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Agendas and Minutes

Housing Commission (View All)


Thursday, January 22, 2009



January 22, 2009




Chair Bill Smith called the meeting to order at 4:30 p.m. at the Community Development and Engineering Services Building, 51 Winburn Way, Ashland, OR  97520.


Commissioners Present:


SOU Liaison:  Alexandra Amarotico

Nick Frost



Alice Hardesty


Council Liaison:  Carol Voisin

Steve Hauck



Bill Smith


Staff Present:: 

Aaron Benjamin


Linda Reid, Housing  Specialist

Regina Ayars


Carolyn Schwendener, Account Clerk

Richard Billin



Commissioners Absent:



Graham Lewis





Smith made a change to the agenda. The Clay Creek-Chitwood project update will come after the public forum and Guest Speaker, Brandon Goldman will be after the Sub-Committee Reports.  The Homeless Liaison Discussion will be moved to next month’s meeting.  


Smith/Ayars m/s to approve the minutes of the December 17, 2008 Housing Commission meeting with two corrections.  Second page, under Housing Commission Draft Ordinance Review, second line, include the words “Housing Commission” to become a strong advisory…”  under Clay Street Affordable Housing, second paragraph, first sentence, remove the word “with” the recent publicity…” Voice Vote:  Approved.



No one spoke



John Wheeler, Rogue Valley Community Development Corporation reviewed with the Commissioners the project update.  Mr. Wheeler explained RVCDC was selected in 2007 to develop the Clay Court property.  The following is their timeline for completion of the project.

  • February 2009 – Submit detailed project design and financing plan to the City
  • April 2009 – Developer Agreement approved by City Council
  • May 2009 – Subdivision Application
  • July to August 2009 – Improvements completed (road, fire etc.)
  • September 2009 – Construction begins
  • June 2011 – Homes Complete


RVCDC is having trouble finding people to qualify for the affordable units and they need a little more time to recruit families. Instead of doing the traditional mutual self help program which was the original intent for this property, Mr. Wheeler said they will be doing an abbreviated version of the established self help program where the home owner will be doing about two hundred hours of sweat equity labor.  The established program requires the homeowner to provide 16 hours of “sweat equity” labor per week for approximately 40 weeks.  The reduced labor requirement allows help for those people who may not be physically able to do the job.  RVCDC will also be partnering with Youth Build, the Job Council and Rogue Community College. Youth Build is a program where at risk youth train in construction over a nine month period while they get their GED’s, receive counseling, learn life skills and remain clean and sober. Professionals will also be hired to help with some of the construction.


The homes at Clay Court will be net zero energy ready.  Solar panels and solar water heaters will not installed upon completion but will be ready for the future.  



Benjamin recommended Hardesty for Vice Chair.  With no objections Hardesty was nominated and confirmed as Vice Chair. 



Sub-committee Reports

Finance – No report


Education – No report


Land Use – Reid distributed a copy of the minutes from the January 14th meeting.  Ayars reported the committee mainly brainstormed ideas about the Clay Street property.  Ayars and Hardesty will work on finding out what the Parks Department’s strategy is to see if they can encourage them to make up their minds sooner rather then later whether or not to purchase the land.


The committee also discussed the idea of developing over the larger parking lot on Lithia way.  They talked about the possibility of three floors one floor to include parking in order to give back the 13 spaces. They are not sure however if three floors would be allowed.


Liaison Reports

Council – Voisin reported that at the January 20th meeting there were two public hearings.  The proposed Visitor Center that is affecting the Oak Knoll neighborhood and the Regional Problem Solving IGA. The proposed Visitor Center plan is going to Jackson County for review and the City Council made no comments. The Regional Problem Solving agreement will be further discussed at the February 3rd,  meeting.  Voisin noted that Hardesty was appointed to the Housing Commission.


Parks Commission –no report


School Board – Frost reported that the school board is dealing with budget issues at this time. 


