Agendas and Minutes

Housing Commission (View All)


Wednesday, October 24, 2001



OCTOBER 24, 2001

CALL TO ORDER - Chair Larry Medinger called the meeting to order at 4:05 p.m. Other Commissioners present were Jan Vaughn, Nancy Richardson, Diana Goodwin-Shavey, Aaron Benjamin, and Richard Seidman. Cate Hartzell arrived at 5:10 p.m. Joan Legg was absent. Staff present were Bill Molnar and Sue Yates.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES - Richardson moved and Vaughn seconded approval of the minutes of the September 26, 2001 meeting, and the minutes were approved.

SOU UPDATE - There was no SOU representative available for comment.


Rich Rohde met with Paul Nolte, City Attorney to review the draft ordinance. Page 3 contains the main changes that are underlined. The dollar sum is "per manufactured dwelling unit".

Richardson suggested that when the tenants are notified, it should be by certified mail. This could be added on page 3, #6 - information required - instead of "first class mail", it should read, "certified mail or a personal service and a signature obtained when delivered in person". Shavey noted though the mobile home ordinance is different than the tenant/landlord law, we might look at the unlawful detainer section of the ORS that would discuss some specific requirements for mailing.

Benjamin wondered who makes the determination and establishes the criteria for when a unit can or cannot be located because of its condition. Molnar said the Planning Commission would make that decision in case there is opposing information.

Benjamin asked if once a tenant is paid $5000, is there some instrument that would relieve the owner of any further liability? Medinger said it is clear from the ordinance that they are relieved. Shavey said there should be some kind of a release.

Shavey wondered if Molnar knew the general density of how many manufactured home units per acre there are in this community. Five thousand dollars per unit is going to up the price of the land by so many thousand dollars. Molnar said the densities are all a little different. If someone were to do a new park today, it would be based on the underlying density allowed in the zoning district. The biggest parks in question are those located in commercial zones that have a non-conforming status. He thought most of the parks are eight to 12 units per acre. Shavey said if we recommend this ordinance to the Council, it seems we are tacitly saying, we understand this will increase the price of the land. Molnar sees it as the cost of doing business. Medinger said it works the other direction too. This could just as easily come out of the pocket of the person who owns the land. Shavey believes that as a Housing Commission, we should have some kind of understanding of how the price per acre will change because of the recommendation of the $5000 relocation cost and what are the impacts.

Seidman wondered if the ordinance covers a trailer park owner phasing out a trailer park, letting the land lay fallow for awhile, and then selling it to avoid having to pay anyone anything. Molnar said that is not possible. The key under "Definitions" is the "change of use". Change of use includes closure of mobile home park or cessation of use.

Molnar said they want to involve the owners of the parks before getting this ordinance to the actual hearing. There will be a Study Session in November. We will notify the seven park owners in the Urban Growth Boundary and City inviting them to the Study Session.

Shavey does not see any option for the owner to opt out of this if he agrees that the re-use of the land would be for affordable housing. There should be some kind of mitigation for the owner if the intended re-use is for something affordable in the replacement. Molnar said that is at least a point of discussion. Medinger added it would be important to address the economic strata of those individuals who currently live there.

Richardson said trailer owners are still going to have to move their trailers out and have some place to go. Is there any other mitigation in addition to or in lieu of $5000?



The Housing Commissioners are tentatively scheduled to give their yearly update to the Council on November 6, 2001. The Commissioners decided to meet in Molnar's office on Wednesday, October 31, 2001 to discuss what items they would like to present to the Council.


Molnar said they have received a little over a half dozen proposals for the Action Plan and the Needs Assessment. He said the selection committee (John McLaughlin, Bill Molnar, Diana Goodwin-Shavey, Nancy Richardson) will be meeting tomorrow to come up with a methodology.

Medinger left the meeting. Vice Chair Jan Vaughn chaired the remainder of the meeting.


The packet includes the Housing Commission's draft recommendations for annexations and re-zoning and the presentation made by the agent for the Croman mill property from last month. The Housing Commission had said they did not feel the applicants went far enough for affordable housing. The sub-committee was concerned about long-term affordability and some of the responsibility the applicant has put on the city. The application will be going to the Planning Commission for a hearing on November 13, 2001. Molnar is not sure whether he should include the Housing Commission recommendation, as is, with a cover letter from the Chair. Does the Commission want some general points in the letter saying the affordable housing should be scattered throughout the site, target moderate and low income, long-term affordability that is secured through dedication?

Shavey recalls that Medinger felt very strongly that this recommendation should not include any kind of caveat about the developer paying for the public improvements necessary to develop the land. If we are able to secure the land for the affordability, that will go a very long way to getting the land inventory under some kind of covenant. Shavey is willing to defer to Medinger's position on the issue of public improvements.

