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Housing Commission Regular Meeting Agenda 10/23/2008

Thursday, October 23, 2008



October 23, 2008



Chair Bill Smith called the meeting to order at 4:34 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, absent


Council Liaison:  Alice Hardesty, absent

Steve Hauck



Bill Smith


Staff Present:: 

Aaron Benjamin


Linda Reid, Housing  Specialist

Regina Ayars


Carolyn Schwendener, Account Clerk

Richard Billin








Voisin/Hauck m/s to approve the minutes of the September 25, 2008 Housing meeting.  Voice Vote:  Approved



No one present



Reid gave an overview of the Community Development Block Grant 2008 RFP.  She explained that the City has a total of $345,000 that is available to distribute to eligible recipients for projects meeting the CDBG National objectives and that are consistent with the City of Ashland 2005-2009 Consolidated Plan.  The City received three applications for these funds.

  • Ashland Supportive Housing
  • Housing Authority of Jackson County
  • Pathway Enterprises

Two of the applicants were present to discuss and answer questions, Sue Crater with Ashland Supportive Housing and Betty McRoberts from the Housing Authority of Jackson County.


Sue Crater, Executive Director of Ashland Supportive Housing and Community Outreach - This organization was formerly known as Advocates for Severely Handicapped. They have been providing homes and services for adults with developmental disabilities in Ashland since 1982.  Currently they have three homes in Ashland that each house five developmentally disabled adults. They have a need to develop a fourth home that is geared toward taking care of people who have more medically intense needs. Their proposal is to purchase a home that would house four developmentally disabled adults who are considered to be medically fragile.  At this time Ms. Crater said they have a home chosen and have entered into an agreement with the land owner, though it is not legally binding and no money has exchanged hands. The home is located at 850 Cambridge Street, the same neighborhood as their other three homes. Ms. Crater said they would like to use the bulk of the CDBG funds, $300,000 for the purchase of the home and use the remainder $45,000 to do the interior remodel. Another $40,000 is needed which would be supplied with a combination of State DD 57 Start up Funds, On the Move in Oregon and the Oregon Comp 300 program. ASHC is prepared to fill in the funding gaps that are left.


Questions from Commissioners

Are your three existing homes in Quiet Village disbursed throughout the neighborhood? 

  • The homes are located on different streets, Almeda, Michelle Ave. and Nevada Street. They have been in that neighborhood for three years. At one time they had a large ten bed group home located on Walker Street across from the Presbyterian Church as well as a large two story Victorian home on B Street. ASHC determined that the ten bed home was just too many people in one home.  The long term goal of the organization was to split that home into two five bedroom homes. They achieved that about three years ago by moving into the two homes in the Quiet Village neighborhood. The Home on B Street had folks that were aging and it was no longer appropriate to have those folks in a two story home and with the help of the community and the sell of the property they made a transition to a single level home in Quiet Village.   


How many adults will ultimately reside in the house?

  • Four.  After the remodel the house will be approximately 1800 square feet with four bedrooms.  One bedroom for each person.  The lot is .24 of an acre. 


Have you ever applied for CDBG funds before and if you were not to receive the CDBG funds do you have other options available?

  • No.


How is your staffing going to be accomplished?

  • The people that they hope to serve in this home are cared for by the State of Oregon. The State of Oregon pays AHSC for the care of the people within the home.  They expect that amount to be about $10,000 per month per person.  They do not expect on going operation costs to be an issue.  They are looking at providing twelve living wage jobs.  


Given the current concerns in the financial markets is there any concern about the long term investments?

  • It is a concern but would not prevent the project from happening.  Their investments are their safety nets that they draw income off of.  They have decreased but with serving this population and what they hope to take in from the state of Oregon it will actually put more operating monies into their budget. 


What happens if your organization decides to sell the property in five year?

  • The State would take over the operations.  Goldman explained that if the funds were granted through the CDBG program its Federal funds and the City would obligate that they be used through the sub recipient agreement or an intended use for a set period of time, a minimum period of seven years.    The ICCA Building located at 144 North Second was sold at the end of the seven years and they retained all of the funds themselves. The City could impose a longer period of use if they chose to do so. 


Betty McRoberts, Project Developer for the Housing Authority of Jackson County - This development is located at 380 Clay Street and has been named Snowberry Brook which refers to a wetland plan.  The Housing Authority of Jackson County has been in existence since 1969 and as of yet has never been able to develop a project in Ashland. The HAJC is proposing a sixty unit affordable housing project on 3.75 acres of the initial 10 acre site.  They are requesting the entire $345,000. $285,700 is for infrastructure improvements to Clay Street and the two new public streets that will be created inside of the ten acre parcel.  $59,300 will be used for Planning and Zoning expenses to get though the site review and partition.   


The first portion of the project is the infrastructure improvements of Clay Street.  This cost is estimated at $124,915 and will be completed in June of 2009.  This timeframe is necessary because the City has a portion of the CDBG funds that need to be spent quickly. The second portion is for the two new public streets.  That cost is $160,785 which is scheduled to be done the same time as when the main construction is being done. An additional amount of $59,300 will be used for fees including architectural, engineering and wetland consultants. 


