting the amount of for-purchase housing that could be developed on multi-family land in order to encourage a diversity of housing types. In this mix, 30 percent of the units could be for-purchase.

Staff will be taking into consideration the concerns and comments from last night's meeting and bring forward additional information to the Housing Commission at a public hearing scheduled for next month's regular Housing Commission meeting on August 25, 2004 at 4:00 p.m. at the Community Development and Engineering Services building in the Siskiyou Room. The Planning Commission could hear the ordinance changes in October and the Council would hear the changes after that.

Concerns from last night's meeting included:
     Period of affordability.
     Will these ordinance changes make any difference?
     Need for a regular source of funding.
     Do we need a rental study? Rent stabilization.

City Parking Lots - Goldman reported a draft Request for Proposal (rfp) will be presented to the Council on August 17, 2004 for the potential use of all city parking lots within the downtown. This would include the Pioneer parking lot and the lot on Second Street. Included will be the Housing Commission's recommendation for the minimum period of affordability of 40 years and a target income of 80 percent. Also included is the potential buy-back or lease option.
Ron Demele, Rogue Valley Community Development Corporation, a non-profit doing affordable housing for-sale. They target families of less than 80 percent area median income. They put 20 year affordability deed restrictions on their houses. They just completed three homes in Ashland in cooperation with the City using CDBG funding, bank loans, and Rural Development funds. The homes sold for $132,000. The homes were appraised at $250,000.

Their new project at 2001 Siskiyou Boulevard is a federal program call Mutual Self-Help Housing. Qualified buyers can get loans for one percent. Families have to help build their houses. They are getting ready to submit their pre-application. They have potential buyers that will come in at the start of construction. The first year they plan to build eight to ten units. The second year they are working on negotiating for a second piece of property to finish out the project. Demele said it looks like they are will be building three bedroom units and that will require more parking adding more site constraints to their design.

Goldman said he was told the eight to ten units could be done exclusive of any other project. For the first time, he is hearing RVCDC will be entering into a federal contract requiring 15 units. Demele said by the second year they have to have their second site ready to go. It can be anywhere with a population of less than 20,000. A site has not yet been located.

Land Use - They met on July 8, 2004 and discussed the ordinance changes outlined above.

Finance - They met on July 12, 2004 to discuss further the development of the Housing Trust Fund and the CDBG changes in the program year. The Finance subcommittee will meet every second Monday at 7:30 p.m. in the Siskiyou Room.

Education - They are planning an event for the fall to invite the stakeholders and general public, inform and educate the participants about affordable housing and celebrate successes by honoring organizations and people for their efforts in affordable housing. They want to show a summary of solutions. They want to invite bankers, employers and developers to participate. The Housing Commission was supportive of this idea as it is a part of the Action Plan. It was suggested the subcommittee should think through measurements that can be reported to the public annually to create the feeling of progress. And, to decide what it is they want from the stakeholders and bring in a speaker. There is money in the budget to pay for this event. (In the future, the Housing Commission budget will be shown on the agenda.)

Ralph Coppersmith will be at next month's meeting.

Philip Lang discussed an affordable housing plan involving the sale of bonds. The plan is attached to the minutes. Lang wants the following from the Commission: 1) attention to what he has to say, 2) study what he is offering, 3) ultimately the Housing Commission's endorsement, 4) recommendation to the Council to pursue this plan, 5) and adoption of an affordable housing policy by the Council that includes programs like he proposing. The Commissioners had several concerns they discuss with Lang. He will return with different hypotheticals and Goldman will do some research, meet with Lee Tuneberg, Finance Director, and bring back additional information. This item will continue to be on the agenda (Project Updates), updated each month and Goldman will decide when there is time to review it at a future date.

Goldman said this involves a modification of our Consolidated Annual Plan. This is a proposed change in the CDBG program year to shift from a calendar year to a fiscal year. This would be in line with the City's fiscal year and in line with Medford's and the State program year so in the future years, we'll have the opportunity to combine our programs for other federal sources, namely, the Home Program. Staff has presented three options and is recommending Option 1, that the CDBG's year be changed to the City's fiscal year. Under Option 2, the City would retain the existing program year. Under Option 3, the City can approve the program year shift to a fiscal year, but immediately issue a RFP for the $275,000 through the existing process. The City would then issue a new RFP for approximately $200,000 for the 2005 program year.

Goldman read an e-mail from ACCESS voicing no objection to the program year to the fiscal year. They would like to see applications sent out to interested parties at least two months in advance of the due date.

Ron Demele, RVCDC, said he basically concurs with the change but he prefers Option 3. They are currently working around an existing timeframe thinking the applications will be coming out in August and Option 3 would not disrupt their process. It can take months to negotiate for properties.

Jackson said to keep in mind how to use staff's time most efficiently. Hartzell said it is important to work hand in hand with the providers and their feedback is important.

Goldman said in terms of administration, they would have to issue two RFP's this year, instead of one, and issuing one for $275,000 and one for $200,000 instead of $475,000. It changes the scale of project that could be funded. The aggregation of funds in Option 1 is preferred by Staff. If Option 3 is going to be the recommendation of the Housing Commission, he asks that they look at RVCDC's confidence in the project going forward in a timely manner. The project needs to be well developed at the time it is applied for. The readiness to proceed issue is of great importance.

Voisin/Korth m/s to adopt Option 3 with consideration of input from Staff. Voice Vote: All favored.

Public Hearing on land use modifications
Finance subcommittee - 2nd Monday at 7:30 pm. in the Siskiyou Room
Land Use subcommittee - August 12th, noon in the Siskiyou Room
9. ADOURNMENT - The meeting was adjourned at 6:15 p.m.

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