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Housing Commission (View All)

Housing Commission Minutes 5/24/2007

Thursday, May 24, 2007



MAY 24, 2007




Chair Bill Street called the meeting to order at 6:40 p.m. at the Community Development and Engineering Services Building, 51 Winburn Way, Ashland, OR.  Other Commissioners present were: 


Commissioners Present:


SOU Liaison:  Sunny Lindley, Absent


Bill Street, Chair




Richard Billin


Council Liaison:  Alice Hardesty, Present


Aaron Benjamin




Regina Ayars


Staff Present: 


Carol Voisin


Brandon Goldman, Housing Specialist


Liz Peck


Sue Yates, Executive Secretary


Bill Smith




Absent Members:  Steve Hauck





APPROVAL OF MINUTESThe minutes of the April 26, 2007 Housing Commission meeting were approved. 


PUBLIC FORUM – No one came forward to speak.



The Housing Commission requested a housing inventory within multi-family zoning districts to determine a unit count.  The work was begun by the SOU Planning Issues Class beginning in 2005 and was completed by this year’s class.  The maps provided show multi-family units and commercial buildings.  Goldman thanked Pat Acklin and her class for doing this work. 


Pat Acklin introduced her students.  The students explained the work they did.  They provided maps and explained their methodology.  They used the maps from the 2005 survey to identify and locate vacant parcels or parcels missing data and checked the accuracy of the 2005 data.  Most of the data was accurate.  They ground checked the data.  They found a lot of apartments converted to condominiums as well as new condominium development.  They thought it would be useful to have aerial photographs for the next survey to match up what is on the ground.   They made the following suggestions:  1)  Regulate the number of units reserved for rent within condominium conversions, and 2)  Provide incentives for condo owners to provide rental units, and 3)  Provide incentives for apartment owners to maintain as apartments instead of converting to condos. 


It was suggested that this survey be updated every five to ten years and in advance of a buildable lands inventory.



Steve Ferrarini, Ferrarini & Associates, Inc. presented his report and findings.  The findings are outlined in his memo dated May 5, 2007 and assess the current rental market in the city, forecast future rental housing needs, recommend public policy solutions to the city’s housing needs, and establish a methodology for updating the needs analysis on a regular basis in the future.  The forecast suggests the type of units needed in Ashland is studios.  There should be 74 new rental units being developed in the city annually.  Two significant barriers:  1) It is much more financially attractive to build multi-family units and sell them rather then renting them, and 2) the City does not have enough buildable land to accommodate efficient multi-family development.  There is going to be a pressure to increase rental rates.


The City of Ashland’s rent problems break down to these three items:

1.       There is a production problem.  (There is a need to build rental units and the rental units are not being built.)

  1. There is an affordability problem.  We need affordable units that do not exist.  To solve the production problem, developers need to make more money on rent for development of rental units.  However, if that happens, that can harm the affordability problem.
  2. The City does not have enough vacant land to meet the need for rental units.  Most of the inventory of vacant land is on very small parcels.  A larger parcel can aid in development efficiencies (cost).  Secondly, the most effective program for building affordable housing is the tax credit program.  To use the program, the projects need to be about 25 to 30 units. 


Consequently, Ferrarini suggested the City needs to do the following:

        1.     Create strong policies and follow-up with action and leadership.

        2.     Allow staff to develop the expertise in affordable housing.

        3.     Develop programs that make development of affordable housing more financially attractive.

        4.     Reduce SDC and permit fees.

        5.     Be proactive about directing state and federal funding.

        6.     Be proactive about dedicating staff time to grant writing and contacting the state about funding – what’s available, acquiring funds and directing funds. 

        7.     Increase the land supply.

        8.     Have current information so programs and policies can be revised accordingly.


Bill Smith said SOU is trying to identify vacant land.  Smith said there is currently a waiting list for SOU housing. 


Hartzell is concerned the survey is skewed because so many young people have cell phones and those are not listed number and therefore could not be contacted to be surveyed.  Ferrarini said that is a problem and if they were included in the survey the rent burdened number would be greater.  


