Agendas and Minutes

Housing Commission (View All)

Regular Meeting

Wednesday, January 26, 2005



JANUARY 26, 2005


1.             CALL TO ORDER

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

                                                                                Faye Weisler

                                                                                Amy Korth

                                                                                Liz Peck

                Absent Members:                                  Don Mackin

                                                                                Carol Voisin

                Council Liaison:                                   Cate Hartzell, present –incoming

                                                                                Kate Jackson, present - outgoing

                SOU Liaison:                                         None

                Staff Present:                                        Brandon Goldman, Housing Specialist

                                                                                Sue Yates, Executive Secretary


2.             APPROVAL OF MINUTES – Peck/Hardesty m/s to approve the minutes of the December 15, 2004 Housing Commission meeting.  The minutes were approved.


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


4.             PROJECT UPDATES

Council Goal Setting

Hartzell reviewed the draft Council goals for the coming year.  The goals specifically relating to affordable housing were: 

1.             Identify at least 25 units of affordable housing and have online for construction in 2006. 

2.             Derive a specific list of 2004 action items from the Housing Action Plan and Needs Assessment with reasonable, measurable marks of progress.


Other items relevant to affordable housing included:  Complete the Downtown Plan, develop a working Economic Development Plan, develop and implement a visioning process.


Council Study Session topics could include:  Homeless issues, growth and infill issues, look at funding plan for open space and a housing trust fund, Measure 37, and work regionally.


Jackson noted the first goal is to find another staff person to handle the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), freeing up Goldman’s time. 


Staff will provide the Housing Commissioners with a copy of the draft Council goals.


Federal Appropriations

Ann Seltzer, Management Analyst for the City, said she has been meeting with a community group, Ashland United Front, made up of representatives from various employers and organizations including SOU, Ashland Community Hospital, Ashland School District, Rogue Valley Transit District, City of Ashland, Ashland Chamber of Commerce and Community Works.  They have been discussing what issues are important to our community as a whole.  They are requesting Federal Appropriations for a total of four items.  The item most relevant to the Housing Commission is a request for funds to purchase land for the development of affordable housing.  They are asking for $2 million.  The goal is to develop two twenty eight unit affordable housing units.  Seltzer said they might need to be requesting a letter of support from the Housing Commission. 


RVCDC Project

Ron Demele said the property at 795 Park Street has been purchased.  They are going through the Site Review process.  The other project is at Faith and Siskiyou.  Both will be under Mutual Self-Help Housing, a federally funded program.  They have six people with certificates (qualified buyers).  They are looking for nine people initially and then another six for the second site.  He anticipates the homes will sell for $110,000 to $115,000.  The mortgage rates will be as low as one percent.  RVCDC will retain the land with a 99-year renewable lease.  He showed the Commission the site plan.  They found someone to take the existing house off the property. 


They have been federally funded for two years with Youth Build.  RVCDC will have a staff person overseeing high school youth that have dropped out of school who will be given an opportunity to learn construction skills. 



Real Estate Transfer Fee – RETF

Goldman said last month a general recommendation was made to forward to the Council a request o pursue the RETF further.  This item is going to the Council on February 15, 2005. 


Public Input

Don Rist, realtor, stated the City has sent the RETF to the voters two other times and was defeated (possibly 1982 and early 90’s).  He does not support the tax.  He has suggested someone from the City or Commission get in touch with Devian Aguirre as she as been able to build affordable housing with private funding.


Michael Spencer, Government Affairs Director, Rogue Valley Association of Realtors, said they are committed to affordable housing but don’t feel a RETF is the way to go.  If a house is taxed, the price of a house will go up.  It is discriminatory.  Only 400 to 500 properties a year would be affected.  They can work with the City to find other means to achieve their goals. 


Marilyn Stewart, realtor, said the transfer tax is discriminatory and will make homes more expensive.  She also noted that affordable housing has to be associated with a quality of life homeowners would like to have, not high density, no yard, no garage, etc.  She would like to see more land brought in from the Urban Growth Boundary. 


Sandy Royce, broker, said she supports affordable housing, but not the RETF.  If the tax was in effect, she currently has five sellers that need to scale down and the tax would hurt them. 


Susie Aufderhide, Oregon Action, supports affordable housing, however, the money should come out of everyone’s pocketbook.


Hardesty said there is a possibility of a graduated tax.


Goldman said the tax may seem discriminatory, but eventually almost all houses will change hands. 


Korth said not everyone can be rich and own their home.  She believes we need to do rental units.  How can the UGB be extended and not create sprawl?  Peck added that you could expand the UGB and still end up with luxury houses.


The Commission wants the support of the realtors and to put options on the table to consider.


4.             OTHER BUSINESS FROM HOUSING COMMISSON – Kim Miller said he is disappointed the co-housing project was denied by the Planning Commission.  Goldman said the Commissioners could testify at the Council appeal as private citizens.



                Land Use – no meeting

                Finance  They are deciding how to gather data for the Housing Trust Fund and will begin soliciting information from various employers/employees such as realtors, police and fire, large companies as to what their needs are with relation to housing.

                Education – They are discussing employer assisted housing and working with the Finance subcommittee on a survey.  Goldman will generate a list of major employers.  Jackson mentioned that the Chamber is doing a survey to encourage business growth.  The subcommittees might want to see if they can add some questions to the Chamber’s survey.


There was general discussion about the process to move the RETF along from the Council up to the State Legislature.  Aaron Benjamin wondered if any consideration had been given for removing the pre-emption on the inclusionary zoning.  Jackson encouraged him to talk to State Representative Peter Buckley. 




Question:  Does the Commission want to get involved in the planning process in hearing affordable housing projects? 

Options presented by Goldman:  1.  Housing Commissioners can elect a liaison to the Planning Commission.  The liaison could attend meetings and report back to the Housing Commission.  2.  After the pre-application process but before the applicant makes formal application, the Housing Commission could recommend an applicant make a presentation to the Housing Commission to look at the affordable component of their project. 

Discussion:   Some felt there is no need to concern the Commission with the design and small details of a project.  The Commission should have other ways to encourage affordable housing.  Rather than input on each project, concentrate the Commission’s efforts on using the Land Use Ordinance to support the housing needs that have been identified under Goal 10.  The Commission is advisory.  Some liked Option 1 and some liked Option 2.  More discussion is needed on this item at the next meeting.



                Lithia Way RFP due February 23, 2005

                Housing Alliance Lobby Day, February 1, 2005 in Salem


9.             MARCH 26, 2005 MEETING AGENDA ITEMS

                CDBG Preliminary Action Plan Hearing

                CDBG 2005 RFP Evaluation and Recommendation

                Continue discussion of the Housing Commission’s involvement with the planning process.


10.           ADJOURNMENT – The meeting was adjourned at 6:00 p.m.


Respectfully submitted by,

Susan Yates, Executive Secretary

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