Agendas and Minutes

Housing Commission (View All)

Regular Meeting

Wednesday, April 27, 2005



APRIL 27, 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

                                                                                Faye Weisler

                                                                                Amy Korth

                                                                                Don Mackin

                                                                                Liz Peck

                                                                                Kim Miller (arrived at  4:22 p.m.)

                Absent Members:                                  Alice Hardesty

                                                                                Carol Voisin

                Council Liaison:                                   Cate Hartzell  (arrived at 4:40 p.m.)

                SOU Liaison:                                         None

                Staff Present:                                        Brandon Goldman, Housing Specialist

                                                                                Sue Yates, Executive Secretary


Small introduced and welcomed Bill Street, new Housing Commissioner replacing Amy Korth.


2.             PUBLIC FORUM


HUELZ spoke about a light industrial, insulated, zero net energy structure solar learning center that would be ideal housing for about 50 “high end” homeless people.  He does not have a site in mind.



Small announced the Parks Department will be meeting tonight or tomorrow evening to decide what type of design they want for the park on North Main and Scenic.  Small thought it could be an opportunity to put together a group and make a pitch for a couple of affordable units on this property with Park’s cooperation and involvement.  Perhaps Parks would donate the land and work with a non-profit to provide affordable housing.  At the very least, it is important to begin opening up discussion with city groups.   


Aaron Benjamin (audience) stated this idea was put forth when he was on the Commission a couple of years ago.  They had talked about forming a committee to explore the possibility of using sites already owned by the Parks Commission.  This is a perfect opportunity to make a test case of whether this kind of cooperative initiative can be worked out. 


Goldman also gave some history of this parcel and also believed this would a good time to pursue this.  If not the existing unit, where else on the site could units be constructed? 


The Commissioners were interested in pursuing this.


1.             APPROVAL OF MINUTES

MINUTES OF MARCH 30, 2005 MEETING – Mackin/Korth m/s to approve the amended minutes of the March 30, 2005 meeting.  Correct the spelling of Weisler’s name (should be Faye, not Fay).  Voice Vote:  The minutes were unanimously approved.


MINUTES OF APRIL 13, 2005 SPECIAL MEETING – Mackin/Korth m/s to approve the amended minutes of the April 13, 2005 special meeting minutes.  Correct the spelling of Weisler’s name, and note Hartzell arrived at 6:50, not 6:15 p.m.  Voice Vote:  The minutes were unanimously approved.


5.             NEW BUSINESS

Consolidated Plan Strategy Assessment

                Public Hearing – No one came forth to speak.

                Commissioner discussion and recommendation – Goldman said a public meeting was held in addition to a focus group meeting with some of the Housing Commissioners present to talk about strategies coming from the stakeholders’ perspective.  The general consensus was the primary needs for CDBG funds in the following areas:  1) rental housing , 2) ownership housing, 3) potential housing rehabilitation, and 4) homeless needs.   The existing strategies from the 2000-2004 Consolidated Plan are still relevant today.  The Consolidated Plan proposed by Staff maintains the same goals (1-14).  They are ranked A, B, and C. A meaning CDBG funds will be used, B and C mean they may use money or they won’t use CDBG money. 


One key difference in this plan versus the 2002-2004 is that Staff has suggested modifying this plan  to allow one or two projects that address affordable housing and one project that addresses homeless needs or special needs populations.  That way, the City can make an award of up to 15 percent of its annual allocation ($30,000) to provide direct client services to homeless or special needs population.  This plan re-opens the 15 percent “soft money” for consideration. 


Staff is recommending approval of the Consolidated Plan as presented.  Weisler/Peck m/s to recommend approval of the Consolidated Plan as presented to the City Council.  Voice Vote:  The motion was unanimously approved.



                Public Hearing- No one came forth to speak.

                Commissioner discussion and recommendation – Goldman said the Action Plan is the executing document for the award recommendations that came from the City Council and Housing Commission for the 2005 CDBG award.  It aims to demonstrate the City will be using $190,000 in CDBG funds for the purchase of the three or four units in an existing townhome development off Quincy Street (RVCDC proposal presented at a prior meeting).  Further, the Action Plan aims to identify what efforts the Commission is taking under each of the goals many of which are not funded through the CDBG program.  That is why the social service grants are noted in the Action Plan. 


Approval of the Action Plan is a required step.  The document is forwarded to the Dept. of Housing and Urban Development for their review.  They will say whether the uses we are applying CDBG money to are eligible under the national program.  Staff has reviewed them and believes they are eligible.  In all, $237,500 in 2005 of CDBG funds will be expended.


Miller/Korth m/s to accept the Action Plan as written.  Voice Vote:  Unanimous.



