Agendas and Minutes

Housing Commission (View All)

Joint Housing Commission and Homelessness Steering Committee Meeting

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

August 28, 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, arrived at 4:15
Michael Gutman Graham Lewis  
Barb Barasa Connie Saldana SOU Liaison
Gina DuQuenne Heidi Parker Andrew Ensslin
  Regina Ayars  
    Staff Present:
    Linda Reid, Housing Specialist
    Carolyn Schwendener, Admin Clerk
Housing Commission: Gutman/DuQuenne m/s to approve the minutes of the July 24, 2013 regular Housing Commission/Homeless Steering Committee meeting. Voice Vote:  All Ayes; minutes were approved as presented. 
Homeless Steering Committee:  O’Bryon/Saldana m/s to approve the minutes of the July 24, 2013 regular Housing Commission/Homeless Steering Committee meeting with a correction.  Voice Vote:  All Ayes; minutes were approved with correction.
No one spoke
Reid gave several updates for the Commissioners as was requested by Ayars. 
Housing Needs Analysis – Reid explained this is a document that cities create in order to have an idea of what their housing needs will be in the future and whether they have enough land to meet those needs as well as what types of housing will fulfill those needs. For those that have not seen this document it is posted on the City Website. This document passed first reading at the August 20, 2013 Council Meeting. Second reading is scheduled for September 17, 2013 along with the Housing and Human services ordinance.  The next step for the Housing (or Housing and Human Services) Commission is to prioritize which land use strategies the group would like to adopt in their annual goal setting meeting in advance of the Council’s goal setting.  Reid reviewed some of the changes that were made to the document over the last year as well as reading some of the potential strategies. 
Gutman conveyed that at last month’s meeting Planning Commissioner Michael Dawkins shared his concern over existing houses being demolished and new larger ones being developed on the same site. Gutman acknowledged that he supports Dawkins in that the Commission should consider limiting the size of construction to the existing house footprint in order to prevent mega mansions from being built. 
Marsh called attention to the fact that in prior years the City has hired an outside consultant to do this report.  Knowing the amount of work involved in this document Marsh thanked Reid for her hard work completing this task.
Students as a protected class Reid spoke with Bob Loewen from the City of Corvallis.  Reid recognized a lot of similarities between our communities. Both are college towns and have a high demand for rentals. The vacancy rate for the city of Corvallis is one percent creating an inflation of rent, sometimes even doubling the norm. The city emphasizes anti growth and anti density often sending planning actions to LUBA. Though their community is larger than Ashland they only have one affordable housing provider in their area.
Reid stated that the City of Corvallis uses age as criteria for a protected class. Age captures students as well as seniors. Reid said that if the Commissioners wanted to add age to Ashland’s Fair Housing Ordinance they could probably do that. However it is not a protective class in the state of Oregon so it would be necessary to bring back the compliance piece.  If someone in our community feels they were discriminated against because of age we would need to prosecute that in house, explained Reid. 
Ensslin would like to encourage the Commissioners to continue the discussion around students being a protected class in the fair housing ordinance. Invite Louise to come to the student orientation.
Update on Short Term Rentals – The City Council on Monday night decided not to pursue municipal code changes that would allow these types of lodging facilities in R-2 and R-3 zones. The Council did express an interest in taking another look at the issue as it relates to R-1 (single family) zones and will likely do so in the near future. Reid spoke with the staff person who has been working on the code compliance with this issue and she confirmed that there are approximately forty-eight unapproved units throughout the city.  Seventeen of those units are in multi-family zones, three in commercial zones and twenty-eight in single family zones.
If a home owner made the decision to become legal the first step is to apply for a pre-application conference. ($130.00)  This is followed by a planning action for a conditional use permit (a onetime fee of $998.00) Before operation begins they would need a business license ($100.00 annually).  Currently no property who was cited has come forward to apply for the conditional use permit.
The Council did not come to a decision at their regular meeting held on July 16, consequently the item has been moved, the first reading is now scheduled to take place on September 17th regular meeting. 
The first and second reading of an Ordinance creating the Housing and Human Services Commission has been rescheduled for the September 3rd and September 17th regular council meetings.  Upon council approval of the second reading the ordinance will be active by October 17.  It was decided that both Ayars and Rohde will attend the meeting with Reid to show support and answer questions about the new commission.
Quorum check; Gutman will not be able to attend so it was determined that the Housing Commission Meeting needs to be rescheduled in order to have a quorum.  Reid will notify everyone what time works best.
Next Housing Commission Regular Meeting
4:00-5:45 PM; September 25, 2013 – Council Chambers – joint meeting
Next Homelessness Steering Committee Regular Meeting
4:00-6:00 PM; September 11, 2013-Ashland Library
ADJOURNMENT - The meeting was adjourned at 5:20 p.m. followed by the showing of Fair Housing Documentary “Brick by Brick”
Respectfully submitted by Carolyn Schwendener

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