Agendas and Minutes

Housing Commission (View All)


Wednesday, January 26, 2011



January 26, 2011



Chair Regina Ayars called the meeting to order at 4:30 p.m. at the Council Chambers located at 1175 East Main St. Ashland, OR  97520.


Commissioners Present:

Council Liaison

Nikki Pons

Mike Morris

Regina Ayars


Richard Billin

Staff Present:

Jody Waters

Linda Reid, Housing Specialist

James Dills

Carolyn Schwendener, Account Clerk

Barb Barasa

Brandon Goldman, Senior Planner

Commissioners Absent:






The minutes of the October 27, 2010 meeting were approved as presented.



Nick O’Neill, a Southern Oregon University student, said they have located a potential SOU student liaison for the Commission. The applicant was approved by the SOU senate and the goal is to have him approved by the Mayor and City Council soon. On February 17, 2011 at 6:00 pm SOU will be hosting a City wide town hall to bring together everyone in the community who has an interest in the homeless issue in Ashland.



Brandon Goldman, City Senior Planner, spoke about how the pre-application conference came about.  In 2006 the Housing Commission sent a request to the City Council to allow the Commission to review planning actions along with the Planning Commission as part of the quazi-judicial hearing.  At that time the Council felt inserting the Housing Commission in that role would have brought up legal issues in terms of ex-parte contact. The result was that the City Council stated that the Housing Commission could participate in the pre-application phase of an application. 


Because a formal application has not been filed for the Village Apartments yet the Housing Commissioners and the applicant have the opportunity to discuss the affordable housing requirements, size and unit distribution throughout the development for this particular project.  Goldman was present as a staff member to address any questions regarding the land use process or application requirements. Before the applicants put forth their final application they can take into account any of the Commission’s concerns in forming their final application.



Keith Boyd and Tim Bossard were present to explain and answer questions about the project.  They showed a conceptual drawing that introduced a look at the project.  The property is approximately 9.71 acres and is located at 2082 East Main and sits adjacent to the property owned by the LDS Church on Clay Street. The current owner is the Calvary Baptist Church of Ashland.  The property sits in the Urban Growth Boundary.  The first development plan was for new Single Family Residents but with today’s market that is no longer financially feasible.  The next viable project would be for larger apartment size homes that would accommodate families who might be losing their homes through foreclosure.  This would require an annexation and zone change.


The redesigned 183 units consist of 135 three bedroom, 24 two bedrooms and 24 studios.  Because of the project’s design it is scalable and the mix can be changed during construction if they find the demand has changed.  The design is modeled after a project in Eugene called Boulders on the River. Doris construction is scheduled to be the builders and is actively pursuing getting earth advantage certification for this project.  The units will have high efficiency energy heating and air conditioning systems.


Mr. Bossard, T.J. Bossard Engineering, explained the physical layout of the property. There is a creek on the east side that flows parallel to the project. The intent is to develop and maintain the existing ambiance of the creek, creating pathways adjacent to it along with pedestrian and bikeways creating a low speed environment for traffic as well as pedestrians. The plan is to use bio swales for pre-treatment of storm water.


After meeting with  Reid it was determined that the project was designed to meet the 80% median income standard which would require to have a total of 32 affordable units, 4 studio units, 4 two bedroom and the rest three bedroom.  The proposed rental amounts for all of the units are approximately $1.00 a square foot. The studio units are 486 square feet which is just under the City’s affordable housing amount for that housing type.   


Questions and comments from Commissioners;


Could you do more studios and fewer three bedrooms? 

The number of affordable units have to be in proportion with the entire projects. We could add 17 additional studios without having to do bonus density or a variance.


Commissioners loved the flexibility of being able to change the units from three bedrooms to studios.  The units can be converted during construction as they fill and rent.


What is your timeline?

The applicants are hoping to file for an application next month with the anticipation of seven to twelve months to get through the planning process and approval.  During the planning process the applicants will be securing financing so that upon approval they could get an immediate building permit.  Goldman informed the Commissioners that a major component of the application is that currently the property is located outside the City limits and requires an annexation, zone change, and comprehensive plan designation change.  This is a complicated planning action and will eventually go to the City Council for final approval requiring a longer time line. 


What will the average rent be?

Rent for market rate units would be approximately $1.00 per square footage.

The applicants see a big market for the three bedroom units due to the displaced families due to foreclosures.


Is there appropriate solar orientation for this project? 



Will the units have ADA accessibility features?



The owners are planning on hiring a professional management team to manage the apartments.  There is a possibility that they could be local people.


Will phase1 be built by the end of 2012? 

Yes, hope to be completed in about 18 months


After the discussion the Commissioners agreed they were in favor of the increased density and liked the idea of additional rental property.  The Commission expressed concern that there is not enough rentals in town at this time.  



John Wheeler, Executive Director for Groundworks was present and apologized for Kerry KenCairn, Landscape Architect, who was not able to attend. Three years ago the City put out a Request for Proposal for the 2.15 acre park land at the end of Chitwood Lane.  Groundworks put in their proposal for five affordable units on that land. Their proposal was accepted and they began to follow through with the steps, securing financing and putting together plans. In 2008 due to the economy the project was put on the back burner for awhile.  Groundworks is now at the stage where they have secured a grant to pay for the management of the construction and secured 502 loans for the actual construction. Mr. Wheeler explained they received approval to expand the current Rice Park mutual self help grant to build five more homes.  The Mutual Self Help model requires homeowners to complete over 65% of the construction of the home themselves.


