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Agendas and Minutes

Housing Commission (View All)

Joint Housing Commission and Homelessness Steering Committee Meeting

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

July 24, 2013
Chair Regina Ayars called the joint meeting between the Housing Commission and the Homelessness Steering Committee to order at 4:00 p.m. at Council Chambers located at 1175 East Main St. Ashland, OR  97520.
Housing Commissioners Present: HSC Members Present: Council Liaison
Regina Ayars, Chair Laura O’Bryon Pam Marsh
Michael Gutman Graham Lewis  
Barb Barasa Sara Hopkins-Powell, Co-Chair SOU Liaison
Gina DuQuenne Heidi Parker Andrew Ensslin
  Rich Rohde, Co-Chair  
  Connie Saldana Staff Present:
  Paula Sohl Linda Reid, Housing Specialist
  Regina Ayars Carolyn Schwendener, Admin Clerk
DuQuenne/Gutman m/s to approve the minutes of the June 26, 2013 regular Housing Commission meeting. Voice Vote:  All Ayes; minutes were approved as presented. 
Hopkins-Powell/Parker m/s to approve the minutes of the July 10, 2013 Ad-Hoc Homelessness Steering Committee with one correction.  Voice Vote:  All ayes; minutes were approved with correction. 
Abby Hogge/1700 Parker Street/Asked the Housing Commission to consider focusing on the affordability of the ownership market.  According to the City website families earning a decent wage in our area still cannot afford to purchase homes here.   By supporting local home owners by allowing them to host short term guests helps support the city, tourists and home owners alike, stated Hogge.  Hogge strongly urges the Commission to support Short term rentals in residential zones.   
Michael Dawkins/646 E Main/is a ten year member of the Planning Commission.  Dawkins suggested that like Aspen Colorado the affordability of homes in Ashland is slowly going away due to land values becoming so extreme. What used to be affordable has become unaffordable. Dawkins idea is when a house is removed on a property only the footprint of the house that existed can be utilized in rebuilding.   The city has enough vacant lots to meet the desires of those who might like to move in to our community and build larger homes, said Dawkins.  By capping the existing footprints this would help with the inventory of smaller more affordable homes. 
Three drafts were presented to the Commissioners.  Staff prepared the initial draft in May which was reviewed by a subcommittee consisting of two members of the Housing Commission and two members of the Homelessness Steering Committee. Their recommended changes were added and then a third draft was created in response to further input from the Community Development staff.
The items of discussion were; membership total and better definition of what was meant by the term “Community Development”. Staff also added an additional power and duty “To evaluate, review, and recommend to the Planning Commission and City Council innovative land use strategies targeted at promoting a broad variety of housing types.”
A discussion followed.  Though most Commissions within the city have a membership of seven the Commissioners did not see the benefit of consistency to all Commissions with that number.  Due to the amount of work the group would like to accomplish and the need for sub committees a larger number of Commissioners would be beneficial.  Due to the added duties and powers it was suggested to begin the Commission with nine members and then evaluate it in six months. In the past the Homelessness Steering Committee has not had trouble maintaining their membership at nine. 
The Commissioners agreed that they liked the additional powers and duties included in item “H” of the ordinance (To enhance cooperation between the public and private sectors by promoting integrated approaches that provide decent housing, a suitable living environment, and expanded economic opportunities for low and moderate income persons) and item “J” (To evaluate, review, and recommend to the Planning Commission and City Council innovative land use strategies targeted at promoting a broad variety of housing types) 
Housing Commission recommendation;
Gutman/DeQuenne m/s to accept draft number three with the change of the membership back to nine. Voice Vote; All ayes motion passed unanimously. 
Homeless Steering Committee recommendation;
Graham/Rohde m/s to accept draft number three with the exception of the change of membership from seven back to nine.  Voice Vote; All ayes motion passed unanimously.  
Reid explained that currently this ordinance is in legal review.  Reid will send forward the Commission’s suggestions to Legal which will then go to the City Council.  The first reading before City Council will be August 20, 2013.  The ordinance then goes back for Legal review and on to City Council on September 3, 2013 for second reading.  It takes thirty days before an Ordinance goes into effect which would be October 3, 2013.  A resolution will be going forward at the same time to dissolve the homelessness steering committee.  This resolution dissolves the Housing Commission. 
The Commissioners agreed that it would be important for each of them to communicate to the Mayor the importance of appointing members so as possible so they do not lose momentum. 
Fair Housing Presentation
Louise Dix is the Southern Oregon representative for the Fair Housing Council of Oregon.  The Housing Commission is interested in making Student status a protected class under Ashland’s Fair Housing Ordinance and invited Louise Dix to give a presentation on Fair Housing. Attached is the presentation that Dix presented. 
Dix acknowledged that Bob Lohman from Corvallis is the one who handles issues regarding students.  Dix suggested that they invite Mr. Lohman in for a discussion.  We need to discuss with him what the pros and cons are.  Currently no jurisdiction has students as a protected class though some do have age as a protected class which does partly address students.  The Commissioners agreed it would be good to have communication with the different groups that would be impacted by this. 
The Commissioners thanked Dix for the great information she provided.
Marsh – Councilor Marsh was not present
Staff – Reid mentioned that there was a good training at the Homeless task force meeting about mental health first aid.
General Announcements – Ayars announced that there will be an open house tomorrow for the six affordable units at Hyde Park located at 2272 Dollarhide.  The project was funded though the Community Development Block Grant funds.   
August 28, 2013 Meeting Agenda Items
Quorum check; all members confirmed they will be here
Next Housing Commission Regular Meeting
4:00-5:45 PM; August 28, 2013 – Council Chambers – joint meeting
Next Homelessness Steering Committee Regular Meeting
4:00-6:00 PM; August 14, 2013-Ashland Library
ADJOURNMENT - The meeting was adjourned at 5:50 p.m.
Respectfully submitted by Carolyn Schwendener

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