Goldman reported that on April 20th,  he, Hartzell and Miller had a more formal discussion with representatives from Jackson County and the City of Medford of entering into a formal agreement between the jurisdictions to have a direct allocation of HOME funds to this region. Their initial estimates of possible funds to be received was $1,019,000 annually.  HUD wants the three jurisdictions to enter into an agreement by June 30th in order to have the funds available for the 2006 program year.  Local non-profits would have to request funds from the consortium.  The consortium would likely form an advisory that would make award recommendations.  Goldman will bring a higher level of detailed information to the next Housing Commission meeting.  If the deadline is not met, discussions will continue to be ready for 2007 allocation. 


Miller said providing there is at least as much money to be received for the consortium as non-profits have received individually, this is something we should do.  Time is short.  He cannot see any reason not to do this.  He urged the Commission to urge the Council to move ahead.  The only issue he has a non-profit developer is that the consortium come up with the social service grant application.  Miller feels it will give a lot more local control.


Goldman said the first opportunity to take this to the Council would be June 21st.  He said there were no non-profits at the meeting on the 20th.  ACCESS has said their primary fear is if the money leaves the state and goes to a consortium, the consortium may not provide them their funds used for Tenant Based Assistance (TBA).  They also had concerns over whether the consortium had the capacity to administrate the program.  Up to ten percent would be set aside for administration.


Shelley Austin said they need to explore the understanding or lack thereof in terms of regional agreements  because Ashland is a unique environment.  What are the pros and cons and what is the cost benefit analysis?   Everyone needs to understand the concept completely.  She has not been involved with any discussion on this.   


Small suggested inviting the non-profits to the meeting in May.  Goldman said he will try to coordinate with the other jurisdictions for a meeting to get feedback from non-profits and invite Darcy Strahan from the state to answer questions relating to the State HOME program.


4.             OLD BUSINESS

Lithia Parking Lot Proposal Evaluation

Small recused himself due to a conflict of interest.


Goldman said there was a special meeting on April 13th and two consensus points were reached.  (1)  The Commission as a whole felt that commercial space was a favorable component in a downtown housing development. (2)  The Commission did not feel they could recommend any one proposal at this point in time and would require a modification of the existing RFP through a second stage or a new RFP issued.  Questions were raised for deliberation regarding unit size, affordability levels, whether the HOME program was so restrictive that the unit size of less than 600 square feet would be precluded.   Goldman found there is a 380 square foot standard for studios.  Kendrick’s program would comply with the HOME program based on unit size.  Each Commissioner was to forward copies of the completed numerical evaluation sheet to Goldman.  He compiled those and has handed out the rankings.  Staff rankings are included (part of RFP).  The rankings indicate there is not a project that received universal approval from each Commissioner.  Goldman showed an average ranking. 


Peck and Weisler noted that the issues were more complex than what the ranking numbers could reflect.  It was suggested the Housing Commission could give their preferences of the different pieces to the Council.  Hartzell asked what the Council would do with that information. After a lengthy discussion concerning the proposals, the Commissioners were unable to come arrive at a consensus and choose one applicant or to decide if there should be a new RFP or a modified RFP or send an addendum for only allow those that applied initially.  They referred to the memo from Mike Reeder, Assistant City Attorney giving them options for proceeding.  In retrospect, some concluded that the RFP should have been more specific. 


Goldman reviewed some of the points of each proposal.  He asked the Commission if they thought by re-issuing an RFP to just the four respondents that they will get anything but a modified proposal from Sandler.  He thinks if the Commission and Council can make a finding that none of the applications received met the intent of the RFP, and it should thus be re-issued, they could do so.  Most Commissioners felt the intent was met.  Goldman agreed that everyone met the intent of the RFP by providing affordable housing at less than 80 percent that reverted to the City.  All the applications do so in a different way.  That is the difficulty in choosing.


They asked Goldman to come back with Staff comments,  a recommendation.  They also made a list of items the Commission is looking for as priority elements of the applications.  Those items are as follows:

Mixed use

                How it benefits affordable housing

                Percent of affordability – reaching targets

                Unit size – determine if we are targeting the downtown workers


                Amount of rent

                Whether the commercial reverts to the City

What is the profit margin - commercial reversion and how could it pay for itself – how does it benefit housing?

                Any items that Goldman can come up with


Commissioners requested Goldman ask the Assistant City Attorney for further explanation of his memo concerning the options.  Is the Commission limited to who they can send the RFP to, and does it need to be modified or redone?



                Change:  The City Council Lithia Lot proposal evaluation will be heard by the Council on June 7, 2005. 


7.             MAY 25, 2005 MEETING AGENDA ITEMS

                Housing Commission meeting time/place change discussion – Goldman will identify some times and dates to choose from.  Move this item up on the agenda.


8.             ADJOURNMENT – The meeting was adjourned at 6:20 p.m.










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