Agendas and Minutes

Housing Commission (View All)

Regular Minutes

Minutes
Wednesday, March 30, 2005

ASHLAND HOUSING COMMISSION

MINUTES

MARCH 30, 2005

 

1.             CALL TO ORDER & APPROVAL OF MINUTES

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

                                                                                Fay Weisler

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

                                                                                Liz Peck

                Absent Members:                                  Alice Hardesty

                                                                                Kim Miller

                                                                                Carol Voisin

                Council Liaison:                                   Cate Hartzell  (arrived at 4:50 p.m.)

                SOU Liaison:                                         None

                Staff Present:                                        Brandon Goldman, Housing Specialist

                                                                                Sue Yates, Executive Secretary

 

Small announced a change in the order of the agenda.  The Request for Proposals will be heard near the end of the meeting.  He will recuse himself from that hearing due to a conflict of interest.

 

APPROVAL OF MINUTES – The minutes of the January 26, 2005 regular meeting, February 23, 2005 regular meeting and the March 8, 2005 meeting were approved.

 

2.             PUBLIC FORUM No one came forth to speak.

 

3.             OTHER BUSINESS FROM HOUSING COMMISSION MEMBERS – None

 

4.             SUBCOMMITTEE REPORTS

Education – They discussed establishing an ongoing relationship with the real estate community by meeting in small groups and gaining their input on how to address affordable housing.

Land Use – No report

Finance – No report

 

5.             NEW BUSINESS

CONSOLIDATED PLAN NEEDS ASSESSMENT

Goldman reported that the Consolidated Plan directs how the City uses the CDBG funds to address the needs of low and moderate income households within the City.  (Note:  The City’s allocation has dropped ten percent.)   The City hired a consultant, John Eppler and Associates to undertake this task.   A focus group meeting was held and the general consensus was that the priorities currently established addressing the needs have not changed since the last Consolidated Plan update in 2002.  In order of priority, those needs included:  1) Housing for rentals, 2) housing for low and moderate income ownership, 3) rehabilitation, and 4) homelessness.  Public Works would like the use of CDBG funds for sidewalks to be considered by the Commission when evaluating needs. 

 

Tonight’s meeting is a requirement of the Dept. of Housing and Urban Development to provide an opportunity for the public to express where they see the highest needs are for the CDBG funds to be spent and those needs considered by the Commission prior to adopting strategies.  At the meeting of April 27, 2005, the Commission will look at strategies and make a recommendation of allocation of funds to the Council.  The Council will review the Consolidated Plan on May 3, 2005.  (Note:  The Consolidated Plan and Action Plan are available online on the City’s website or by e-mail.)

 

Weisler said she would like to hear from the homeless community for possible allocation of CDBG funds for social services.  Goldman said the money can only be used for direct line services.  Small suggested letting the social service agencies know about the next meeting if they wish to comment. 

 

Public Hearing

An unidentified gentleman in the audience said there is a need for funds for the homeless.

 

LITHIA PARKING LOT PROPOSAL EVALUATION

Small stepped down because of a conflict of interest.

 

Even though there was not a quorum, it was decided the applicants would continue with their presentations.  Each Commissioner could make an individual recommendation to the Council. 

 

Goldman reviewed Staff’s memo 3-30-05 to the Commission giving Staff’s evaluation of the proposals.  The proposals were divided into two distinct types.  The Housing Authority of Jackson County and Sandler Films proposals included developing affordable housing above the existing parking lot.  The other two proposals from Kendrick and LDC Design Group each included a commercial component.  All proposals met the priority need the Housing Commission had initially identified, namely, to provide affordable housing above the parking lot.  All proposals met the 40 year period of affordability.

 

Also provided in the packet is an explanation of the strengths and weaknesses of each proposal.  Of the first type (housing above parking structure), the Housing Authority of Jackson County would be able to target a lower income group and provide the housing not yet met in the City and therefore Staff would be supportive of the their proposal as compared to Sandler Films.  The other type (with commercial component) is quite similar.  LDC would require a higher density than allowed.  Staff is supportive of Kendrick Enterprise’s application because it would have fewer obstacles in gaining approval in the planning process.  Further, the Planning Department felt the applications including the commercial component had advantages because they provide an additional job base and more interactive streetscape than a parking lot. 