Shavey personally feels very strongly about the 30 percent under 120 percent of median. That leaves 70 percent of the housing for people making above that. We have to take a stand on people who are under 120 percent of median.

Seidman wondered about the leverage of a document from the Housing Commission. He is concerned if it is not official policy that a developer could say the Housing Commission is arbitrarily throwing in new things. It is Shavey's understanding they were going to formalize this with the Council. Molnar said this is working ultimately toward some type of ordinance change. There is a lot of discretion afforded the decision-makers in approving zone changes. The criteria for approval are fairly vague. The developer is probably making the argument they believe there is a compelling need for more residential land and that we have way too much industrial land. They are also saying they will meet a public need for affordable housing. This Commission is the authority on one specific need and can give direction to the Planning Commission or Council. The Commission and Council can ask the applicant to come back after they have developed that aspect of the proposal.

Benjamin wondered if the question between rental and ownership is an issue? Shavey said in this country, it tends to be two-thirds ownership and one-third rental. In Ashland it is probably 50/50. For the applicant to propose a very low rental percentage, is probably too low. On the other hand, this should probably be modified to say at least 20 percent shall be permanent affordable rentals.

Molnar can work with Medinger to draft the recommendations. The cover letter can reference it as a work in progress, but the Commission's main points should be a minimum for the applicant.

Richardson believes this is fine and the Commission should really set some time to finalize it and work toward getting it as an ordinance.

Shavey added that the recommendations are a draft, subject to modification, based on the results of the needs assessment.

Molnar will include the whole thing in the record to the Commission with a cover letter.

Seidman said to explicitly show how the Croman proposal is deficient. He said no matter what the assessment will show, this proposal does not keep the housing affordable long enough and it does not have enough provisions to keep it affordable after it is sold.



Employer Assisted Housing - Hartzell will be able to devote some time to this now. Shavey talked with the head of lending for the major bank in Oregon that does the employer assisted housing. She said they will be taking their program outside Portland and move it down I-5.

Community Outreach and Education - No Report

Land Use Practice - No Report

Staff Orientation and Oversight - No Report

Seidman noted that the subcommittees don't seem to be working. Hartzell said one way would be to link them to be held before or after the regular Housing Commission meeting. Shavey feels strongly the Commission needs to look at a retreat. Had the retreat been in December or January would be more appropriate. We can use the current format until this happens. Hartzell asked why it isn't working. Is it that we don't have a lead. Shavey is not clear I her mind what the Strategic Action Plan points are. It was drafted and never adopted. She does not know that anyone has a specific assignment lead for what types of assignments. Hartzell suggested putting Strategic Planning on the next agenda and deal with it separately. There were ideas that each committee would do. What is the barrier? Is it that no one is taking responsibility for any one or logistics of where to meet? Seidman said we could try to get the subcommittees to meet between now and next month. Molnar said some commissions allocate a small portion of time during the meetings for the subcommittee to meet. Benjamin thought we'd have a clearer idea in two to three weeks of what specific activities will be coming. That would be a more appropriate time to make committee assignments. Hartzell noted there were very specific items drawn from the Strategic Plan that each committee would work on.

Shavey said having been on the Commission for about six months, she is beginning to see that the Chair and Vice Chair should take on specific external/internal roles so there is an opportunity to create some continuity. She sees Medinger taking on the political role, managing the Council process, and running the meetings. The Vice Chair might make sure the committees run and that they move in the direction of getting their target assignments completed. She said the consultants are saying the first thing they want to do is sit down with the Commission and get a sense of the task at hand. To be responsive to the consultants and their work with the needs assessment and action plan, we will need to reformulate the committee assignments and tasks. Hartzell said that looks like the subcommittee Staff Orientation and Oversight. Members of that subcommittee are Shavey (Chair), Vaughn, Medinger, Benjamin, and Legg. Shavey said as soon as we make a consultant selection, we need to schedule a meeting with the subcommittee. Shavey will contact the other committee members. Seidman will call Legg.


Molnar believes Joe McKeever is submitting his resignation. Seidman wondered if the Commissioners wanted to have any effort in getting someone on the Commission. Hartzell said the City will likely advertise for it, however, she believes it is important to encourage people to apply. Shavey recommends we look for someone from SOU or Oregon Shakespeare Festival.

Meeting Dates - The December meeting will be held on Wednesday, December 19, 2001 at 4:00 p.m.

A Public Forum item will be added to future agendas.

Hartzell mentioned that the Council Chambers seating can be rearranged to make it more welcoming. Seidman agreed that the room can be daunting.

ADJOURNMENT The meeting was adjourned at 5:40 p.m.


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