Planning Commission – Benjamin reported that the Planning Commission had a split decision on the Regional Problem Solving agreement.  Benjamin stated that the Housing Commission should pay attention to this issue could have a profound affect on affordable housing in the community.  The RPS was originally initiated to protect rural lands and was concerned with the growth boundary and rural lands adjacent to the communities along the I-5 corridor.  The I-5 corridor is extremely significant in terms of transportation to and from Ashland. Benjamin acknowledged there could be workforce housing implications, transportation implications and general things that the Housing Commission should be concerned about over the next ten years.



Brandon Goldman, Long Range Planner with the City of Ashland was the guest speaker.  Mr. Goldman was present to discuss the Housing Commission’s desire to be more involved in the Land Use hearing process with planning applications. Mr. Goldman outlined the Land Use process. The City Council had previously agreed that the Housing Commission could be a part of the land use proceedings for affordable housing projects at the pre application stage.  At this time it is limited to those that have an affordable housing component. Goldman said that when Bill Molnar recently met with the Ad Hoc group he indicated there might be something more the staff could do that goes beyond what they have currently been doing in terms of outlining incentives for applicants that don’t have an affordable housing component as part of their project. Mr. Molnar will ask the current planning staff to begin to do as much as possible.  Reid and Goldman will put together some material for the staff to use to be more forthcoming with the opportunities that are out there.  They will make the list available for the Housing Commissioners.


If the Housing Commission were to be permitted to review planning applications their comments could only apply to specific criteria of approval. At the pre application stage they are unrestricted. The Commissioners liked the idea of giving the staff the information about available incentives raising the level of consciousness accomplishes their concerns.


Cate Hartzell, Audience Member, noted that when this request was presented to the Council she originally wanted the Housing Commission to have a much stronger role and to look at it not just in pre applications but to be part of the land use process.   The agreement at the time was to try it for a year and then take another look at it. Ms. Hartzel acknowledged both pros and cons for being included in the planning process.


The Commissioners agreed at this time they would start with the suggestion of using the city staff to help promote education about affordable housing and then look at the process again in a year or so.  After the pre application conference a summary report can be put together and sent to the Housing Commission allowing them to give some feedback. It was suggested that the Education Committee could put together some information to provide the contractors and developers even before the pre application stage. Reid will put together the provisions from the ordinances that would provide opportunities that might not be recognized.  At the next (February) meeting the Commissioners will come back with ideas and possibly a list of educational materials that they need to get out to builders along with suggestions on how to get the information out. 


Reid mentioned the possibility of having a sub committee to work on the consolidated plan.  Part of that plan has to do with gathering household needs information in our community. The sub committee could work with Reid on compiling a survey of information on households and rental needs and market analysis. The finance committee could be a part of this.   Reid will put together a list of information that is needed for the consolidated plan and bring it back to next month’s meeting.  Hauck volunteered to be on the sub committee.



Hauck/Hardesty m/s to recommend they send the letter of support. Amendment was made: Bill Smith name should actually be William Smith. Voice Vote:  approved unanimously. 



Reid made the recommended changes.


Hardesty/Billin m/s that they forward the draft on to the legal department as it is written.  Voice Vote:  approved unanimously.



  • Reid will be bringing back the list on incentives that are offered through the code - talk about ideas on how to get them out to the building community.
  • Affordable Housing Trust Fund
  • Consolidated plan


Goal setting retreat – Sometime in March was recommended.  Will decide the exact date at the next meeting.


February 27th is when the CDBG applications will be due. Hearing will be in March. 

Discuss reserving a date for a special CDBG meeting.


Amarotico requested to do a SOU liaison report each month


Quorum Check – Hardesty and Ayars will not be present.



Next Housing Commission Regular Meeting – Thursday February 26th, 2009 4:30 – 6:30 PM, Community Development Building


ADJOURNMENT – The meeting was adjourned at 6:25 p.m.

Respectfully submitted by, Carolyn Schwendener

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