Agendas and Minutes

Housing Commission (View All)

Regular Meeting

Minutes
Monday, March 20, 2006

ASHLAND HOUSING COMMISSION

MINUTES

MARCH 20, 2006

 

CALL TO ORDER – Chair Faye Weisler called the meeting to order at 6:30 p.m. at the Community Development and Engineering Services Building, 51 Winburn Way, Ashland, OR.

 

Commissioners Present

SOU Liaison

Faye Weisler, Chair

Sunny Lindley, absent

Bill Street

 

Jennifer Henderson

Council Liaison

Alice Hardesty

Cate Hartzell, left at 7:00 p.m.

Liz Peck

 

Carol Voisin

Staff Present

Don Mackin

Brandon Goldman, Housing Specialist

Matt Small

Sue Yates, Executive Secretary

 

APPROVAL OF MINUTES

Henderson/Voisin m/s to approve the minutes of the December 19, 2006 meeting.  Voice Vote:  Approved.

Henderson/Voisin m/s to approve the minutes of the February 27, 2006 meeting.  Voice Vote:  Approved.

 

PUBLIC FORUM

HUELZ GUTCHEON said by starting with one simple thing like finding a place for the homeless to sleep, there might be a chance to tackle the more complicated things.  An idea for a place would be something like the parking ramp behind Lithia Springs Hotel.  This idea has been successful in Berkeley. 

 

OTHER BUSINESS FROM HOUSING COMMISSION MEMBERS

Rental Needs Analysis – Request for consultant services

Goldman said the Land Use subcommittee indicated there would be a value in doing a rental needs assessments to help with their long range planning.  He was asked to provide a scope of work that is outlined in the packet and see if the Commission wants to make a recommendation to the City Council to fund a rental needs assessment as part of the 2006 budget.  He has not been able to find a comparable study to look at the cost.

 

Justification for the rental needs analysis:

·         In order to do any revisions to the requirements for annexations and zone changes, there are certain questions that need to be asked.  Who are we trying to help the most and should we be concentrating on rentals or should we be concentrating on home ownership?  If so, what income levels?

·         Meet requirements of Goal 10 by providing different housing types to all income levels. 

·         Focus to this point has been on home ownership.

·         Rentals were the weakest part of the Employer Assisted Housing workshop.

·         Include in the scope of work the rationale for rent controls.

 

Street/Hardesty m/s to support the Land Use subcommittee’s recommendation that there be a rental needs study.  Voice Vote:  Unanimously approved.

 

Hartzell left the meeting at 7:00 p.m.

 

New and Miscellaneous Commissioner Discussion Items Not on the Agenda

The Commission decided to invite Carleton Hart to speak to them on Thursday, April 13, 2006 from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.

 

NEW BUSINESS

2006 CDBG Proposal Evaluation and Recommendation

Henderson has a conflict of interest and recused herself and left the room.

Staff Synopsis and Recommendation

Goldman reported that three applications were received requesting funds as follows: 

1.        Rogue Valley Community Development Corporation (RVCDC) is proposing to build six units on a vacant parcel ($360,800).

2.        Ashland Community Land Trust (ACLT) proposes to acquire property with an existing duplex and add possibly two additional units ($328,000).

3.        CERVS Interfaith Care Community (ICC) would like funds for a fulltime transitional housing coordinator/case manager to assist extremely low income/homeless ($32,000).

A more detailed description of each proposal is contained in the memo dated March 20, 2006 and contained in the packet.

 

Concerns and Issues

RVCDC

·         The proposed six units are the remaining units (Bud’s Dairy – Russ Dale project) that are required to be affordable to meet the annexation criteria under the original approval.  RVCDC’s proposal adds the benefit of keeping the units affordable in perpetuity.  The existing requirement only requires they be affordable at initial sale.

·         They need to provide 15 units in order to utilize the Self-Help program.  Where will they find the other site(s)? 

·         Owner/builders are not allowed to be their own contractors for condominium construction, and there is no building code exemption. 

ACLT

·         Clarify income levels targeted by Habitat for Humanity

·         Is Habitat the builder rather than owner builder?

·         The project Performa was not clear as to the CDBG contribution.  What is Habitat’s contribution?  If awarded, all the funding sources will need to be listed.

·         Conflict of interest – There are several individuals that have a potential conflict of interest on this project.  The City Attorney will provide a legal opinion to HUD.   A waiver can be granted if there has been no actual conflict. 

ICC

·         If the position that is funded is located in Ashland, it is directly accessible to the intended beneficiaries.  If the office is in Medford, there could be a disconnect. 

·         The funds will help people gain the skills necessary to move out of homelessness or emergency housing into transitional, however, the housing does not yet exist in Ashland. 

 

Staff Recommendations – Staff is recommending awarding $328,000 to ACLT and $32,000 to ICC with the conditions stated on the last page of Goldman’s memo.

 

Presentations

RVCDC

RON DEMELE, Executive Director, RVCDC, introduced John Wheeler, Construction Supervisor and Floyd Polowski, President. Demele believes they can satisfy all the issues noted by Staff.  RVCDC will retain ownership of the six units and they will enter into 99 year land leases.  They will be able to get one percent loans from Rural Development.  They are training Youth in Construction and using the Self-Help program currently.  Demele handed out a packet responding to Goldman’s concerns including a letter of intent to sell the property on Clay Street and a letter from Teresa McCants, realtor, saying that land values in Ashland are high and it would be advisable to buy.  RVCDC can act as the contractor though it will raise their insurance.  Or, they can do townhouses by gapping the buildings from three to five inches to cover the owner builder issue.  They would be willing to take less CDBG funds than the amount they have requested.  There has been a Level 1 Environmental Review done and they don’t see any issues.

