Agendas and Minutes

Housing Commission (View All)

Housing Commission Minutes 2-28-2008

Thursday, February 28, 2008



February 28, 2008



Chair Carol Voisin called the meeting to order at 5:30 p.m. at the Community Development and Engineering Services Building, 51 Winburn Way, Ashland, OR  97520.


Commissioners Present:


SOU Liaison:  Alexandra Armarotico

Carol Voisin, Chair



Richard Billin


Council Liaison:  Alice Hardesty

Regina Ayars



Aaron Benjamin


Staff Present:: 

Absent Members: 


Brandon Goldman, Housing Specialist

Steve Hauck


Carolyn Schwendener, Account Clerk

Bill Smith



Graham Lewis





Ayars/Hardesty m/s to approve the minutes of the January 24, 2008 meeting.  Voice Vote:  Approved.



No one came forth to speak.



Subcommittee Report

      Education – No meeting/no report.

      Land Use – Will discuss under Agenda item #5, Annexation and Zone Change Ordinances.

Finance – Hardesty attended a meeting regarding the Transient Occupancy Tax and reported that there was some discussion about people being reluctant to have any increase in the TOT.  Ashland’s occupancy tax is at 7% and most Communities throughout Oregon are at 9%.  A question raised at the meeting was “What will the increase in money be spent for?”  State law says that 70% of the additional amount must go to tourism and only 30% can go to the general fund.  Hardesty stated that a lot of the discussion centered around more events in the shoulder season as well as the winter season.    Hardesty noted she didn’t see any place in the discussion for bringing up the Housing Trust Fund and if the TOT is raised only 30% of it can go into the General Fund which is where the Trust Fund money would come from. 


Benjamin would like to see the Chamber of Commerce find a way to get the empty downtown stores filled.  Benjamin recently read a letter written by Doug Mitchell suggesting that the major problem that causes the vacancies in the shops is that downtown landlords are greedy.  Benjamin suggested that the extra money from the TOT could go to the Chamber and they might be able to put pressure on the landlords to help the situation.  Hardesty mentioned that the discussion of the stimulation of businesses was brought up at the meeting. Ultimately the Council decides how that money will be spent. 


Staff Update – CDBG Program – The CDBG request for proposals went out in January and only one application was received which Goldman handed out so the Commissioners could review before next months meeting in order to make award recommendations to the City Council. The application is only for a $10,000 request to do Fair Housing activities, leaving $335,000 on the table.  Goldman stated that he is working on a communication that he will present at next months meeting outlining some alternative uses for those remaining funds as well as an evaluation of the Fair Housing Council of Oregon’s application.  In talking with local Housing providers as to why applications weren’t received Goldman found that RVCDC is currently working on existing projects and ACLT is looking at other activities including building two units behind their Bridge Street property.  The Housing Authority provided a letter explaining why they did not request funds.  Essentially they would be looking at the potential of using those CDBG funds but are not far enough along with their pre development plans for their acquisitions of the 52 Unit Stratford Apartments on Clay Street.  They may ask for CDBG funds to rehabilitate those units.  Goldman stated that they have until June of 2009 to spend the funds.  Goldman suggested that perhaps instead of the Fair Housing Council of Oregon having to come down to attend the March 27, 2008 meeting he might be able to arrange a conference call with the Commissioners.



Liaison Reports

Council – Hardesty thought that the Housing Commissioners gave a very nice presentation to the Council.  The Council did make the selection of RVCDC for the Clay Creek Development.  The Land Use Ordinance did not get heard and has been continued. 

Parks – No report.

Schools – No report.

Planning – Benjamin was unable to attend the Planning Commission meeting but asked Goldman to share about the presentation he did at the recent Study Session.  Goldman noted that the presentation was similar to one he presented to the Housing Commission on January 24, 2008 where he reviewed the Regulatory Barrier and Housing incentives list.  Hardesty found it interesting that the Planning Commission thought it was a good idea to meet with developers and find out from them what the barriers are and why they aren’t building apartments. Benjamin stated that John Fields has answered that question on various occasions stating that land isn’t cheap enough.  Goldman said that the joint meeting may in fact include both non profit and for profit developers.


Facilities Plan – Voisin reported they had a meeting and were given a handout of all the facilities that the City has and what the current use of those facilities is and what is needed.  The next step is to look at them individually and have further discussions with department heads to see what they want. They will take a tour after next meeting on March 6, 2008 to see all the sites and then make their recommendations. Voisin noted they decided to invite Julie Di Chiro, School Superintendent, to be on the committee. They will also be looking at what the school district has.