 

PRESENTATIONS OF RFP’S

HOUSING AUTHORITY OF JACKSON COUNTY (HAJC)

BETTY MCROBERTS, HOUSING AUTHORTY AND BRUCE ABELOE, ARCHITECT

McRoberts did not realize e a commercial component would be considered.   They have proposed nine units under 60 percent median income.  There would be four non-HOME units that could float to 80 percent.  They feel the State would support this project.  There would be five two-bedroom units and four one-bedroom units.  She has done eight of these types of projects and she believes they have the capacity to do this project.  They have a good management record. They have computerized and centralized their maintenance.   The State requires site control for nine months.  At the end of the period of affordability, HAJC’s intent is to keep the units forever affordable.  They manage their own projects.  If the City wanted it back to own and manage, she is sure something could be worked out.  The scale of the project is just right for the funds. 

 

Abeloe is concerned about the ground water if a parking lot is underground.  HAJC's proposal shows prudence and feasibility, reflecting the concern over the unknown.  Their design is very conceptual.  Abeloe donates most of his time on these projects. 

 

Mackin noted that in reviewing the four applications, there is room for interpretation with the RFP.  There are so many unanswered questions.  This is more like a first review to find the best combination then ask for a fine-tuned proposal.  There is a lot of creativity.  Feedback came from Staff after the proposals had been submitted. 

 

Hartzell arrived at 4:50 p.m.  A quorum was present.

 

Goldman said he hoped the Commission would end up with a recommendation to the Council so when they review the proposals, they can select a development team to go forward with the concept they have provided.

 

SANDLER FILMS

ALLAN SANDLER did not realize the City was looking for a commercial component to the proposal.  He can provide that but thought there was going to be an opportunity to sit down with City staff and go over the proposals so they could make adjustments. 

 

Their proposal is for ten units, with 60 years of affordability.  He will commit to 80 percent today but it could go down depending on interest rates.  He is using private funding.  This is a not-for-profit project.  They have provided an additional parking space. 

 

Mackin noticed Sandler’s proposal was unique in that there will be a lien on the property equal to Sandler’s original construction cost.  If the City wants it back at the end of the affordability period, they would have to satisfy the lien for the original cost with no interest or adjustment for inflation.  

 

Mackin doesn’t believe one proposal has to be chosen tonight.  He sees a tremendous response from four quality applicants.  The City has to react and say what has merit and what doesn’t.  We didn’t have the experience to write an RFP that was all-inclusive.  This is exploratory. 

 

Peck asked about management and screening clients.  Sandler has in-house staff that manages other projects.  If needed, they would go to an outside source. 

 

Hartzell asked about 80 percent affordability.  Sandler said the units might come with lower constructions costs.  Sandler said his rents would go up based on the Area Median Income (AMI) or the Consumer Price Index (CPI).  Goldman thought Sandler matched up with the City’s affordable guidelines.  Sandler said if he had the opportunity to add a commercial component, the affordability could come in lower. 

 

KENDRICK ENTERPRISES & ASHLAND COMMUNITY LAND TRUST (ACLT)

BRIAN GASSMAN AND SHELLEY AUSTIN

Gassman said the units are being given at cost to ACLT with no profit to the developer.  The project has a commercial component that will provide jobs, a streetscape, and more public parking.  They are proposing 16 parking spaces with an underground garage.  Kendrick has been doing this kind of work for 25 years. 

 

John Echlin, architect, showed and explained the design features.  The streetscape is part of the downtown vision and that is why they proposed a mixed use solution.  Part of the downtown vision is to have an active sidewalk.  The parking lot would be public.  The commercial space is at the alley level (Will Dodge Way).  The two levels of housing form an “L” shape with a courtyard and a small office space.  There is a rear stairway to the alleyway.  Access to parking is off Lithia Way because of the grades, but only ten spaces. 

 

Echlin said they did two schemes.  The preferred scheme has parking underground.  The other scheme would take the parking out of the parking garage with parking along the alleyway.  The underground parking would allow for 16 spaces and without, ten spaces.  Scheme 1 does not request the change in density.  Scheme 2 access for parking would revert to Will Dodge Way and would end up losing the commercial along Will Dodge Way. 

