Agendas and Minutes

Housing Commission (View All)

Regular Meeting

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

OCTOBER 27, 2004

Chair Matt Small called the meeting to order at 4:05 p.m. at the Community Development and Engineering Services building in the Siskiyou Room located at 51 Winburn Way, Ashland, OR 97520.

Commissioners Present: Matt Small, Chair
Don Mackin
Liz Peck
Alice Hardesty
Faye Weisler
Kim Miller
Amy Korth (arrived at 4:35 p.m.)
Absent Members: Carol Voisin
Council Liaison: Kate Jackson, present
SOU Liaison: Ryan Heihn, absent
Staff Present: Brandon Goldman, Housing Specialist
Sue Yates, Executive Secretary

Weisler/Hardesty m/s to approve the minutes of the September 22, 2004 meeting. Voice Vote: Unanimous.
Rich Rohde, Oregon Action, 124 Ohio, announced that the Jackson County Housing Coalition will be meeting on November 18, 2004 at 3:00 p.m. at the Lausmann Annex (next door to Medford City Hall). Goldman will be giving a presentation on the Housing Alliance.

Aaron Benjamin, 740 Emigrant Creek Road, Ashland, said he recently had the opportunity to pose questions pertaining to affordable housing to two candidates, Alan Bates and Peter Buckley. He reported their responses.

Nancy Richardson, 93 California Street, noted that she was past chair of the Housing Commission and a member of the Commission when they lobbied the Council for the Housing Specialist position. She is concerned that Goldman is not spending his time on education, a major component of affordable housing. His time is being spent with Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) work. She said the position was supposed to be 100 percent non-CDBG. She would like the Commission to look into talking to Staff and Council.

Richardson said several cities are allowing applicants who apply to build a certain number of units that are green or affordable to be pushed to the top of pile for planning in order to encourage this type of development.

HOUSING ALLIANCE – Goldman attended the Housing Alliance meeting held October 6, 2004 in Portland. Three items were chosen by the Housing Alliance to take to the State Legislature.
1) Creation of a $5 million grant through the Oregon Housing Trust Fund that is not trust fund money but could be allocated as a grant in a given year.
2) Proposal for establishment of those households making $10,000 a year and paying more than 20 percent of their income toward housing and are over 58 years old. The proposal is to expand the parameters of the program to have it target all households regardless of age, and increase the amount of money they are spending on housing from 20 to 30 percent.
3) Making sure the term “housing” is in a committee at the State Legislature. Currently there is no place where housing related bills can logically go.
4) Lifting of pre-emption on inclusionary zoning.
The real estate transfer tax was an item that was vetoed because it was not strategically plausible in the upcoming legislation. The Housing Department for the City of Portland is still looking at moving forward with the real estate transfer tax. Goldman will continue to follow this.
4. OTHER BUSINESS FROM HOUSING COMMISSION MEMBERS – New and Miscellaneous Commissioner discussion items not on the agenda
A. Housing Specialist’s time – The Commissioners discussed where Goldman’s time is currently being spent. Goldman spends a large percentage of his time working with CDBG. Weisler/Miller m/s to recommend to the Council that the Housing Specialist’s position be dedicated 100 percent to housing as intended in his job description, exclusive of CDBG, other than appropriate coordination with that program. Voice Vote: Unanimous.

Jackson said the Commission needs to look at the Housing Action Plan strategies identifying perhaps some changes in direction. It will go to the Council December 21st and she suggested the above motion be highlighted as part of the report to the Council.

The Commission decided the co-chairs and Jackson would write a letter of transmittal making a case for what the Commission is trying to accomplish but how they are limited by Staff’s limited time. Include the items outlined as priorities at the planning session as items the Commission would like to implement and explain how everything is being held up because Goldman simply does not have enough time. This is not a reflection on Goldman, but he can only do so much. The letter will be brought back to the meeting on November 17th for review by the Commission. The Commissioners asked Goldman to show how much time he spends on CDBG.

B. Miller said the Commission will hear a presentation from the Homeless Alliance next month. He encouraged members to go to the website that talks about a permanent kind of homeless campground. It can be found at:
A. Education – They looked at the Action Plan to determine which items would be appropriate to work on. They expanded their scope from Education to Education, Advocacy and Outreach. The items identified in the Action Plan were:
Strategy 1 D – Convening employers group
Strategy 4A – Development coordination efforts with non-profits
Strategy 5C – Public information program – Goldman’s time is needed for this item
Strategy 6A – Public information program to build public and community support
B. Land Use – no report
A. Fordyce Street Co-Housing Development – Melanie Mindlin and Theresa Jensen explained the co-housing concept. Co-housing is a model of development that is a group of people that want to live in housing that creates a slightly higher involvement with their neighbors than traditional development. They are currently working on such a project. Usually a group of people get together to plan and design a community that they will live in. Affordability has been a goal of the group from the beginning. The majority of the 13-unit housing project is planned to target median income. The state has set a limit of $266,000 as affordable housing that should be available to purchase that is near median income. The state will give bond assistance, lower interest rates, etc. Mindlin said their target prices would be considerably below that. They will be required to build some housing that will fall within the new ordinance that establishes a certain percentage of affordable housing when re-zoning or annexing. Those homes will fall within the 60 year equity limit. Their group is working on an equity limit clause (deed restriction) but it will be tied to the percent of market value when purchased for the moderate priced housing.

Mindlin said the biggest issue is the 60 year equity limit. How is it financed? There are significant problems with this. The 60 year limit makes a lot of sense for rental housing. For-purchase housing works quite differently. There is an inherent conflict with the goals established by the City (maintaining long-term affordable housing) and the goals of most of the funding agencies (anti-poverty mandate). The funding agencies are looking to build people’s financial and housing security through equity growth in their homes. The Commissioners asked Mindlin to share her financing experience with the Housing Commission once the project is complete.

7. PUBLIC HEARING – Community Development Block Grant Action Plan Modification
Staff Evaluation/Recommendation - Goldman said the Housing Commission has reviewed the proposals referenced in the modification of the Action Plan as outlined in the Housing Commission memo dated October 27, 2004 (see table 1). The award selection has been made and now it is time to approve the allocation.

Public Hearing – No one came forth to speak.

Commission questions, discussion, and recommendation – Weisler/Peck m/s to approve the Staff Report. Voice Vote: Unanimous

A. CDBG Action Plan Modifications to Council Nov. 16th
B. Minimum Density to Planning Commission on Oct. 26th
The Planning Commission recommended at their meeting (vote: 6/2) to forward it to the City Council for their approval.
C. Minimum Density to City Council on Nov. 2nd
D. Housing Priorities to Council on Dec. 21st (Jackson handed out Council Goal 8.)
Jackson believes it is important to be thorough in the report to the Council. Note the items that could be acted upon this year and the steps it will take with other items in order to make progress.
Housing Priorities
Land Use/Living Map, identifying land and density issues

Finance/Trust Fund - Peck said it was brought up that there is a resident of Ashland who has put together a housing trust fund. Is it possible to tap into that resource? Or, participate on the Finance subcommittee?


Ashland Homeless Alliance (AHA) presentation
10. ADJOURNMENT – The meeting was adjourned at 5:45 p.m.

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