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Agendas and Minutes

Housing Commission (View All)

Housing Commission Regular Meeting

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

July 25, 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 Carol Voisin
Brett Ainsworth  
Barb Barasa Staff Present:
Evan Lasley Linda Reid, Housing Specialist
Ben Scott Brandon Goldman, Senior Planner
Commissioners Absent  
Richard Billin  
Lasley/Scott m/s to approve the minutes of the June 27, 2012 regular Housing Commission meeting. Voice Vote:  All Ayes minutes were approved as presented. 
Reid presented the Fair Housing Ordinance draft having received it back from the City Legal Department.  Most of the changes were minor with the exception of section “N” Fair Housing Officer.  The Legal Department suggested that the City Attorney, the City Administrator, the Municipal Judge and the Director of Development meet together and discuss who should be the designated Fair Housing Officer and serve in that role.  Currently it is the City Attorney.  Since that meeting has not taken place the agenda item has been bumped from the August City Council meeting and Reid is not sure when it will go forward.  Reid will bring it back to the Housing Commission once the amendment has been made.  At this point all Fair Housing complaints that come to the City get evaluated by Reid and then are referred to BOLI with the State or to HUD with the Federal Government. Reid did not believe that the City Attorney has had to act in this capacity in the past.
Reid explained that the Housing Needs Analysis serves a couple of purposes.  This report gives the City a look at what the housing needs and demands are within the community and match those up with our inventory of land. ORS 197.267 requires that cities of a certain size undertake a Housing Needs Analysis periodically. Ashland is not large enough to be compelled to do a Housing Needs Analysis; we do it so we can help the elected and appointed officials plan and prepare for housing needs, stated Reid. 
This draft  will be presented next to the Planning Commission at a study session followed by a public hearing at both the Housing Commission and the Planning Commission and then on to the City Council.  This analysis will be useful in terms of reviews with planning actions and would be adopted by the City Council as an appendage to the Comprehensive Plan. This draft is still in the preliminary stages but Reid would like some feedback from the Commissioners.
The Commissioners discussed the potential land use strategies for addressing key housing issues identified in the 2012 Housing Needs Analysis.  One topic discussed was the evaluation of parking requirements and potential reductions to promote smaller unit sizes.  Goldman said a recent change to parking standards was made city wide with the Pedestrian Places Overlay Zone. A unit 500 square feet or less does not need additional parking spaces and an increase to on street parking was made.  An allowance was also made allowing seven bike parking spots to substitute for automobile parking which would most benefit places such as apartments. 
The Commissioners inquired if Southern Oregon University expects to fill all the new Dormitory rooms being built off of Walker Street.  They questioned the need for so many units taking into consideration the current enrollment.  The college owns many private rental properties which are not included in the count. Would this create vacancies with those homes when the dorm rooms are filled, asked the Commissioners?  Goldman stated that none of the SOU owned units are indicated in their 2020 master plan as going into market rate housing.  Reid stated that Census data used to compile the housing information in the Housing Needs Analysis does take into account SOU multi-family rental properties and counts the dorms as group housing.
The Commissioners agreed when Reid presents this draft to City Council she needs to focus on the recommendations that staff is making in order to help address the housing issues. What kind of housing are we going to need to accommodate the future population of Ashland? 
The Housing Needs Analysis shows that homeownership rates in Ashland lag behind that of Medford, Jackson County and the State of Oregon.  Ownership and rental rates are more of a 50/50 split in Ashland rather than a 60/30 ownership to rental rate which it the average for the County and the State.
The chart on page 65 of the HNA shows a simple breakdown of existing units.  If development continues as it has historically, the City will be looking at a deficit of rental units by 2040.  The main purpose of the chart is to determine if the City has enough land in each zone to accommodate the development of needed housing types. 
The Commissioners will take the opportunity to continue to review the Housing Needs Analysis and then get back with Reid with any comments or recommendation of changes.  After that it will go to a public review before the Planning and Housing commission.
The Commissioners reviewed the three options for the property located at 360 Clay Street. 
  • Land Bank until current land values increase.
  • Sell the land for Market Value
  • Solicit a proposal for an affordable/mixed-income development
The Commissioners recommended that Reid does a survey of housing providers to see what their future plans might be.  At one point Jackson County Housing Authority was interested in developing the property.
Reid said that Oregon Housing announced their 2012 consolidated funding cycle awards last week. Access was fully funded for their six unit Hyde Park project located in Ashland on Dollarhide. The Southern Oregon region received a large amount of the funding. Reid said a wide variety of funding is available through the State of Oregon, HUD (Federal Government), Oregon Trust fund money, Home Money, low income tax credits, Oregon affordable tax credits. 
After Reid surveys the Housing providers the Commissioners will discuss at next month’s regular meeting in August the options and make a recommendation to go to the City Council. 
Scott/Lasley m/s to move the Housing Commission meeting to the Siskiyou Room at the department of Community Development and Engineering located at 51 Winburn Way.  Voice vote; All Ayes, motion passed. The meeting will be at 4:00 p.m.
Two of the Housing Commission secondary goals are looking at multi-family zoning and manufactured housing. The Commissioners are concerned about the obstacles preventing home owners from building affordable units.
The Commissioners discussed the possibility of restricting Single Family Homes in Multi-Family zones.  Goldman explained that in 2004 the City passed a minimum density ordinance for Multi-Family zones.  It states that an applicant would need to build out at 80 percent the base density at a minimum.  He suggested asking the people who own property in Multi-Family zones if they would have a concern with an added limitation.
Goldman gave an update on the vacant land inventory in Ashland. R-3 is a High Density Residential zone and R-2 is Multi-Family Residential.  Goldman said there is roughly 40 acres of vacant land available in those two zones to meet the City’s multi-family needs. 
Council –No report
Staff- At the August regular Housing Meeting City Recorder Barbara Christianson and City Attorney, David Loman will be giving a presentation on Commission ethics and rules.
Housing Trust Fund
Clay Street property options
Fair Housing Ordinance Options
First Reading of the Fair Housing Ordinance, City Council-Aug 7th, 2012
Next Housing Commission Regular Meeting
August 22, 2012 4:00-6:00 PM in the Siskiyou Room located at the Community Development and Engineering Building at 51 Winburn Way, Ashland Oregon.
ADJOURNMENT - The meeting was adjourned at 6:10 p.m.
Respectfully submitted by Carolyn Schwendener

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