The development is to consist of five Passive Solar Earth Advantage Homes, three $163,000 three bedroom homes (1450 square feet) and two $158,000 two bedroom (1150 square feet) homes.  The target income is 80% AMI or below.


Groundworks anticipate taking between twelve and fourteen months to complete the project once it starts.  Project completion date is expected to be July 31, 2012. 


Groundworks received an easement from the Parks department to treat storm water run-off from the new development in return Goundworks will maintain the wetlands area and pay to have a master plan for the park drawn up.


The Commissioners thanked Mr. Wheeler and were glad to see the project finally happening



Liaison Reports

Council –Mike Morris is the new Council Liaison to the Commission.  He is also a new Council member and has only attended two meetings.  Council will be reviewing their goals at the February 1, 2011 meeting.


Parks – The purchase of the Clay Street park property is going to Council on February 1, 2011 to buy 3.75 acres for 1.35 million dollars.  Parks is recommending that it go forward.


School Board – Dills volunteered to attend or listen to school board meetings if they have related housing topics.  Barasa will be the back- up person.


Planning – Pons had no report after reviewing the minutes. Their primary topic is the Transportation System Plans including the Pedestrian Places project. 


Transportation – no report


SOU- no report


Staff – Reid said this week is the Point in Time homeless count. Volunteers are doing surveys at shelters and on the street, places where homeless people frequent and congregate. Data from the count will be available in late February. This is a State wide count to help identify chronically homeless verses those who are temporarily homeless.


At the beginning of January the City issued the Request for Proposals for CDBG funds. Those applications will be due by February 25, 2011.   The applicant’s presentations will come before the Housing Commission at the March meeting for their review.  The Commission will then make a recommendation to send before the Council at their April meeting.  The Council will make a formal award. No applications have been turned in at this time.  The funds available are $165,000 in capital improvements and $30,000 in public service. 



Each Commissioner spoke privately with a City Councilor


Barasa met with Councilor David Chapman.  Barasa said Mr. Chapman commented that he felt he had a reputation for being anti-affordable housing but really had specific reasons for opposing projects, not because they were affordable housing projects. He often thought there was a better way to do something. He would like to see more studio apartments and smaller units constructed.


Waters met with Councilor Dennis Slattery. A concern Mr. Slattery has is how we are seeing issues surrounding homelessness presented in the media. Slattery felt there is a lot of public interest and will to address issues that are specific to young people, trying to break chronic homelessness and chronic poverty. He was curious about what the Housing Commission does and it’s relationships with the various Commissions.


Dills spoke with Councilor Russ Silbiger. Dills basically picked his brain about what his ideas were for housing priorities and how as a new Housing Commission he could be more effective. Both agreed there was a need for a shelter run with the help of the faith community, social organizations and the city, specifically for young people and families. Silbiger mentioned a couple of goals would be the Clay Street project as well as more work force housing.


Ayars met with Greg Lemhouse.  Lemhouse believes the focus for the Housing Commission should be more concentrated on outreach education of the Community rather than advocacy for affordable housing.  Lemhouse is a strong supporter of the rental registry and was involved with the one in Medford. Suggested Housing Trust Fund monies could be used to assist in building more rental units. Lemhouse was quite concerned about Fair Housing and felt the Council was blindsided by the report.  He suggested holding a Homeless Task Force meeting locally.



The Commissioners reviewed their goals.


Pons/Dills m/s to approve the goals as presented.  Voice Vote:  All ayes.  Motion approved.



The plan for the Housing Commission is to put together a brochure to give out to the public as well as sponsor an educational event. Billin shared his concern that the foreclosure process has gotten quite complicated and by providing information we might run the risk of giving legal advice. Billin will compile a list of resources, data bases and phone numbers to use as a hand out.  He will put together a summary of the laws, tenant rights, etc. and bring back a draft to the next meeting.



Fair Housing Ordinance review and discussion

Housing trust fund overview

Foreclosure discussion & brochure

Barbara’s presentation


Quorum Check – everyone will be present



City Council Study Session on Homelessness-Jan. 3, 2011: 5:30-7:00 at Pioneer Hall

Homeless Task Force Meeting- February 15, 2011: 10:30-12:00: Housing Authority Conference Room 2231 Table Rock Road

Town Hall Meeting-Feb. 17, 2011: 6PM at the SOU Student Union Arena

Final Pedestrian Places Workshop-February 22, 2011: 7PM-9PM: Ashland Middle School

                                Next Housing Commission Regular Meeting 4:30-6:30 PM; February 23rd, 2011


Dills mentioned the Dreamsavers program:  A federally sponsored savings plan also known as individual development accounts (IDA).  Government match 3 to 1 savings plan for moderate and low income families and individuals.  Participants can use the savings for down payment assistance, to further education, or to start a small business.


ADJOURNMENT - The meeting was adjourned at 6:30 p.m.


Respectfully submitted by Carolyn Schwendener


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