Croman Plan – Ayars attended one of the meetings that was held.  The presentation was delivered by three of the Land Use Consultants.  Ayars said each table came up with what they felt was the most important issues along with what they would like to see on the site.  The Consultants are looking at 72 acres which encompasses the Croman Site and the surrounding area.  Voisin recalled that at least four of the tables mentioned Housing and Workforce Housing as something they would like to see there.  Another issue was the need for safe routes for the children to go to school. On March 19th and 20th there will be two more public forums where the consultants come back with their first attempt at a master plan and to get feedback again from the community. 


Homeless Forum – Benjamin commended Graham for his participation in the panel and the presentation he made.  Ayars said that she was there representing the League of Woman Voters.  Goldman noted that Arnie Green spoke about the decrease in federal funding for homelessness and the difficulty that as an organization Community Works had responding to an environment where costs were increasing and funding was decreasing.  Sharon Schreiber from ICC [Interfaith Care Community] spoke saying that she has a lot of Ashland funders that specifically want to put their funds to help people in Ashland only, though the rest of the funders around the County are looking at a County wide use.  The facility in Ashland is not supported entirely by Ashland but funding from outside of Ashland and the county so Schreiber questions why it’s location in the valley isn’t more centralized.  The homeless people in the audience voiced that they wanted it more centrally located in Ashland.  Goldman explained that the City of Ashland CDBG program funded an ICC transitional housing position in which they were giving people guidance into getting into permanent housing and into transitional housing.  Goldman noted that in past conversations with Schreiber  she has explained that its their experience that Ashland homeless were unwilling to go through the steps in the transitional housing because they would have to move to Medford to the transitional housing facility.  They were surprised in terms of the unwillingness of people to complete the program. 


Update regarding Senate Bill 1073

Goldman reviewed the City Council letter sent to the Senate that was signed by the mayor indicating that the City Council had passed a resolution in support of Senate Bill 1073. This was a Senate bill intended to allocate two million dollars towards the creation of a fund through the Oregon Housing Community Services to pay for the rehabilitation of units such as the Stratford Apartments. The Stratford is moving out of their term of affordability and need to be rehabilitated in order to stay in the program. 


Tour of the Housing Authority of Jackson County Units in Medford

Goldman called the Housing Authority and they indicated they had just had their Open House and all the units are now filled.  They did offer to meet with the Housing Commission on site they just wouldn’t be able to have an internal view of the units since they are occupied.  Goldman will schedule a field trip and take whoever is interested in attending. 


Subcommittee Chairs

Hardesty reminded the Commissioners that the subcommittees need Chairs.  Goldman said given the scope of work he has to do it will be difficult for him to put together the agendas for each of the subcommittee meetings.  He will be reliant on the Chairs to put together their agendas and schedule their meeting times.  They can then invite Goldman to the meeting if they specifically need his help.  When the new Housing Specialists starts Goldman is confident that they will be looking at the staff as a resource to attend the meetings rather then a convener of them.  The Commissioners discussed whether they could be as effective without Goldman.  Benjamin felt that the Education Committee could fade away for awhile and he would be willing to join another Committee that might need him.  Benjamin will join the finance Committee.


Annexation and Zone Change Ordinance

In 2006 the Housing Commission looked at the ordinance to see what was working with it and what wasn’t.  Goldman reviewed the Commission Communication dated March 27, 2007.  The Housing Commission in March of 2007 had recommended in favor of these ordinance changes going forward.  Given the lapse of time Bill Molnar felt that instead of taking a draft ordinance to the Planning Commission they should have an Ad Hoc meeting structure where some Housing Commissioners and Planning Commissioners get together in April and go over what was being presented.  Then they would come back to the Housing Meeting at the April 24th meeting with draft language that has already had legal review.  With the Commissions recommendations they would either modify the ordinance or send out a notice to the affected parties in advance of having the draft ordinance sent to a Planning Commission study session in June.   It would then go to a hearing before the Housing Commission in July and to the Planning Commission and City Council in August for first reading of it in September.  Assuming that the City Council at first reading wanted to go forward with the ordinance the second reading would be in October and 30 days after that it would be approved as the new law of the land.  All future annexations after that would be subject to it. 


Goldman explained that Measure 49 was a response to Measure 37 and explained how it could affect the City and Housing densities.


After discussing these previously identified changes to the Annexation and Zone Change Ordinances, and specifically the matrix describing affordable housing mixes,  Hardesty made the following motion “We recommend to the joint Ad Hoc Housing Commission /Planning Commission members that the words or rental be deleted from items C on the subject of percentage of affordability.”  Billin seconded it.  Voice vote:  approved. 


It was decided that the members on the Land Use Committee will be on the Ad Hoc committee. 



            Housing Commission Regular meeting

5:30-7:30 pm; Thursday March 27, 2008

Community Development Building

No Land Use or Education meeting scheduled at this time

Ayars will not be here for the March meeting.


ADJOURNMENT – The meeting was adjourned at 7:12 p.m.


Respectfully submitted by,

Carolyn Schwendener


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