Agendas and Minutes

Housing Commission (View All)

Regular Meeting

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

DECEMBER 15, 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
Carol Voisin
Alice Hardesty
Faye Weisler
Amy Korth
Liz Peck
Absent Members: Don Mackin
Kim Miller
Council Liaison: Kate Jackson, present
SOU Liaison: Ryan Heihn, absent
Staff Present: Brandon Goldman, Housing Specialist
Sue Yates, Executive Secretary
2. APPROVAL OF MINUTES - The minutes of the November 17, 2004 meeting were approved.
Mike Morris, 720 S. Mountain Avenue, stated he is a member of the Ashland Planning Commission but not representing the Planning Commission today. Morris and the Commissioners discussed the Fordyce Cohousing project that was heard at the Planning Commission meeting on Tuesday, December 14, 2004. Morris didn't really feel the project itself was denied but the request for the re-zone of the property from R-1-5 (Single Family Residential) to R-2 (Low Density Multi-Family Residential). He was one of two that voted not to deny it.

The Housing Commission had previously heard a presentation from the Fordyce Cohousing group but would not have been able to make a motion to recommend the project because they don't make recommendations on planning actions. Some of the members had questions then about the affordability of the units and sustained affordability.

Morris wondered about long-term affordable housing and use of accessory residential units for affordable housing. Jackson and Goldman explained that accessory residential units are one component of affordable housing. The Action Plan looks to shift accessory residential units to outright permitted uses in single family zones and not require a Conditional Use Permit.

Morris brought to the attention of the Commission that designing for curbs, gutters, sidewalks and other design elements in a project add to the cost of the project. He wondered if the Commission had given any thought to waiving the fees for these types of design requirements.

It was noted that the Tree and Historic Commissions review projects looking at specific criteria. The Housing Commission does not yet have specific criteria to use in reviewing projects. The Commissioners suggested looking at this issue at a meeting.

A. Minimum Density Ordinance (Second Reading completed by Council)
Goldman reported the minimum density ordinance was approved by the Council and has become effective.
B. RVCDC Project
RVCDC received a Youth Built Award through the Job Council. This will allow students to get job skills training on the Park and Siskiyou projects creating free labor on those units. RVCDC has had difficulty getting applicants to qualify for the Self-Help program.
5. OTHER BUSINESS FROM HOUSING COMMISSION MEMBERS - New and Miscellaneous Commissioner Discussion Items Not on the Agenda.
Jackson said though the Minimum Density ordinance has gone through the process, it did not apply to the Historic District because of the Maximum House Size ordinance. The Council is concerned about the process for the Maximum House size. There have been a total of 90 permits requested, only five of which were requests for maximum square footage. The Council is asking to have those statistics tracked for a period of time. They want to see how much housing stock is being taken out of circulation.
6. SUBCOMMITTEE REPORTS - No subcommittees met.
Real Estate Transfer Tax
Goldman referred to the memo and supporting information in the packet regarding the Real Estate Transfer Fee (RETF). Does the Housing Commission wish to forward a recommendation to the City Council stating that Ashland would like to participate in the pilot project establishing a Real Estate Transfer Fee in the amount of 0.5 percent? Small so moved. The motion was seconded and approved.

Rich Rohde, 124 Ohio, Oregon Action, further discussed the RETF and Housing Trust Fund. He said the first $150,000 of the sales price of a home is exempted, but assuming the fee is 0.5 percent to one percent, approximately $412,000 could be raised for affordable housing in ten months in Ashland. It is such a rational way to raise money for affordable housing.

This could be a possible project for the Education Committee to do some additional research.

Hartzell interjected she would like to see the Housing Commission make a recommendation to the Council to pursue this. Weisler/Hardesty m/s to strongly support and urge the Council to strongly support the Real Estate Transfer Fee (RETF) and investigate looking into engaging in a lobbying effort to support the lifting of the pre-emption specifically for the purpose of affordable housing. Voice Vote: Unanimous.

Goldman will write up the recommendation to the Council and also write a letter to the Blue Ribbon Committee on housing giving them a status report.

A. Ashland Homeless Alliance (AHA) - Presentation delayed until January 26, 2005
B. Housing Priorities for Council Goal Setting
The Council is asking for two things:
1. What are the Housing Commission's highest priority goals they would like the Council to include in their goals for 2005-2006?
2. A more comprehensive prioritization of the Affordable Housing Action Plan.
The Commission discussed: 1) removing CDBG responsibilities from Goldman, 2) land acquisition, 3) the housing trust fund, and 4) housing program review update. The goal of creating a living map was discussed at length and though it would be a very useful tool for determining inventories, it was decided at this point enough studies had been done and it is time to go ahead with the information at hand.

With regard to the land acquisition goal, the Commission discussed the merits of including "permanent affordability" and working with the private sector as well as the non-profits. Weisler moved to adopt the wording "Land acquisition intended to support permanent affordable housing through non-profit and private housing providers." The motion died for lack of a second. Most concluded it would be more appropriate to pass along a broader goal to the Council so they don't become limited in their search for affordable housing. Korth moved to adopt the language, "Land acquisition intended to support affordable housing in collaboration with non-profit and for-profit housing providers." The motion was seconded and carried unanimously.

1. Establish a housing trust fund platform.
2. Remove CDBG responsibilities from Goldman.
3. Housing program review and updates.
4. Identify land for re-zoning to create additional affordable housing.
These goals match the goals of the Action Plan.
A. CDBG 2005 RFP to be issued December 20, 2004
Goldman said the proposals sent out for 2005 will be due back on February 9th, 2005
The RFP for the Lithia Way property will be mailed out on December 23, 2004.
B. Subcommittee meetings
Land Use - 1st Thursday of the month (January 6) at noon in the Siskiyou Room
Finance - 2nd Monday of the month (January 10) at 7:30 p.m. in the Siskiyou Room
Education - 3rd Wednesday of the month (January 18) at 5:30 p.m. in the Siskiyou Room
How will Housing Commission weigh in on Planning Actions?
Federal appropriations - Hartzell and/or Jackson
11. ADJOURNMENT - The meeting was adjourned at 6:20 p.m.

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