Agendas and Minutes

Housing Commission (View All)

Regular Meeting

Monday, July 18, 2005



JULY 18, 2005



Chair Matt Small called the meeting to order at 6:35 p.m. on July 18, 2005 at the Community Development and Engineering Services Building at 51 Winburn Way, Ashland, OR.


               Commissioners Present:                  Matt Small, Chair

                                                                           Carol Voisin

                                                                           Liz Peck

                                                                           Faye Weisler

                                                                           Alice Hardesty

                                                                           Don Mackin

                                                                           Bill Street

               Absent Members:                                             None

               Council Liaison:                                Cate Hartzell, present

               Staff Present:                                     Brandon Goldman, Housing Specialist

                                                                           Sue Yates, Executive Secretary



Voisin said on page 3, “After the Committee,” should read, “After the Commission.”  Voisin/Hardesty m/s to approve the minutes as amended, including correction of typographic errors.  Voice Vote:  The minutes were approved.



PHILIP LANG, 758 B Street, respectfully told the Commission that he will be going to the Council to request that they place on their agenda in the immediate future the topic of abolition, replacement or reform of the Housing Commission and the way they do business.


Small asked Lang to elaborate.  Lang distributed a memo and asked “What can be done?” 

·        Commit or not commit to affordable housing. 

·        Have a workable and accountable structure.

·        Have an accountable staff.

·        A commitment to learning, applying and advocating viable affordable housing programs with proven successes. 

·        Organize it in 3 ways.  1)  At the local level plan, devise, advocate, support and insist on local initiatives and ordinances that promote affordable housing, 2) Learn about federal and state programs for affordable housing.  3) Learn about and advocate for implementation of local creative ideas for affordable housing. 


Lang added without providing housing for those who work in Ashland, we have a major livability issue for the entire community.  He believes the Commission has failed to meet their avowed purpose of creating affordable housing.  Commissioners admitted to being frustrated too, however, Small argued the Housing Commission has accomplished many things.  He offered Lang the opportunity to apply for a position on the Housing Commission. 



Goldman said the 15 minutes allotted for the SOU intern can be removed from the agenda as the intern did not complete the SOU multi-family unit count.


Hardesty asked to bring up the agenda for the study session on Saturday.




Goldman introduced Darcy Strahan, Regional Advisor to the Director. 


DARCY STRAHAN said she serves five southwestern counties. Her purpose is to:  1) work with the Governor’s Economic Revitalization Teams, 2)work with developers (non-profit, CDC, CAP, for profit, housing authority, etc.) who want to build affordable housing, and 3) work with local jurisdictions and find out what “affordable” means to them and their community.


Strahan said they are a funding agency.  She handed out several brochures and written materials explaining some of the various home purchase programs.  The programs include:  First Time Home Buyer, Residential Loan Program, Home Purchase Assistance Program, and Purchase Assistance Loan (PAL).  She said they are trying to get away from the term “affordable housing” but instead calling it “work force housing.” 


The bulk of their resources goes toward the development of multi-family housing.  They do that through a low interest rate loan and bond program (60 to 80 percent of area median income).  They have not figured out how to do those programs outside the Portland Metropolitan Area because Portland Development Commission has a lot of dollars they put toward their affordable housing.  Unless a community has cash they can put toward a project, it is hard to do development while having debt service.  With regard to the low income housing tax credit, it is difficult to get funding for projects less than 25 units and a developer needs more equity.  The low income housing tax credit is also used to fund acquisition rehab housing. 


Goldman mentioned there are two HUD projects that are due to expire in 2008 because the owners have met their term of affordability.  Strahan said if the owners wait until the end of their affordability period, they can sell it to whoever they want.  It isn’t too early to start talking to the owners in order to assist or remind them to start looking for a non-profit to take over their project so it will remain affordable.  Sometimes it takes two to three years to get a project funded.  The closer the owner is to meeting their term of affordability, the higher they get on HUD and Rural Development’s radar screen (moves up on the priority list). 


Smaller projects (25 units or less) are funded with the grants.  The grants include the HOME program, HELP, Housing Trust Fund, weatherization dollars and alcohol and drug funding, and Oregon Lenders Tax Credit. 


Hartzell thought it would be helpful if Strahan could look at the City’s Housing Needs Assessment and see how it can tie into the state’s programs.  She would like to have Strahan meet with the Commission to focus on the following:

               What is the Commission’s highest priority as it relates to the state’s programs?

               How do we anchor the relationship with her agency?

               What should we be assessing that we haven’t assessed?

               How do we interface and optimize these programs?


