Agendas and Minutes

Housing Commission (View All)

Regular Meeting

Minutes
Monday, December 19, 2005

 

 

ASHLAND HOUSING COMMISSION

MINUTES

DECEMBER 19, 2005

 

CALL TO ORDER – The meeting was called to order at 6:30 pm by Vice Chair Matt Small. 

 

               Commissioners Present:                       Matt Small, Vice Chair

                                                                           Liz Peck

                                                                           Don Mackin

                                                                           Jennifer Henderson

                                                                           Carol Voisin

                                                                           Bill Street

                                                                           Alice Hardesty

               Absent Members:                                        Faye Weisler

                    Council Liaison:                                      Cate Hartzell, arrived at 7:05 p.m.

               Staff Present:                                        Brandon Goldman, Housing Specialist

                                                                           Sue Yates, Executive Secretary

 

APPROVAL OF MINUTES

November 21, 2005 Minutes - Henderson made a correction under “Finance,” that should read, “Mary Brooks, Center for Community Change.”  Under “Other Business” ‘neighbors’ was misspelled.  Mackin/Voisin m/s to approve as corrected.  Mackin/Voisin m/s to approve the minutes as amended.  Voice Vote:  Approved.

 

PUBLIC FORUM

An unnamed woman spoke.  They have no housing, no car and three children.  They have been getting help from churches and ACCESS.  They are living in a motel room.  They have lived in Ashland off and on over the past six years.  She only has access to minimum wage jobs.  Her husband takes odd jobs but no steady work. 

 

Hartzell arrived at 7:05 p.m.

 

AARON BENJAMIN, 740 Emigrant Creek Road, said the Planning Commission approved a mixed use project at 1651 Ashland Street at last Monday’s Planning Commission meeting.  The project is mixed use with commercial use on the ground floor and residential development on the second floor.  There was no mention of the background on this site.  There had been a project developed in cooperation with RVCDC and a bank using CDBG money.  The project fell through.  He believes it would set a positive moral tone if there is any way possible to press the developer to provide even more affordable units than required. 

 

There was an editorial printed on 12/15/2005 talking about pros and cons of the Housing Commission becoming officially involved in the planning process.  The editorial suggested this would be another layer of bureaucracy.  Benjamin read a letter that he prepared for the Tidings because the Planning Commission is not being sensitive to the affordable housing issue and if they were, there would not be a need for the Housing Commission to take a participatory role.  It is time for the Council to take bold steps.  He had a list of suggestions. 

 

Hartzell suggested he change the word “oversight” to “review” of planning actions.

 

Hardesty thought it might be a good idea for someone on the Commission to respond to the Tidings’ article.

 

ALAN DEBOER, 2260 Morada Lane, was hoping the Housing Commission would work on setting policy for the City instead of reviewing planning actions.  

 

TOM BRADLEY, 700 Terrace Street, serves on the board of ACLT and they are proposing a joint venture with ACLT and the City for the Handyman building to renovate the building for non-profit tenants on the ground floor and use the second and third floors for residences.  They would like a recommendation from the Housing Commission.  Small suggested putting this on next month’s agenda. 

 

HUELEZ said as prices go up, zero net housing does not have utility bills.  It costs 15 percent more initially, but it will pay in the long run for affordable housing. 

 

UPDATES

Housing Alliance Legislative Agenda – There is a memo in the packet talking about the meeting held on December 14, 2005. They will be going to the State Legislature asking for $143,500,000.  Of that, a significant amount would come from a Real Estate Transfer Tax.  There will be another meeting in February to finalize their strategies.

 

Request for Amendments to SDC Deferral Program – Discuss under Old Business.

 

Current Project Updates – The project that Benjamin referred to will be required to have two units that are affordable.  The applicants offered to do four units.  That was acceptable and approved by the Planning Commission.

 

Lithia Lot Negotiations – There will be a meeting on December 21st to review a valuation of the property that was provided from Sam Fung.  Hopefully, they will be able to determine how much the proceeds from the commercial component will be. 

ACCESS is currently the primary partner.  ACLT has stepped out of the development.  ACCESS has had more experience and will manage the affordable housing.

 

Housing Commission Budget – The budget is $750.  The Commission has spent $317.  They took funds out of other sections of the Community Development budget to fund the Employer Assisted Housing meeting and some other expenses. The cost of the Workforce Housing Summit is $35 per person.

 

CONSENT AGENDA

Subcommittee Reports

Education – Employer Assisted Housing Meeting – Notes were taken at the meeting and they are in the packet.  There will be a follow-up with perhaps a letter to the editor. Also, they are inviting businesses back for further discussion to see what kinds of needs they have.  The priorities of the Education Committee are listed in the packet.  They will be meeting again on December 21st.

Liaison Report – Juli DiChiro attended the Employer Assisted workshop and was one of the few that signed up to come back in January.  Three members of the School Board attended Diana Shavey’s workshop later.  Hardesty made copies of an article from the New York Times regarding creating housing for teachers. She offered to send them to the members of the School Board.