Hardesty said the Commission has discussed the need for two and three bedroom units because that would draw in children, yet the population trends show that studios are the units we need.  Ferrarini said he talked to about six property management companies and they indicated studios, one bedroom and three bedrooms are the most difficult for renters to find available.  Three bedroom units are not as economically viable. 


The final rental needs analysis report will be coming out on May 30, 2007.


Voisin left the meeting at 6:45 p.m.



The City Council reviewed the proposed ordinance on April 17th.  At that time, the Council instructed staff to continue the public hearing and bring back a revised ordinance.  They asked staff to remove the development agreement section as well as addressing a goal of providing rental housing as primary and affordable housing additionally.  There is a memo from Goldman dated April 24, 2007 in the packet covering those changes.  An ad hoc committee was formed consisting of:  the Land Use subcommittee of the Housing Commission (Bill Smith, Regina Ayars, Alice Hardesty and Bill Street) and two members of the Planning Commission (Michael Dawkins and Tom Dimitre).  They looked at this briefly last week in terms of the options for conversions that would be allowed.   Instead of having 75 percent ownership/25 percent affordable, staff has now come up with a set of sliding scales (the matrix is included in packet).  The Planning Commission is scheduled to review this at their June 12th, 2007 regular Planning Commission meeting.  It will go before the Council on June 19, 2007.


The Housing Commission reviewed the conversion table options and asked Goldman to bump up the number of market rentals and affordable rentals by capturing a lower cutoff point (number of units).   Leave the numbers but change the percentages required to increase the number of affordable units.  Goldman wants to present just one table to the Council.  The Housing Commission endorsed the concept of the matrix and sliding scale, but asked Goldman to look at ways to increase the number of affordable rental units.  Billin noted that his concern with using Option 3 might end up reducing the overall inventory of market rentals.  Hardesty heartily endorsed the concept.  Street suggested inviting a small focus group of apartment owners before it goes before the Planning Commission or the Council to see if there are any concerns that come up for them.




Education – An RVTV show is scheduled for June 21st from 6 to 7 pm on Channel 9 to discuss employee housing.  Guests will include:  Carolyn Johnson, Ashland Community Hospital, Bill Smith, SOU, and Kyle Hopkins, Sky Research. 

Finance – They looked at the Housing Commissions’ response to the mission statement and at priority uses for the Housing Trust Fund.

               Land Use – They discussed the condo conversion ordinance (noted above).

               Liaison Reports

Council – Hardesty said it was suggested at a Council/Budget meeting that because the City’s economic needs are so great that the proceeds from the sale of the Strawberry property might be better spent on something other than affordable housing, however, for the time being that idea has been dropped. 

Schools – Street said he thought the Board of Directors would be meeting the afternoon of May 25th in a study session to discuss affordable housing.

Planning – At their meeting on May 8th, they discussed the Economic Opportunities Analysis data.  They talked about goals, the relationship between transportation and affordable housing, planning and public process, sustainability and the environment and housing.  They also talked about land supply and possible expansion of the Urban Growth Boundary as a component that should be seriously considered.  They discussed mixed use, higher density, and careful consideration of condos as well as the use of public lands. They said the Croman site and the Railroad property should be dedicated to industrial use.  The City received a grant to work on a master plan for the Croman site.

                               Parks – no report

                               Tripartite – They did not meet in May.  The next meeting will be June 20th. 

                               Pre-App Review Board – no report

Goldman announced there was a Fair Housing presentation last night.  It was web cast throughout the state.



The August Housing Commission meeting was changed from the 23rd of August to the 30th of August at 5:30 p.m.  Hardesty will be absent.

May 31st, 5:30 p.m. - RVCDC Groundbreaking at Siskiyou near Park Street

               June 21st,, 6 to 7:00 p.m. (Channel 9)  Housing and Employers RVTV Show

Next Housing Commission Meeting – Community Development and Engineering Services Building, June 28th, 2007, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.


ADJOURNMENT:  The meeting was adjourned at 7:40 p.m.


Respectfully submitted by,

Sue Yates, Executive Secretary

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