Agendas and Minutes

Housing Commission (View All)

Regular Meeting

Wednesday, February 23, 2005



FEBRUARY 23, 2005



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

                                                                                Kim Miller

                                                                                Alice Hardesty

                                                                                Don Mackin (left the meeting at 4:50 p.m.)                                                                                                                                                      Amy Korth

                                                                                Liz Peck

                Absent Members:                                  Faye Weisler

                                                                                Carol Voisin

                Council Liaison:                                   Cate Hartzell  (arrived at 4:55 p.m.)

                SOU Liaison:                                         None

                Staff Present:                                        Brandon Goldman, Housing Specialist

                                                                                Sue Yates, Executive Secretary


                APPROVAL OF MINUTES – The minutes of the January 26, 2005 meeting will be approved at the next meeting.


2.             PUBLIC FORUM – No one came forth to speak.


3.             PROJECT UPDATES - HOME Consortium Update

                Goldman reported HOME is a Federal program that is administered by the State of Oregon.   Disbursement of funds is based on population.  Medford and Ashland, combined with the communities in between, could qualify as a HOME Consortium and be given an allocation of HOME funds estimated at $849,000.  Under HOME funds, the region does not compete on a statewide basis, but non-profits looking for HOME funds would be competing regionally.  It’s a guaranteed allocation each year, not competitively based for the region.  The Department of Housing and Urban Development approached Ashland, Medford and Jackson County to see if they were interested in going forward with the HOME Consortium.  If a Consortium is formed, the funds would not be granted until 2006. 


Goldman said one negative is the regional allocation could be less than the yearly average amount of money from the state brought to the region by local non-profits.  If a consortium is formed, non-profits within our region could not apply to the state for HOME funds, only to the region, however, ACCESS has encouraged the region to move ahead to form the consortium. 


The next step is to let HUD know if the region wants to begin the process of forming a consortium for 2006.





                Finance – They reviewed the survey to be sent to the realtors and employers asking questions about the housing trust fund and employee assisted housing (Education).  The survey will be sent out at the beginning of March.  The responses will aid in the development of both the housing trust fund and employee assisted housing. 


6.             NEW BUSINESS

                Action Plan Development

                Goldman said in developing an Action Plan each year, HUD requires an opportunity for the public to comment on what types of activities will be funded.   Other eligible activities are listed in Goldman’s memo of February 23, 2005 to the Housing Commissioners.  Staff believes under the existing Consolidated Plan, there is direction to put the funds toward affordable housing.  However, we are going through a new Consolidated Plan update process that will involve more careful analysis of the eligible uses to see if the 2000-2005 plan we are working under is still adequate or whether adjustments for the use of CDBG funds should be used to fund other eligible activities in the 2005-2009 period.  The first meeting is scheduled for March 2, 2005 at 5:00 in the Siskiyou Room. 


                Public Hearing – No one came forth to speak.


                CDBG RFP Evaluation

                Goldman said a request for proposal was sent out for $190,000 in CDBG funds to be applied to an affordable housing project.  Two proposals were received.  Rogue Valley Community Development Corporation (RVCDC) has applied to purchase three townhomes, rehabilitate them and make them available to the current tenants, if possible.  If not, they would make the units available to low income “for purchase” households at approximately 80 percent of median income.  No further planning is needed to partition the lots. 


The second proposal is from Habitat for Humanity.  They are looking to use $156,000 to acquire two lots for the development of two attached townhomes to target low income households between 30 and 60 percent of median income.  An evaluation of each project has been provided. 


Staff has recommended $190,000 be awarded to RVCDC. 


(4:50 p.m - Mackin left the meeting.) 


                Public Hearing

                Ron Demele, RVCDC, said the owner of the Quincy Gardens townhomes approached RVCDC.  There are currently two occupied units and one vacant unit.  RVCDC has estimated $2000 to cover temporary relocation of the tenants while the work is being done on the units.  Concerning long-term rights for relocation, RVCDC won’t know that until a buyer evaluation is done.  RVCDC would raise the sales price from $94,000 to $104,000 if the relocation fee is higher.   The buyers can choose a 38 year loan.  RVCDC will be working in cooperation with the following agencies:  Housing Authority, PG&E for energy efficient appliance upgrade, Job Council, Rogue Community College and Youth Build for labor, and ACCESS for the ABC’s of Home Buying.  RVCDC will target single parents if the current tenants don’t purchase.  They are looking at 50 to 60 percent of median income.  With regard to the land lease, they will not put a cap on the resale.  The unit could be sold to anyone who qualifies under the City’s or HUD’s low income guidelines.  Goldman questioned the “no cap.”    Demele said the lease specifies the buyer has to match the HUD requirements that not more than one-third of a buyer’s income is spent for housing and they have to earn less than 80 percent of median income.  The units are 544 square feet.  Demele said the open space is not included in the deal. Very little refurbishing needs to be done to meet the Home Quality Inspection.  The owner has agreed to share in some refurbishing such as paint and fencing.   Hardesty had a question about the sump pump and a concern about mold.  Demele said those two issues will be addressed.  RVCDC has six staff members and they are adding a seventh.  RVCDC has the capacity to take on this project along with their other projects