Ms. McRoberts said that because the total cost for this project is eleven million dollars the CDBG funds are absolutely necessary. The Housing Authority does have a commitment from an equity investor, Key Bank.  The property will only carry a permanent loan of 2.7 million dollars.  The Housing Authority will be putting in equity of their own because they have been given permission to sell four public housings units in the City of Ashland.


The HAJC’s target population is serving Workforce Housing, families at thirty to sixty percent of Area Median Income (AMI).  This is a target population for the State of Oregon right now making the City of Ashland a number one priority. The term of affordability is sixty years though the Housing Authorities mission is to have their housing affordable forever.  Ms. McRoberts reminded the Commissioners there are many employers in Ashland who have employees that cannot afford to live here.  She is working on getting the data put together to be able to identify how many employees actually live outside the City.  These rents are very affordable and Ms. McRoberts is quite confident there are many employees and citizens who would qualify to live in them. 


Questions from Commissioners

Do you have staff to manage these units?

  • Yes, the Housing Authority has over fifty employees.  They manage all of their own units.


Why just 60 years and not 100?

  • Not totally sure but it might have to do with financing.  At the end of twenty years they are required to refinance.  The affordability issue hasn’t been a problem at that time, units still look nice and well kept.  At sixty years the project is going to need some major work.  A bank might look at it and say if this project has a restriction of affordability we’re going to have a problem giving you a loan.  Your loan would be restricted by your rents.  The HAJC has no intention of taking it out of the affordability.


After dedicating these streets to the City will the construction then begin? 

  • That’s important because in order to use CDBG funds on a street it needs to be a public street otherwise it will taint the entire housing project for Davis Bacon. They can’t afford to use Davis Bacon on the Housing project. Because these are public streets they will be maintained by the City.


The traffic on Clay is destined to be a problem.  Do you anticipate any traffic problems?

  • No. The traffic study that was done for Willowbrook was done for 107 Units.  They will probably be required to do a new traffic study. 


What is going on with the water?

  • It might be necessary to loop the waterline.  It can be very expensive. At this time they do not know what the City will require.  That money is not included in the cost since they don’t know what it will be yet.  There will be enough in contingency in the budget to cover it.


Are you serious about utilizing solar?

  • If they can afford it they will since it benefits their tenants. 


Pathway Enterprises presented an application to provide for staffing in order to provide skill services training to clients of theirs who will be moving out of dependant housing and moving into self sufficiency.  Goldman acknowledged that this application is requesting $45,000 of which the social service grant award available is only $20,000.  The staff noted a number of concerns.

  • Staff questioned whether a portion of the funds they are looking for are even eligible for CDBG. Specifically the application states that the county funds they are seeking for part of the funding is not available for planning and recruitment as identified in this project.  Planning and recruitment are not available competitively through the CDGB program in Ashland.  The City uses all of the planning and administrative CDBG allocations for City Planning and Administrative functions. The application would need to be limited to only for those periods where they are providing direct client services, not for training of the staff or recruitment or marketing. 
  • It was noted in their application the amount of wages to be paid to three staff was $51,000 which does not meet Ashland’s Living Wage Ordinance of $12.96 per hour, a requirement if anyone receives a grant through the City. 
  • Indicated they would be serving five clients but as they move them out into permanent housing a number of those may be moving out of Ashland into Medford. Fifty-one percent of those served must reside in the City of Ashland.
  • There was a concern whether Pathways intend to apply in 2009 for ongoing support of existing employees, which is not an eligible expense, or whether Pathways intends to expand their services.


Questions from Commissioners

Might this be a conflict of interest since they do custodial work for the City of Ashland?

  • Pathways did disclose this and it should not be a problem. This application was for supportive living for people living in their own housing and not for the working side. 




Staff Recommendations- Reid explained that she evaluated the projects on whether they met the National Objective for the CDBG program, whether the project uses were eligible uses and that the project met all Federal requirements.  Reid also confirmed that the projects met the objective as outlined in the City’s 2005-2009 Consolidated Plan.  The staff recommendation is as follows:

Due to a limited amount of CDBG funds staff recommends that The Housing Authority of Jackson County’s proposal be funded in full Contingent upon Council approval of the Clay Street purchase.  The Housing Authority’s application is contingent upon the acceptance of the Clay Street purchase which will not be known until November 4, 2008.  At that time staff’s recommendation would be to fund the HAJC proposal since it meets the highest priority need ranking.  If the Clay Street Proposal does not gain approval staff would like to make a backup recommendation to fund Ashland Supportive Housings proposal to the least extent allowable while still remaining feasible in an effort to make the most of the cities limited resources.


Goldman acknowledged that in his ten years with the City he has gone through countless CDBG applications and wanted to recognize that the application from Ashland Supportive Housing is one of the better ones he has seen.