 

Commissioners/Staff Comments and Questions

Goldman commented that McCants letter seems to be based on single family residential prices or market rate, not a unit with affordability restrictions.  He also noted the City executes a resale restriction covenant that establishes an appreciation cap. Staff would recommend it be applied on this project and subsequent projects.

 

Commissioners asked if Dale would be willing to reduce the price of the land.  He would be selling land that has already been committed to build affordable housing.  Dale’s already received a benefit.  Now he wants to market the land at market value.  The Staff Report recommends that an appraisal be done that will establish property value and Staff would like to see all the costs broken out. 

 

ACLT

EVAN ARCHERD, ACLT Board member introduced Henry DeGraff, Habitat for Humanity.  They propose to purchase the property and Habitat will build two new condominiums at the rear of the property.  They have no intention of removing the current tenants.  They would wait until the tenants vacate to do any do any resale of the units.

 

Response to Questions from the Staff Report

Archerd said they have entered into a formal option agreement to purchase the property for $375,000.  There was a question about whether or not there was an easement that would provide access to the back of the property.  The current property owner thinks there is an easement, but the adjacent property owner has agreed if there is not an easement to discuss entering into some sort of negotiation to acquire an easement. 

 

There is a total of $50,000 broken down for holding costs, plans, sales and legal.  That lump sum adequately covers how much it will cost to “condo-ize,” off-site improvements, etc.  They will refine the costs as they move forward. 

 

DeGraff said they act as their own contractor and they will be targeting families at 30 to 60 percent of median income.  They have always been successful in finding applicants.  Sixteen families have already been selected for Habitat’s next 16 homes.  He added that they are on the verge of entering into relationships with corporations in the valley and are hoping to get sponsors for every house they build over the next few years and hope to get more financial help from those same corporations.

 

Archerd said when the adjacent property owner gets back to town, they will have more definitive information regarding the easement.  It would have to be a condition of approval.  There seems to be a willingness on the part of all parties to work it out.  There has been no mention of a cost associated with the easement.

 

ICC

No representative was at the meeting.    

 

Questions and Comments

Goldman said no application has been filed for transitional housing but there is a need.  Mackin said we are talking about using federal money.  By using Ashland’s share of the CDBG funds, as long as we are raising up and helping citizens, just because we don’t have transitional housing they may find it somewhere else in Jackson County.  It is still giving someone a hand up. 

 

PUBLIC HEARING

NETI REST, 76 Union Street, said she is a HUD renter.  She used to live on Garfield Street where there was too much crime and the police were pretty casual about it.  She believes it is a problem when you designate a neighborhood as low income.  She would rather see HUD housing and low income housing mixed with all neighborhoods.  When you have a mix of long-term homeowners with short-term renters, there are a lot more people paying attention to quality of life in the neighborhood.

 

AARON BENJAMIN stated one of the applicants does create a net increase of units in Ashland – two additional units as opposed to six.  The other request is for a salary.

 

DELIBERATIONS

Voisin/Small m/s to accept Staff’s recommendation that ACLT receive $328,000 of CDBG funds for land acquisition and that ICC receive $32,000 for a transitional housing coordinator position. 

 

There was concern that the ICC person might not be housed in Ashland.  Everyone thought a physical presence in Ashland would be important.  Voisin/Small accepted a friendly amendment to leave the motion as it stands, but expressed the Commission’s intent that there be a physical presence (staff person) to meet with people in Ashland.  Voice Vote:  Approved unanimously.

 

The Council will hear the Commission’s recommendations and applicants on April 4, 2006, 7:00 p.m.

 

The meeting was extended ten minutes. 

 

REPORTS AND UPDATES

Subcommittee Reports

Education – Street said there is going to be a community forum hosted by Save Our Schools and Playgrounds (SOSP) on Thursday, May 4, 2006 from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Ashland High School Library.  Street will notify the Commission if this changes.  The Education subcommittee will meet with SOSP this week to discuss how the forum will be organized.

 

On April 5, 2006 from 4 to 8 p.m. there will be a public meeting at the public library to discuss the options for three bond measure proposals.  He would like to see members of the Housing Commission attend.  The amount and implications of the bonds will affect housing and the future of our community in a dramatic way.  Street will be attending.

 

Land Use Committee –Hardesty distributed their committee report.  The next meeting will be April 13, 2006 from noon to 1:30 p.m. in the Community Development and Engineering Services Building.

 

Finance – Weisler reported that they talked about the consultant looking at the potential funding sources for the housing trust fund (probably do through an RFQ).  Goldman said the development of a housing trust fund is seen as directly relating to a Council goal and will therefore be forwarded by Administration to the Budget Committee and the Council.

 

Street (Parks Liaison) said he read the Council will be discussing the purchase of property with some of the property to be set aside for affordable housing.   Goldman said during an Executive Session of the Council, they reviewed a proposal to purchase property behind the Ashlander (1.5 acres) to be used by Parks.  The Parks Department will try to define an area for affordable housing without impacting their intention of buying the property for open space.  Fifteen percent of the property will be set aside for the purpose of developing housing.  The purchase price for the land is $115,000 to build five townhomes. Goldman will provide the Commission with a site drawing.  Part of the budget request for 2006 would be to have the Strawberry Lane funds purchase the property. 

 

Weisler would like to have a further discussion regarding the commitment of the Strawberry funds and how the Housing Commission should have input.

 

COMMISSION COORDINATION - The meetings are listed on the March 20, 2006 agenda.

 

Henderson announced there will be a Senate Interim Revenue meeting on May 17, 2006 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Medford City Council Chambers

 

Agenda Items – The agenda items for April 17, 2006 are listed on the March 20, 2006 agenda.

 

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

 

Respectfully submitted by

Susan Yates, Executive Secretary

 

 

 

 

 

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