(4:55 p.m. - Hartzell arrived at the meeting.  She stepped out of the room because the Cohousing project will be heard before the Council on March 1st) .)


                Habitat for Humanity

                Presenters:  Melanie Mindlin,  Fordyce Street Cohousing and Henry DeGraff, Habitat for Humanity.   Mindlin said they are planning 13 homes, two of which are affordable.  They are currently involved in a land use action, asking for re-zoning.  The Planning Commission denied their request and it has been appealed to the City Council and will be heard on March 1st.  Presumably, this will be decided before the Council hears the proposals for CDBG funds.  Mindlin and the Cohousing group has been doing extensive discussions with the neighbors and trying to work things out so there will not be the same level of opposition as there was before the Planning Commission.  Three benefits of their plan include:  1)  Habitat for Humanity is uniquely able to provide home ownership to households at the very lowest possible income levels, 2) the cohousing would provide a level of immediate community support in the form of friendships, child supervision and everyday interaction and 3) the physical amenities of the project.  Mindlin noted that Habitat does their own financing, resolving a lot of funding obstacles.


Henry DeGraff said they can make homes available from 30 to 60 percent of median income with a 30 year mortgage.  Someone could purchase a unit in this development with a payment as low as $310 per month including taxes and insurance.  This is Habitat’s niche – helping those that no one else can seem to help. 


Mindlin added that if they do not receive the CDBG funds, they would bring the affordable houses in at the maximum that they could (close to 60 percent of median income) and working under the guidelines of the Systems Development rebate program.  The lots are priced at $156,000, however, it would be sufficient to receive $63,000 and it could still work with Habitat.  Mindlin changed their request to $63,000.   Mindlin said the number one reason for working with Habitat is to solve the 60 year equity limit financing problem. 


Miller thought it was really bad form to split the allocation.


At this point in the meeting, the Commission was nearing their period of discussion, but the public hearing had not yet been closed.  Miller recused himself from the discussion and voting because he has had conversations with someone involved in the Cohousing project.  Mackin had left the meeting earlier, therefore, not leaving a quorum present to vote.  Goldman suggested each Commissioner could attend the Council meeting and give his or her own personal recommendation, but that would end up leaving the Commissioners without a single recommendation for the Council.  The Commissioners decided they wanted to make a recommendation as a Commission.  They left the public hearing open.  They scheduled a special meeting for Wednesday, March 2, 2005 at 4:00 p.m. in the Lithia Room or Siskiyou Room.  Goldman will contact the other Commission members to assure a quorum and confirm the time and date with all the Housing Commissioners.    



(Hartzell rejoined the meeting.)

                Planning Process

Does the Housing Commission wish to review planning actions concerning affordable housing?  This discussion is a continuation from last month.  The Commissioners would like to keep a pulse on affordable housing in the community.  They do not want to be part of the planning process by holding public hearings.  However, they are interested in getting affordable housing built – quality and quantity.  Therefore, the Commissioners asked Goldman to keep the Commission apprised of projects by using a standardized report form tracking the status of each project (how many units, location, etc.).  Also, if a pre-application is submitted that includes an affordable housing component, that Staff would recommend the applicants present their affordable housing component to the Housing Commission before making formal application.    These items could fall under Project Update or Commission Coordination on the agenda. 



                Focus Group discussion on Consolidated Plan Needs element – There will be a meeting on March 2, 2005 from 5:00 to 6:30 p.m. in the Siskiyou Room. 


                Quarterly Meetings – Time and topics will be discussed at the next meeting.


9.             MARCH 23RD, 2005 MEETING AGENDA ITEMS

                Goldman reported that the deadline for the Lithia Way RFP has passed and he received several proposals. 

                It was decided to look at another date for the March meeting as several members will be absent.  Goldman will e-mail the members notifying them of the date of the March meeting.

                Save Our Schools (SOS) is looking at a concept of getting private investors to do built housing on school land.   


10.           ADJOURNMENT – The meeting was adjourned at 6:10 p.m.










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