Chair Bill Smith opened up the Public Hearing – No one came forth to speak. The Public Hearing was closed.


Hauck/Ayars m/s to approve the staff recommendation and forward our recommendation as a Housing Commission to the City Council that we grant the $345,00 of CDBG funding to the Housing Authority with the contingency that if the Clay Street project is not approved by the City Council that we recommend Ashland Supportive Housing would be awarded the funds.


Hauck made an amendment to his motion to include public facilities improvements, public right of way improvements on Clay street and interior streets.  Public facilities to include, curb, gutter, sidewalk, storm drainage, sewer line, street lighting, fire hydrants, and other eligible improvements.  Ayars seconded it.


Roll Call Vote: Commissioners Billin, Benjamin, Voisin, Ayars, Smith, Hauck and Frost, Yes.  Motion Passed.


Reid congratulated the two applicants on what a great job they did with their applications and presentations.



Sub-committee Reports

Finance – No report


Education – No report


Land Use – Ayars distributed minutes from their October 8, 2008 meeting.  Their meeting focused primarily on the Hargadine Parking Lot as the best possibility for an affordable housing project.  The Commission will be having an on site visit Wednesday October 15th from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. Goldman stated there was a possibility that an agreement with Shakespeare was made giving them first right of refusal for development of Housing should they need it for their employees. Reid will investigate this agreement information.  It was also suggested to get the specific address of homes that would have their view obstructed by the construction.


Liaison Reports

Council – Goldman said the Council met and approved the Annexation Ordinance without much discussion.  It will go before them again for the second reading on Nov 4th with no public input.


Parks Commission –The Parks Commission will be having a joint study session with the City Council on October 30th to discuss budget issues.  They may also at that meeting discuss the Clay Street property.


School Board – Frost was not able to attend. Frost noted he discovered that the School Board is not linked online. It was difficult to watch on line which was frustrating.


Planning Commission – Benjamin congratulated Brandon on his preparation of his Regulatory Barriers Meeting, a joint meeting with the Planning Commission, City Council and the Housing Commission.  Benjamin wanted to find out more information regarding the Coming attraction proposal on Ashland Street. Would it be possible to build residential units above the top floor?  Benjamin wondered if perhaps the Housing Commission could recommend some consideration be given to that notion. Goldman reminded the Commissioners that the Housing Commission had previously requested that the City Council expand their powers and duties including making recommendations on current planning actions, and was denied similarly, because this application did not include affordable housing or any housing, it wouldn’t have come before them as part of the pre app process.




The Commissioners discussed the Resolution 95-25 (Resolution creating the Ashland Housing Commission and establishing its objectives and responsibilities) Section 3 – Quorum –


The Commissioners decided to review all of the Resolution to see if they would like to make any other changes before sending this forward to the City Council for amendments.  They decided to bring back a proposal ordinance that incorporates the changes they discussed at the next Housing meeting.  This will be a discussion item on the November agenda.


Frost recommended that the Housing Commission appoint a liaison with the Homeless Community. This  will be on next months Agenda.



November meeting date – Tuesday, November 25, 2008 - 4:30-6:30 pm, Community Development Building

December meeting date – Tuesday, December 16, 2008 - 4:30-6:30 pm, Community Development Building



City Council Regular meeting – Amendment to Annexation Ordinance/Clay Street November 4, 2008, Council Chambers 7:00-9:00 p.m.



Discussion of liaison with Homeless Community

Resolution 95-25 suggestions for alterations or additions


Goldman gave an update regarding the financing side of the Clay Street project. The site layout is the same. Concerns were raised by Council members about the nebulousness of the Lithia Lot portion of the proposal.  With regard to the contingency that the purchaser would accept the value of the Lithia Lot at $500,000 if the purchaser received planning approval for the proposed project, if he did not then the City would have the option to buy back the Lithia Lot for the same price, or refund the difference between the appraised value ($350,000) and the accepted value, (which is a $150,000 difference). In speaking with the City Attorney he was concerned that there was a potential bias that could be argued in the future if it came back to Council upon appeal of a Planning Action.  Project that was approved or denied and was appealed to council someone could make strong argument that they had a $150,000 interest in the outcome.  The seller, Doug Irvine, is now amenable and is accepting its value at $500,000 with no contingency. 


Goldman said he will be forwarding to the City Council the previous motion made by the Housing Commission unless otherwise directed. The motion was:

The Housing Commission made a motion (Hauck/Ayars m/s) to recommend to the City Council that they proceed with swapping the land on Strawberry the three lots for property on Clay Street. Voice vote:  all ayes.


Hauck/Billin m/s that they recommend to City Council that they proceed with swapping the land on Strawberry, the three lots, plus the parking Lot on Lithia Way for property in the Clay Street Project. Voice Vote:  Motion Passed. 


Smith will try and attend the City Council meeting on November 4, 2008.


ADJOURNMENT – The meeting was adjourned at 6:26 p.m.


Respectfully submitted by, Carolyn Schwendener

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