Agendas and Minutes

Housing Commission (View All)

Housing Commission Reular Meeting 7-24-2008

Thursday, July 24, 2008


Chair Bill Smith called the meeting to order at 4:33 p.m. at the Community Development and Engineering Services Building, 51 Winburn Way, Ashland, OR  97520.


Commissioners Present:

Carol Voisin


SOU Liaison:  Alexandra Amarotico, Absent

Nick Frost



Graham Lewis


Council Liaison:  Alice Hardesty

Steve Hauck



Bill Smith


Staff Present:: 

Aaron Benjamin


Linda Reid, Housing  Specialist

Regina Ayars


Carolyn Schwendener, Account Clerk

Commissioners Absent



Richard Billin





Housing minutes from the June 26, 2008 meeting - Brandon Goldman’s job title should read Senior Planner.  Page three under items from Commissioners not on the Agenda, second sentence should read “The editorial explained that in a New Jersey Jurisdiction one affordable unit is currently required for every eight market rate units and they are suggesting making one for every five.” 


Housing minutes from the July 12, 2008 retreat - Page one under Discussed Housing Commission membership, sentence should read Sliding membership number scale.  


Lewis/Hauck m/s to approve the minutes of the June 26, 2008 Housing meeting and the July 12, 2008 Housing Commission Retreat with corrections.  Voice Vote:  Approved




This presentation was postponed.



No one spoke



Liaison Reports-

Council- Hardesty reported that Allan Sandler came to the City Council meeting and discussed his proposal for a ten unit apartment rental project over the City of Ashland Lithia parking lot.  Though the Council never voted on the proposal their consensus was that they were not in favor of the project. The Council would like to see other possibilities looked at including more then one lot.  Hardesty said it was suggested that the first priority should be to look at barriers and incentives.  As far as the Council is concerned the project will not be going forward.  It was suggested to have an informal meeting with the Planning Commission, Housing Commission and City Council to discuss how to entice development that may or may not be affordable.  Benjamin expressed his disappointment in the loss of the project. 


Parks- No report because the Parks Commission has not met yet.


School board- The Commission has no Liaison at this time.


Planning Commission - No report


Finance- At the last Finance meeting Frost gave a presentation on Community Land Partnership.  The idea was to look at alternative forms of financing and how it can be applied to affordable housing as well as other City projects.  Frost first learned about this from a conference he attended in Seattle. 


The Commissioners who were at the Finance meeting and heard the presentation gave their comments.


Smith  noted that this program opens up some new possibilities for things that can be done differently with financing and with getting tenants to buy into what they are doing, making it their own.


Benjamin found that the Community Land Partnership  is a way of giving the activist stake holders a new role, an active role in the process. In the City for example with the leasing of air rights the City becomes a stake holder in that sense.  The builder, the sponsor, a private sponsor becomes a stake holder and all of the stake holders have shares and they all come together for the common good.  Benjamin felt this is positive.


Reid likes the tenant buy in as it gives the applicant pride of ownership though she wonders about its application in the non-profit sector.  What types of funding can go into it.  The way it is structured might create some issues.


Hauck commented that the legal issues need to be worked out.  He could see this working as a new ownership model for private market rate but it may not work for real affordability.  Other income levels it will take a lot more buy down and still prove a steady income. Hauck believes the potential is there though there are questions that need to be addressed but the possibility is well worth looking at. 


Voisin said regarding workforce housing it has real possibilities.  Voisin would like the Housing Commission to turn this project over to the Education Committee.  She would like to see a program developed that would invite developers and non profits, and have Frost present the program to them.




Finance Committee – Voisin confirmed that the main task of this Committee is to seriously look at finding revenue streams for the Ashland Housing Trust Fund.  The Committee meets the second Tuesday of every month at 5:00 p.m. for one hour.  Members include:   Voisin (Chair), Billin and Hauck.


Education Committee – Though this committee has slowly disappeared it was decided that it was a necessary Committee especially with the recent tasks at hand.  Members include:  Benjamin (Chair), Frost and Voisin.


