Agendas and Minutes

Housing Commission (View All)

Housing Commission Regular Meeting

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

February 22, 2012
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
Regina Ayars Mike Morris
Brett Ainsworth  
Barb Barasa Staff Present:
Ben Scott Linda Reid, Housing Specialist
  Carolyn Schwendener, Admin Clerk
Commissioners Absent:  
Richard Billin, excused  
James Dills  
Barasa/Ainsworth m/s to approve the minutes of the January 25, 2012 regular Housing Commission meeting. Voice Vote:  All Ayes, minutes were approved as presented. 
Sangye introduced himself as a Southern Oregon University student interested in becoming the student Liaison for the Housing Commission.  He is a senior at SOU and would like to learn more about the political process. After being approved by the SOU Student Senate he will submit a letter of interest to the Mayor.
Evan Lasley shared that he is interested in a more long term commitment and is considering applying to be a regular Housing Commissioner.
Since Dills was absent Barasa gave an update regarding the progress of the RVTV project.  She stated that Dills has taken footage interviewing Brandon Goldman, City Senior Planner as well as footage of himself speaking as a Housing Commissioner.  He also has footage of Housing Projects within the City.  Barasa said the footage will need to be edited into shorter amounts of time with question and answer periods. Since Dills doesn’t have the editing equipment he will need to go to RVTV to do the editing, which is labor intensive.
It was suggested that the Commissioners email Dills with their ideas of whom he can interview and what topics to discuss for the program.  April is Fair Housing Month and a Public Service Announcement was suggested as the topic for the March program.
Put on next month’s Agenda a discussion of ways to help Dills with this project. 
The Housing Work Plan is intended to identify specific housing activities that have already been initiated by the City to be completed in the short term (2-year).  The plan will provide direction to City staff and provide measurable outcomes for elected and appointed Officials to monitor the objective and the success of the Housing Program. The work plan is for the years 2012 through 2015.  A three year time frame ending with the Consolidated Plan update. 
Reid distributed to the Commissioners a copy of the draft showing just the significant changes that were made.  The following three additions were added to the Work Plan.
  • Extended some of the project timelines out.
  • Vertical Housing Tax Credit.  This is a Program offered through Oregon Housing and Community Services where a City can identify certain zones such as pedestrian places where there would be an increase in development with Mixed Use Residential and Commercial to encourage higher density housing which in turn can promote affordable housing and encouraging multi modal transportation.   The applicant would receive tax credits for every floor above the Commercial building for a period of ten years.
  • Allowing Accessory Residential Units in zones where they are currently permitted without the need for a Conditional Use Permit.  This is moving forward.   
Council – Morris confirmed that the City has hired a new City Administrator, Dave Kanner.  The Council made a policy stating that before any City Commission can spend money sponsoring an event they must first go through the City Council for approval.  The Council also approved the use of the monies from the purchase of the Clay Street property to be dedicated to the Housing Trust Fund.
Staff – At next month’s meeting the Commissioners will be listening to presentations from the CDBG applications.
General Announcements – Reid met with Professor Pat Acklin from Southern Oregon University.  Acklin has a class titled Planning Issues.  Half the Class will be looking at the Land Use Ordinance with regard to manufactured homes throughout the state and make suggestions on how the City can make their land use ordinance meet those needs. When finished the class will give a presentation to the City Council.  If time allows they will also present to the Housing Commission.
Barasa will draft a letter to be mailed to property owners of expiring use units giving them information on incentives for retaining affordable units.  Barasa will forward the letter to Reid for editing.
Brian, a City intern, worked on the Housing Needs Analysis.  Brian put together a questionnaire on survey monkey called “A Housing Needs Survey.”  He had quite a good response with a total of one hundred and seventy seven people taking the survey.
Reid distributed the results from the survey.  These are preliminary reports as Reid has not had the opportunity to review the data yet.
Brian also sent out a mailer to property owners with different questions then the survey money questionnaire.  Four hundred and eighty mailers went out and fifty five have been returned to date. The questions on the mailer were quite minimal, bedroom type, rent prices, and vacancy rate.    Reid said that the information will be included in the Housing Needs Analysis Update. 
Reid pointed out that the average rent is actually still below fair market rent.   She also noticed that most owners commented they had very low vacancy rates with long time renters.
Reid acknowledged that the City utilized the CDBG Recovery Act money to do a program in conjunction with the Conservation Department where the City gave out a grant of $3,000 for home owners to do energy efficiency upgrades. Dan Cunningham from the Conservation Department did the energy audits on the units and then the owners received rebates or a 0% financing loan that gets paid back through their utility bills.  Reid will check with Mr. Cunningham to see if he would be willing to come to one of the Housing Commissions meetings and discuss the City’s conservation programs.   
CDBG funds can be used to do rehabilitation programs including energy efficiency programs.   Rental rehab is something that has not been done recently with CDBG funds though it has been done in the past. Grantors tend to shy away from it as an activity because the long term benefits to low income populations are harder to enforce/guarantee.   The money coming into the Housing Trust Fund, when it gets repaid, comes from an 1985 CDBG rental rehab program to promote energy efficiency.  At this time there is no program available for anyone who rents.
Quorum check; everyone confirmed they will be here, including Evan. Reid will check with James.
Homeless Task Force Meeting-March 20, 2012:  10:30-12:00 Housing Authority Conference Room 2231, Table Rock Road, Medford
Reid encouraged the Commissioners to stop by the Community Development office and pick up a Comprehensive Plan.  
Next Housing Commission Regular Meeting
March 28, 2012 4:30-6:30 PM
ADJOURNMENT - The meeting was adjourned at 6:00 p.m.
Respectfully submitted by Carolyn Schwendener

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