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Agendas and Minutes

Housing Commission (View All)

Housing Commission Regular Meeting Minutes

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

April 24, 2013
Chair Regina Ayars called the meeting to order at 4:00 p.m. at Council Chambers located at 1175 East Main St. Ashland, OR  97520.
Commissioners Present: Council Liaison
Regina Ayars Pam Marsh, excused absent
Michael Gutman  
Barb Barasa SOU Liaison
Evan Lasley Andrew Ensslin, absent
  Staff Present:
Commissioners Absent: Brandon Goldman, Senior Planner
  Carolyn Schwendener, Admin Clerk
  Linda Reid, absent
Gutman/Lasley m/s to approve the minutes of the March 27, 2013 regular Housing Commission meeting. Voice Vote:  All AYES; minutes were approved as presented. 
Marsh – Ayars reported for Pam Marsh who was not able to be at the meeting.  She gave an update from the City Council meeting where they discussed the merger of the Housing Commission with the Homeless Steering Committee.  The Council directed staff, the Housing Commission and the Ad Hoc Committee to work on creating a new Commission that would consolidate the two.  The Council would like feedback regarding what they would like the powers and duties of the new Commission to be.  The Ad Hoc Committee will be extended for a period of twelve months and during that time a new Commission will be created with new members and charter. It was decided to have a joint meeting on Wednesday May 8, 2013 from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. The meeting will take place in the Ashland Public Library. 
No one spoke
Goldman, City of Ashland Senior Planner, presented an update on the Normal Neighborhood Master Plan. This is a ninety-four acre area outside the City limits but within the Urban Growth Boundary encompassing twenty-six home owners. Goldman pointed out that this is not a development proposal but planning for the Comprehensive Plan designations for the area. This plan defines where future streets would be and where housing density would be located. The plan being discussed looks at the importance of keeping the wetlands and natural areas maintained or enhanced. The transportation network shows a framework of streets to create walkable small grids. One of the reasons this was funded through the Transportation Growth Management Plan (TGM) is that TGM and Oregon Department of Transportation has a goal of reducing greenhouse gases. By designing a housing development in which people have transportation alternatives it’s good in terms of reducing greenhouse gases, stated Goldman.
The plan shows the different types of housing in demand in the area including, Single-Family homes, Townhouses, Cottage housing and potentially facilities that combine healthcare with housing such as assisted living. Goldman called attention to the fact that as the process moves forward the Planning Commission and City Council is hearing from property owners that are concerned about the rural character of their neighborhood changing. The Planning department is trying to look long term and how to meet the City’s housing needs and accommodate the future growth of the City. Sometimes these positions are in conflict with each other. If development would happen at this time property owners would have to develop at County standards or request annexation into the City. 
Upon completion of this project the Normal Avenue Neighborhood Plan, and codified implementing ordinances, will provide a framework for the orderly development of the area.  Annexation of the plan area is not proposed as part of this master planning effort and as such each future development application will still be required to submit a formal application for their individual proposals.  Goldman thanked those Commissioners who had  participated in the design charrettes.  Goldman explained that a revised draft is being put together with suggestions put forth from the Planning Commission. The goal would be in the next six to eight months a final plan would be put together and the public review process would then start.  The desire would be to have the plan completed and adopted by December of 2013. 
Lasley was not able to meet with SOU Liaison Ensslin but finished compiling the questions for the survey. Next week Lasley will go to SOU Student Government taking with him the approved minutes showing the direction from the Housing Commission.  During last month’s meeting Reid mentioned she might be able to put the link to the survey in the City Source. Because information for the City Source must be submitted to the administration department one month prior to publication that will not be able to happen.   Lasley will send the link to Reid so she can post it on the City Website.  Starting next Thursday the survey will run for about a three week time period. Lasley was able to recruit some students to stand out in front of the Stevenson Union to do surveys in person. Lasley and Ennslin will come to the next meeting and give an update on the results.
Goldman summarized the Final Action Plan for the program year 2013. After staff received notice from HUD that there would be a five percent reduction of funds Reid adjusted the Housing Commission recommendations to City Council to reflect that reduction.   At their April 2, 2013 meeting the City Council approved to award the CDBG funds as follows;
  • $31,251 Administration
  • $16,607 to St. Vincent de Paul-Home Visitation Program
  • $6,831 to Maslow Project for outreach and case management for homeless youth
  • $87,000 to Ashland Food Bank
  • $14,566 to Living Opportunities
The Council made one change to the Housing Commission recommendations. They awarded $14,566 to Living Opportunities to remodel the exterior of their ACES employment building rather than City of Ashland energy efficiency program.  
Ayars opened the Public Hearing.   Having no one present to speak Ayars closed the Public Hearing. 
Lasley/Gutman m/s to approve the CDBG Final Action Plan for 2013.  Voice Vote; All Ayes, motion passed unanimously
Postponed until the May Meeting Agenda
Ayars spoke regarding her conversation with Eric Schmitz, the Community Development Director in Gresham Oregon who had started their Rental Registry Program. She explained Mr. Schmitz was willing to come to Ashland and speak with the Housing Commission about their program.  Ayars discovered that their program is well staffed and funded with three enforcement officers and an administrator. Their goal is to improve Housing conditions and Community livability. They are totally self-sufficient from the monies they receive. Gresham has a population of 102,000 with approximately 17,000 units being tracked in their data base. The program has been in existence since 2007. The Commission felt this program was a good model to use for a City of Ashland’s Rental Registry program modifying it for our small community needs.
Ayars also took a look at Medford’s Rental Registry Program.  They currently have no funding or staff managing the program. After Louise Dix left no one else continued with the program.  Their purpose is to educate property owners and tenants to decrease the number of code violations and assist in developing in updating the City wide data base of Housing inventories. The benefits were to assist City Emergency Services and notifying property owners of the hazardous situations, protect citizens, establish and maintain a safe and clean environment and assist City Planning with future Housing growth.
After their discussion the Commissioners decided it would be necessary to get more information regarding rental registries before moving forward. Ayars will call Mr. Schmitz from Gresham to get more detail information regarding what their budget is verses the revenue.  What does their revenue pay for?   Where does it go? Ayars clarified that after five years Gresham has reviewed their program making the following changes; 
  • Create a more concise checklist after the inspections take place
  • Create an incentive program for apartment owners who had fewer complaints. Fewer complaints would mean a reduced fee.
  • Spread out the inspections further if there were no complaints.
Goldman called attention to the fact that the City Council is currently revisiting the business license registry program.  An ordinance is being drafted.  The Commissioners agreed that now would be the time to speak with Council regarding how the licensing program could benefit the rental registry program.  Currently the business license is required when a property owner has six or more rental units.  The Commission would like to see that threshold number reduced to two.  They would also like to see additional information collected at the same time to create a new housing data base.  Ayars will speak with City Administrator Dave Kanner, and Council liaison Pam Marsh to discuss the Commission’s ideas on this. 
Student Survey results – Lasley and Ensslin
Landlord Tenant Brochure - Barasa
May 8th joint Homelessness Steering & Housing Commission Update
Rental Registry Update - Ayars
Next Housing Commission Regular Meeting
4:00-5:45 PM; May 22, 2013
ADJOURNMENT - The meeting was adjourned at 5:55 p.m.
Respectfully submitted by Carolyn Schwendener

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