Subcommittee of the Parks, City Council and School District – They are going to meet January 4th from 1 to 2:30 pm in the Parks Office to discuss the details of the specific properties they are talking about preserving (playgrounds).  Voisin and Hardesty can attend.

 

OTHER BUSINESS FROM HOUSING COMMISSION MEMBERS - None

 

NEW BUSINESS

Council Presentation by Housing Commission – On January 17th the Housing Commission will have an opportunity to present to the Council a regular update on the Housing Commission activities.  The Education Committee talked briefly about what the presentation might entail.  Goldman will present a short PowerPoint presentation to talk about the state of housing in Ashland, statistics, and affordable housing projects that are completed and underway.  The Commissioners will summarize what the Commission has done this year.  They considered using charts and graphs and letting the Council know that there is a housing crisis in Ashland.  They want to explain the collaborative efforts they have made over the past year, their priorities and accomplishments and what they see coming up in the near future.

 

The other issue before the Council will be the Housing Commission’s role in the planning review process in addition to the annual update.  Street volunteered to present the planning review process.  Henderson agreed to help.  The Commissioners generally agreed that the two issues should be clearly separate.

 

Voisin suggested that everyone know what they are presenting by January 12th and send to Goldman what they will be saying.  Goldman can then distribute the presentation to everyone.

 

Voisin and Street will talk about workforce housing, Weisler and Small will represent the Finance Committee and talk about the housing trust fund, Peck, Mackin and Henderson will discuss Land Use, and Hardesty will talk about collaboration. 

 

Voisin/Henderson m/s to extend the meeting 15 more minutes.  Voice Vote:  Approved.

 

HOUSING PRIORITIES – Peck said the housing priorities have to get done before the next Housing Commission meeting to be ready for the January 17th presentation.  The Housing Commission will meet on January 9, 2006. 

 

SDC DEFERRAL PROGRAM

Goldman said this was last discussed in 2005 (see memo in packet dated December 19, 2005).  There is a program narrative in the packet and a sample resolution.  Option A would require a mandated 30 year period of affordability.  Or, a voluntary 30 year period of affordability with a six percent annual accrued interest return (essentially what it is today, but 20 years). 

 

There are two options for the Community Development and Engineering Services fee.  One is to exempt the fees outright for properties that target households at 80 percent AMI for ownership and 60 percent for rentals.  Currently that exemption has been granted on a case by case basis by the Council.  The SDC deferrals amount to $7000 to $10,000.  The Community Development and Engineering Services fee is about $2000.

 

Street/Voisin m/s to approve Staff’s recommendation for a 30 year period of affordability with no early withdrawal period permitted and to further reduce the cost of the affordable housing units, waiving the Community Development and Engineering Services fees.  Voice Vote:  The motion carried unanimously.

 

Staff has recommended in the resolution that the SDC deferrals apply to those projects that benefit renters at 60 percent AMI.  Units coming in at 60-80-120 would all qualify as affordable housing units under the program.  That is consistent with the zoning ordinance and the annexation ordinance that sets those limits but the SDC deferrals would only be permissible that are benefiting low income. 

 

Rent levels would be targeted at the 60 percent to the HOME program.  That includes a set-aside for utilities.  The 80 percent ownership would be established by looking at the principal, interest, taxes and insurance as well as housing association fees.  Instead of setting a maximum purchase price, it would set a maximum monthly payment based on the household’s ability to pay.

 

Staff is recommending Option A – 60 percent AMI for rental housing to provide a greater subsidy and incentive.  The Commission could also forward Option C. 

 

Henderson/Hardesty m/s to choose Option C with Option A.  Voice Vote:  The vote was unanimous in favor. 

For-Purchase Housing.

 

There are four choices (see 12/19/05 memo).  Staff is recommending:  a)  Principal, interest, taxes, insurance and homeowner’s association fees are all considered part of a person's monthly housing costs and in no case shall a household pay more than 30 percent of their income in housing costs.

 

Voisin/Mackin m/s to choose a).  Voice Vote:  The vote was unanimous.

 

Housing Priorities – They can just show the Council what they have thus far.

 

The Commissioners wondered what Staff’s recommendation will be in reference to the Housing Commission reviewing planning actions.  Goldman thought Staff would outline workload rather than a recommendation for or against reviewing planning actions.  The Commissioners believe they should get this fully worked out before they go to the Council or they should reconsider going to the Council on the 17th.  Hartzell said the Commission needs to be looking at proposals.  We think it is important.  How do we do that?  The Commission decided to meet on January 9, 2006 to discuss housing priorities and review Staff’s position concerning review of planning actions.  This meeting will take the place of the January 23rd. 

 

ADJOURNMENT – The meeting was adjourned at 9:00 p.m.

 

Respectfully submitted by

Sue Yates, Executive Secretary

 

 

 

 

 

 

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