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Agendas and Minutes

Housing Commission (View All)

Housing Commission Regular Meeting Minutes

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

June 26, 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
Michael Gutman  
Barb Barasa SOU Liaison
Gina DuQuenne Andrew Ensslin
  Staff Present:
Commissioners Absent: Linda Reid, Housing Specialist
  Carolyn Schwendener, Admin Clerk
Gutman/DuQuenne m/s to approve the minutes of the May 22, 2013 regular Housing Commission meeting. Voice Vote:  All Ayes; minutes were approved as presented. 
Marsh – Marsh explained that the Council is still working on the development of the joint Housing Commission and Homelessness Steering Committee.  Marsh stressed that as soon as the two commissions have a proposal they are comfortable with the new ordinance the Commission should be able to move forward. This item is tentatively on the August 20, 2013 Council agenda.  
In the next few weeks the Council will have made the changes to the business license standards in regard to Bed and Breakfast (B & B) and Tourist Accommodations (TA).  The ordinance will be explicit that operators of either B & B’s or TA’s must obtain a business license. At that time City staff is bringing forward the requirement of registering rental housing if a property owner has two units or more.  Every person that owns two or more rental units will be required to register though it was not clear if this includes units on one property or two or more properties.
Marsh is an employee of the Ashland Community Emergency Food Bank and reported they have raised approximately $422,000 towards the purchase of their building located at 560 Clover Lane. Their goal is to purchase the property on or before August 31, 2013 to meet their lease agreement deadline.  
Reid – Reid briefly updated the Commission on the changes to the Vacation Rentals by Owner (VRBO) ordinance.    The Ordinance went back to the Planning Commission on June 11, 2013 at which time they reviewed it and made a couple of recommendations.  The Planning Commission is requesting that the owner shall provide written notice to the neighbors within two hundred feet for the first three years and whenever the local contact person changes the City needs to be notified. The Planning Commission is also asking for the modification that VRBOs be allowed not only 200 feet of an arterial street but also within the boundaries of the Historic District.  The Commission also would like to explore the idea of allowing seasonal short term rentals in the single family zone. A concern is the potential impact this might have on the long term rental housing stock.
Reid said that the project “Community Connect” held on May 31, 2013 went very well.  They served approximately 526 people which was 100 less than the previous year. They didn’t have as many children as they hoped which might have been due to the fact that the event took place during school hours.  Twenty percent of those surveyed said they had participated in a Project Connect before and seventy percent had not. The majority of people said their needs were met. A barbecue lunch was provided, legal services, haircuts, bicycles were given away and many other services were offered.  A very positive outcome was that Devon Shea from the Veterans Administration reported that from her contacts that day she was able to house two families. 
Louise Dix will be coming next month to our joint meeting to discuss Fair Housing.
General Announcements –
Hyde Park, an affordable housing project located at 2272 Dollarhide will be having an open house on July 25, 2013. They will be sending out an invitation with the time on it. 
Ayars received a survey request from Portland State University regarding Accessory Residential Units.  She did complete the survey.
No one spoke
Evan Lasley and Andrew Ensslin compiled a report from the Student Fair Housing Survey. The survey was available for students to take for a two week period with the majority of responses coming in within the first couple of days.  Lasley and Enssliln were pleased with the results from the survey and reviewed the report with the Commissioners.  See the attached survey.
After a discussion the Commissioners agreed that more information needs to be obtained from landlords and property owners.  There is a certain amount of issues that can arise from renting to students such as lack of income verification and no long term commitment.  Reid suggested working with Louise Dix and incorporating a public forum inviting the property management community and students for a discussion.  Marsh suggested working on community perceptions about student tenants.  Reid reiterated that fair housing law requires that whatever screening criteria the property owner/landlord/management company utilizes is applied to everyone and that assumptions about individuals are not the used as the primary basis for tenant selection.  Having clear and objective procedures for client screening and selection protects both the landlord and the tenant from violating any regulations.
Reid will speak to Louise Dix regarding her thoughts on how to educate and offer outreach to the community.  Marsh stated that the  Council would want to see that the Housing Commission did its due diligence in reaching out to the landlord/property management community to get feedback on the proposal of adding students as a protected class in the City’s fair housing ordinance.  Put on next month’s agenda. 
The Commissioners thanked both Lasley and Ensslin for their work on this project. 
Reid explained that she added the Landlord/Tenant Resources link to the City of Ashland website’s Housing page  When you click on this link there is a list of available resource information to help assist with questions tenants may have.  The referrals listed are;
  • Oregon State Bar Website:  Landlord and Tenant law
  • Center for Non-Profit Legal Services
  • Help Now Advocacy Center
  • Community Alliance of Tenants
  • Fair Housing Council of Oregon
The Commissioners discussed ways in which to get this information out to those who would most need it. Reid agreed to add a little blurb beside each of the referrals to give citizens a little better understanding of what types of information the referrals include.
Reid distributed an updated copy of the draft Ordinance creating the Housing and Human Services Commission.  Some minor changes were made to the Ordinance based on recommendations from the ordinance review sub-committee and the community development department.  Reid also gave the disclaimer that the provision regarding the social services grants is not set in stone, since those funds are currently granted through the finance department and the decision to remove them from the purview of the budget committee and give that responsibility to another commission is a decision which is outside of the powers of the community development department.  This Ordinance is on the agenda for the August 20, 2013 City Council meeting.  
This Ordinance will be reviewed at the Joint Housing and Homelessness Steering Committee meeting scheduled for July 24, 2013.  At that meeting both committees will have the ability to make recommendations or changes before it goes to Council.  Reid informed the Commissioners that each committee will need to vote separately on their recommendations.  The Ordinance is set to be enacted by October 3, 2013. 
The Mayor will have to accept applications for members and then appoint people and bring those names to the Council for approval during the month of September in order to have members by an October meeting.  The Homeless steering committee will have to be dissolved by resolution since it has been continued for a period of twelve months by resolution. 
Reid acknowledged that she received a letter from HUD on March 7, 2013 explaining that due to sequestration the City could expect a five percent reduction in the CDBG funds.  The City of Ashland awarded funds to four applicants for 2013 reducing all but one of the award requests according to the expected availability of funding.  When the allocations did get distributed the City ended up receiving $13,336.00 more than was anticipated. The Action Plan had already been completed and sent to HUD which they could not approve since the allocation was larger than what was originally anticipated.
Staff is recommending that Council award the full amount of funds available accordingly:
  • St.Vincent DePaul - $17,808
  • Maslow Project - $7,632
  • Living Opportunities - $23,438
DuQuenne/Gutman m/s to move forward with staff’s recommendation.  Voice Vote; All Ayes, motion passed unanimously.
Quorum check; all members confirmed they will be here
Discussion regarding new Housing and Human Services Commission
Update on Clay Street
Update on business license
Invite Louise Dix for a discussion on Fair Housing
Next Housing Commission Regular Meeting
4:00-5:45 PM; July 24, 2013
ADJOURNMENT - The meeting was adjourned at 5:20 p.m.
Respectfully submitted by Carolyn Schwendener

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