Land Use Committee – Ayars confirmed that the main task of this Committee has been working on the Annexation Ordinance and the Condominium Conversion. Members include:  Ayars (Chair), Smith and Lewis.


The Commissioners agreed these were the three necessary Committees and the Chairs will determine the dates and times for the meetings. 


·         Planning – Benjamin

·         School Board – Frost

·         City Council – Hardesty

·         Parks - Hauck


The Commissioners will work on finalizing their goals at the August 28th regular meeting.



Stratford Apartments – Reid reported that the last she heard from the Housing Authority of Jackson County was that they were getting closer to coming to a deal and hoping everything will be finalized in the next couple of weeks. This project would help the Housing Commission meet their unofficial goal of spending some CDBG funds on the project.  It has not been determined yet if HAJC would need the money for rehabilitation or acquisition. 




The Commissioners reviewed the ordinance and made their suggestions.  Goldman acknowledged that the Annexation Ordinance has been presented to the Housing Commission a number of times as far back as 2006.  In May of this year the Ad Hoc Committee met and then it went to the Planning Commission for review at a Study Session in June.  Goldman reviewed the Planning Commissions proposed changes.


The Commissioners discussed the following changes:

  • The percentage of affordability, 80% verses 60% AMI
  • The omission of the phrase “rental units”
  • The omission of the cash and lieu clause and its potential implementation problems
  • The clarification of the phrase “comparable amenities.”


Public participant Cate Hartzell expressed her concerns regarding providing a mix of housing affordability, promoting the development of rental properties and the phasing of market rate and affordable unit developments.


Regarding Section 18.106.030 (H) Hardesty asked if it was necessary to actually list all of the exemptions to the requirements when an applicant could just apply for exemptions anyway. Goldman explained that an exemption is different then a variance.  A variance would require a higher burden of proof as the applicant must show that there is unique or unusual circumstance outside their control. This is saying that the Council may approve the following exceptions though they would not be compelled to. For the most part a developer would not want to proceed with exceptions if there are ways to meet the code directly.  Goldman said that by listing the exemptions it provides an avenue by what burden of proof they would have to make in order to get that exception. 


Upon completion of their discussion the Housing Commission reiterated their past suggestions

  • Rental units verses ownership units.  18.106.030 G (1) Item “C” remove the word rental from this section.
  • Approved the removal of the language “cash in lieu”
  • The ordinance section  that deals with the distribution of affordable units within the developments will be removed.
  • General definition of amenities.  External construction materials for the affordable units should be the same as the market rate units.  Internal building materials need not be the same but comparable. 
  • Phasing issue 106.030. G (5) Issues regarding the development schedule to include more information and research other ordinances.


Goldman thanked the Commissioners for their two and a half years of hard work on this Ordinance



Reid distributed a hand out showing a section 108 Loan process and timeline. Reid gave the background on what a section 108 loan is. It is a program offered through HUD that allows an entitlement entity or an entity that isn’t an entitlement, if they have state backing, to use up to five times of their CDBG allotment per year in one lump sum to do a big project. It’s a way to try to leverage more funds.  Reid said this loan might be a good thing to keep in mind for the future.  In order to do a section 108 loan it has to be part of your consolidated plan as well as part of your annual action plan.


Goldman suggested that one opportunity for utilizing a section 108 loan might be for the purchase of the Clay Street property.  This loan might be a means of paying for a portion of the land or pay for the public facility infrastructure once the property is annexed and needs roads installed. 



The commissioners will send their items to Linda. It was determined there will be a quorum at the next meeting.



Parks Commission Meeting July 28, 2008, City Council Chambers 7:00 - 9:00

Annexation Ordinance Public Hearing – Planning Commission August 12, 7:00 – 10:00

Housing Commission regular meeting –August 28, 4:30 – 6:30, Community Development Building


ADJOURNMENT – The meeting was adjourned at 6:33 p.m.


Respectfully submitted by, Carolyn Schwendener


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