Strahan said it would be helpful if the Commission members could attend the Housing Summit in February for Jackson, Josephine and Curry counties to be held in Medford. 


Strahan explained that a housing authority contracts with HUD to administer Section 8.  Ashland is currently served by the Housing Authority of Jackson County.  A housing authority isn’t just formed. 


Goldman said the next quarterly Housing Commission study session will be held in October.  Strahan could be scheduled for that meeting. 




Small stepped down.  Weisler chaired this part of the meeting.


Goldman said at the last meeting, discussion was postponed because there wasn’t a quorum present.  In the last packet there was a determination from the City Attorney that negotiations could not take place with select applicants to modify their proposals.  Further, recommendation from Staff was to support the Kendrick proposal for consistency with the downtown and the Historic District as a commercial use.  Referencing a prior Staff memo, they had also voiced confidence in the Housing Authority of Jackson County (HAJC) to develop housing above the downtown parking lot.


Street asked for an explanation of each project’s relationship to Will Dodge Way.  Goldman said 1) LDC – ten head-in parking spaces, 2) HAJC – one space plus some common area and landscaping will face the alley, 3) Kendrick – all the way back to the alley on Alternative A with parking underneath.  Commercial to face the alley all the way up to Lithia Way, and 4) Sandler – common area is internal with housing on north and south up to the alley.


Goldman referenced a memo from Colin Swales asking for consideration of the 1988 Downtown Plan text with reference to downtown alleys. 


Since we can’t negotiate with Kendrick, Weisler asked for the timeline for issuing a new RFP.  Goldman said it would take a minimum of three to four months to be ready to issue a new RFP. 


Hartzell thought it possible to have a draft RFP to the Council by mid-September.  Goldman felt with Hartzell’s timeline, a proposal could be selected by February, 2006. The next application round for HOME dollars is due the middle of February. The next round would be in August. Hardesty believes the above timeline would be optimistic with all the Council has to deal with. 


Hardesty would favor selecting the Housing Authority of Jackson County.  Peck said her main reservation with the Kendrick proposal is whether or not it would provide work force housing.  Goldman said Kendrick would apply for HOME funds and rents have to be consistent with the HOME program.  That, however, doesn’t address unit size.  Peck felt Kendrick’s proposal left her with too many open-ended, unanswered options. 


Mackin said the HAJC made reference in their proposal that if the cost of relocation of the underground utilities is prohibitive, they will be forced to reduce the parking to nine spaces.  Mackin said one of the main parts of the RFP was to maintain as much parking as possible so to go from 13 spaces to nine, is significant. 


Hardesty/Street m/s to recommend to the Council the Housing Commission’s support of the proposal by the Housing Authority of Jackson County.  Street’s influenced by HAJC’s past experience in management and they can do a project that will meet the need for work force housing in the downtown.


Goldman noted that any project that might be accepted will go before the Historic Commission and for a review of the detailed design standards.  Strahan added the Housing Authority has to go through a process with the state too. 


Hartzell handed out her notes from a conversation with Diana Shavey, former Housing Commissioner.  With regard to design, Hartzell asked the Commissioners to think about the cost for design changes.  It seems the Housing Authority is not maximizing the square footage.  Is it correct they are meeting the number of units per acre but the Kendrick proposal or other proposals might have more square footage?  Goldman said the Housing Authority’s units are slightly larger than the others.  Hartzell is concerned we are taking a high end asset and putting it into a low end product.  She wants to maximize the asset.  She is afraid we are diluting our downtown with residential and displacing housing on either side of the downtown (B Street and Hargadine). 


Peck believes the nine units are slightly larger and would be more livable and will better meet the needs of our work force. 


Mackin offered an amendment to the motion to condition the recommendation that the reduction of two parking spaces not be allowed. He is prepared to make a future motion to support the Kendrick proposal subject to the complying with the HOME standards.  Hardesty accepted the amendment and Street seconded it.  Voice Vote:  Peck, Street, Mackin, Hardesty and Weisler voted “yes” and Hartzell voted “no.”  Voisin abstained.


Mackin moved to recommend to the Council for consideration the Kendrick proposal because it is innovative in nature and was responsive to the flexibility offer in the RFP.  It gives a mixed use option.  The rents would be adjusted according to the HOME requirements.  He supports Option A for the parking. There was no second to the motion.  The motion died.



There will be a study session on Saturday, July 23, 2005 from 8:30 to 2:30 p.m.  The topic will be provided by the Education Committee.  Peck will be unable to attend.


ADJOURNMENT – The meeting was adjourned at 8:45 p.m.



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