 

Shelley Austin, ACLT, said that partnering with a well-known design organization is an opportunity for ACLT to build, acquire and create more affordable units.  This is a unique opportunity to demonstrate a public/private partnership.  Ashland needs innovative projects.  This project is another opportunity to increase public awareness in terms of housing needs.  ACLT has an opportunity to apply for funds through OCHS or HOME dollars, in turn, enabling them to apply for CHDO funds.  They have to spend a lot of time fund-raising.  They will apply for a $500,000 grant.  Then they qualify for the CHDO.  They would do a capital campaign, allowing them to raise public awareness.  Austin said they are looking at $1 million to own and manage the project.   Austin is not concerned about generating funding.  Kendrick has the financing and could start construction tomorrow.  The shortfall is $637,000 that ACLT needs to purchase the units.  Austin said the project would revert to the City after 40 years.  ACLT will do ten units. 

 

Weisler said if the City allows commercial, the proposals should show the benefit derived. 

 

Hartzell asked about parking fees and maintenance.  Gassman understands the developer and ACLT will manage the maintenance.  Hartzell said it expensive for the City to maintain a parking lot.  Hartzell would like to see the commercial help pay the way for the affordability. 

 

Mackin said this proposal is a 60 percent proposal and the non-commercial is an 80 percent of AMI.  The savings is passed through.  Hartzell wondered if it is 60 percent because the units are so small.  Mackin can’t imagine a proposal that has commercial that the commercial won’t remain with the developer for the period of the lease term.  That is what makes it attractive.  At this point, the commercial is so significant, we almost need to give everyone a chance to look at their proposals with commercial added.  This proposal is two proposals in one. 

 

It was moved and seconded to extend the meeting to 6:15 p.m.

 

LDC DESIGN GROUP

JAMES COOPER, ARCHITECT said their proposal tries to reinforce Ashland’s energy.   They have worked with Homestead Capital and financially, it will pencil.  They would do the affordable housing component (16 units), using the low income housing tax credits.  At the end of 15 to 20 years, the ownership of this asset will belong to the City or a non-profit commissioned by the City.   The period of affordability is flexible.  They have done similar successful projects in several communities.  They will sell the commercial, and the management of the affordable and market rate apartments would be selected by the limited partnership. 

 

It behooves everyone to do something with the streetscape. It would be reasonable for the commercial to pay for some of the affordable.  Why would the City give zero dollar air rights for someone to build commercial and sell it? 

 

Even if you are low income, you need a car.  The underground parking is all for the residential.  There is parking for the for-market units and also for affordable housing.   In refining their proposal, they can address a situation where there can be an income stream from the residents that will go toward a revenue stream for the City or for the non-profit.  Their proposal allows for preservation parking off the lane (10 spaces) for commercial parking. 

 

Cooper believes when you have a site such as this it is incumbent to imbue it with as much energy, resources, and value as possible to enhance the city and the streetscape, for all the reasons people love to live in Ashland, and in doing this, it takes the burden off the infrastructure.  By not allowing more density, it adds to the infrastructure costs. 

 

Cooper said they might be able to build a fourth story and keep it less than 30 feet.   There are performance criteria that will allow them to exceed the forty feet.  The crux of their proposal is density.  They believe they can provide affordable housing at 16 units per acre using this model and do it comfortably.

 

PUBLIC HEARING

RUSS DALE said we have a limited supply of buildable  space.  The site allows them to use all available space to the highest degree of efficiency possible.  Give the applicants a chance to come back.

 

The Commission decided to hold a special meeting on April 13, 2005 to give the applicants an opportunity to provide supplemental information.  At that meeting, the Commission will work toward making a recommendation to be forwarded to the Council possibly for their meeting on April 19th.

 

6.             COMMIMISSION COORDINATION

There is a meeting of the HOME Consortium stakeholders meeting on April 14, 2005 at the Lausmann Annex City Hall, Medford.

 

7.             APRIL 27, 2005 MEETING AGENDA ITEMS

                (See March 30, 2005 agenda)

 

8.             ADJOURNMENT

                The meeting was adjourned at 6:40 p.m.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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